The IBSSS Mary Ingalls Society is currently conducting its annual membership and fundraising campaign. The Society was founded in 2012 with a goal of preserving the historical significance of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School and its connection with the family of author Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Notable achievements of the Society this year included hosting a record 10 bus tours during the summer and fall months. In addition, 120 Vinton-Shellsburg 6th grade students toured the School in May, and a number of other groups and individuals took tours and learned about the history of the School. In total almost 900 people visited in 2016. There are already tours pending for this coming summer.

The Society is currently seeking new and renewed memberships (at $20.00 per year) as well as donations to continue its work. Checks can be made payable to VCF/IBSSS Mary Ingalls Society and mailed to Box 326, Vinton, Iowa 52349. The Society is a nonprofit organization, and donations are tax deductible.

In addition to the tours, volunteers with the Society have spent many hours working to preserve and catalogue artifacts and materials housed at the school. Grant money has been used to purchase archival storage containers, and many items are now organized and stored in a way that should preserve them. However, funds in addition to the grant monies are needed to continue this work. Community support will allow the preservation efforts to continue.

The Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School has been a significant part of the community of Vinton for over 154 years. Since there are questions about its future use, the Society is even more acutely aware of the importance of preserving its history and would like to encourage others to join with them in that preservation effort and in seeking to influence the School’s future. If you have never visited the School or would like to become reacquainted, the Society encourages you to come and see the museum and the antiques in the Founders Room. You can arrange a time by calling 472-5221 and speaking with either Pat Barr or Yvette Baker.