‘Fun and Games’ at museum includes hands-on activities

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Farm Forum

A new exhibit at the Dacotah Prairie Museum, “Fun and Games,” looks at many centuries of games, puzzles and pieces used for entertainment and leisure around the world.

The show runs until May 1 on the second floor of the museum.

Featured games are from the museum’s permanent collection and include three hands-on games, “allowing visitors to participate in the fun as part of this exhibit,” according to information from the museum.

The game of checkers can trace its roots back to an archeological dig in Ur, Iraq, dating to 3,000 B.C., according to the museum. In ancient Egypt, the game was called “Alquerque” and was played since 1,400 B.C. The museum’s version of checkers is in a case on second floor, with a hands-on version allowing people to sit and enjoy a game of large-scale checkers on the table near the windows. Rules are posted for anyone interested in learning the game.

The museum’s chess set is also on display and represents another ancient game on a similar-style board. The game was first established with official rules in the sixth century and is played today by millions of people around the world, many of whom play computerized versions, according to the news release.

The “Wizard of Oz” illustrated books and puzzles are in the large cabinet, along with glass marbles, another game piece with a long history.

Toys on display also include a “Radio-Telegraph Signal Set,” which allows the operator to send “telegraph signals” electronically.

Other games include “Yankee Doodle Famous Quotes,” which required the participants to use their memory skill and recall, and “Paul Wing’s Spelling Bee,” which encouraged students and adults to spell their way to victory.

The exhibit includes “Beachhead Invasion Game,” a board game that originated during the Korean Conflict and pits planes, helicopters and ships against the enemy.

Visitors may also inspect a 1950s game called “Mad Libs,” which tells a short story with key words missing. The player then needs to fill in the words, thereby changing the meaning/outcome of the story. The museum’s own version of “Museum Mad Libs” may be filled out by visitors.

A South Dakota version of “Trivial Pursuit” appeared in the 1980s and is on display accompanied by cards in a basket for visitors so they can test their knowledge of South Dakota history.