Ghosts, ghouls, gourds haunt the Ag Museum

By Jennie Hauge Reporter

People had the opportunity to get creative this Halloween with a ghosts, ghouls and gourds class at the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum on Saturday, Oct. 18.

The event was put on from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Participants had to call and register by Oct. 15. The cost of the event was based on whether or not you were a member of the museum. It was $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers. They wanted to have class sizes that were limited to 10 people who had to be 14 years or older.

The participants used dried gourds as a way to create their own unique piece of art, considering no two gourds looked alike. They also learned how to use carving tools and wood-burning to create patterns. Even better, all supplies were included.

“We had three kids and six adults. The kids painted jack-o’-lanterns and cartoon characters and the ladies worked on making decorative vases. Some of them learned how to cut out portions using a Dremel tool,” said Pam Merchant, a museum aid.   

Merchant taught the ghosts, ghouls and gourds class and also was the mastermind behind the event.

“I work as a museum aide and had some gourds that I’d grown and dried a couple years ago. I wanted to use them and offered to teach a class on painting decorative gourds,” Merchant said. 

The event was not only educational, but also fun. When asked, Sheridan Zeck, a fifth grader at Brookings Elementary, said his favorite part was the painting.

“There was just a lot of colors I really like art so painting is one of my talents and then I also like the drawing where we drew on our gourds, and painted over that,” Zeck said.

Zeck learned a variety of lessons from the class.  

“I didn’t even know what a gourd was at first,” Zeck said. “So I learned what one was.”