Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian
 
From 1965 to 1971, L. Douglas Waldorf owned and operated one of the earliest known outdoor, living history museums in Virginia Beach, VA, dedicated to educating school age children about Native American culture and history. 
 

Skicoak Living Musuem of the American Indian was established by L. Douglas Waldorf, as "Chief Thundercloud," after Frontier City at Virginia Beach, Virginia closed, due to the many, many requests from school teachers and scout leaders around Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia, and the greater Tidewater area to take time off from work and come to their schools with his many artifacts and exhibits and show the school children and talk to them about Native Americans.  The requests began after L. Douglas Waldorf's daughter, Debbie, (Wakea - Debra Waldorf Norris) told her fourth grade teacher that her Daddy "had lots of Indian stuff" and could bring it to show and tell the class all about Indians while the class was studying Jamestown in Virginia History.  Finally, one teacher, upon finding out that L. Douglas Waldorf had 8 acres of land surrounded by woods in the middle of Virginia Beach, Virgina, suggested that L. Douglas Waldorf build something that the teachers could bring the school children to, and the scout leaders could bring the scout troops to as well. So, L. Douglas Waldorf quit his "day job" and built Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian on his 8 acres surrounded by woods 1/4 mile through the woods down a dirt lane off Virginia Beach Boulevard across from Pembroke Mall, down what is now Constitution Avenue.
 
 
Adding to the feeling of "going back in time", school children and scout troops had a thrill as they traveled down the 1/4 mile dirt lane through the woods, with the limbs of the trees forming a "tunnel". Some school children described the dirt lane (as well as the path through the woods) as a "Time Tunnel". (Here the lane is seen blanketed with snow as featured in "The Beacon" on Friday, January 22, 1965.)
 
As they arrived at Skicoak Living Museum, school children and scout troops, and on the weekends their parents,  were first greeted by the wife of L. Douglas Waldorf, Olive Owens Waldorf.
 
 
 
As they arrived at Skicoak Living Museum, school children and scout troops were first greeted by the wife of L. Douglas Waldorf, Olive Owens Waldorf.
 
 
The Path through the woods (described by some school students as a "Time Tunnel" for "it feels like we're going back in time".)
 
L. Douglas Waldorf as "Chief Thundercloud" greets a group of school students and begins the "tour" of Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian at the mouth of the Path through the woods (described by some school students as a "Time Tunnel" for "it feels like we're going back in time".)
 
 Making a long path through the woods that surrounded the property to the back part of the property, Chief Thundercloud, dressed as a Souix Chief with War Bonnet and Bustel, would lead the school students or scout troops "back through time" through the forest, explaining about how the Native Americans of the East Coast would "cut down trees by burning them down" and "walk without a sound" and the difference between a Native American's foot print and the English Explorers' foot prints and more.  When the school students and scout troops came to the Skicoak Living Museum site, they found tipi's like the plains Natives lived in as well as a reconstructed lodge like the one in which the Algonquins of the east coast lived.  L. Douglas Waldorf, as Chief Thundercloud, would teach the school children and scout groups the difference between the life styles and customs of the Native Americans who lived on the east coast and those of the plains. L. Douglas Waldorf always stressed to the school children and scout troops who visited Skicoak Living Museum that the Native Americans who were living on this continent when Columbus "discovered" them were NOT from India, and therefore, not "Indians", but were Native Americans, each tribe and nation having their own name and customs. (L. Douglas Waldorf reluctantly put the word "Indian" in the name of the museum so that the common public would understand what the museum featured.)
 
L. Douglas Waldorf as Chief Thundercloud shares Native American History and Customs with school children at Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian.  Chief Thundercloud would explain the the school children that the life and customs of the Native Americans who lived on the plains, and were most often depicted in the Hollywood movies, were much different from the life and customs of the Natives of the East Coast.
 
 
 
As L. Douglas Waldorf speaks to the school children, the exhibits of plains life vs.coastal life can be seen in the different living quarters, the Tipi's of the plains, and the lodges of the east coast at Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1965. (These are the same Tipi's that were in the Indian Village of Frontier City at Virginia Beach, Virginia.) 
 
 
L. Douglas Waldorf reconstructed a coastal lodge in which "Chief Thundercloud" gave live demonstrations of many objects of every day native american life to groups of school children and scouts.  Many of these objects were also reconstructed. Here "Chief Thundercloud" demonstrates a hoe made from the shoulderblade of a buffalo.
 
L. Douglas Waldorf as "Chief Thundercloud" shares Native American History and Customs with school children at Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian. Here fire making and cooking techniques are demonstrated.
 
 
L. Douglas Waldorf as "Chief Thundercloud" shares Native American History and Customs with school children at Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian. Chief Thundercloud expains why the peacepipe was significant and how the peacepipe was made including how the Native Americans got a perfect hole straight through the middle of a piece of wood.
 
 
L. Douglas Waldorf as "Chief Thundercloud" shares Native American History and Customs with school children at Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian. Chief Thundercloud demonstrated how the groove was made for the lashing of the handle to the head of a tomahawk.
 
 
The Exhibit of items used in the daily life of Native Americans are displayed on the bed of the lodge at Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Pictured are gourd rattles, a pottery drum, a snapping turtle rattle, pipes, darts made from corn cobs, feathers and reeds, antlers, clay pots and more.  Each of these items was demonstrated by L. Douglas Waldorf as "Chief Thundercloud" or as "Wero Mamanatowick" as part of the tour given to school children and scout troops, as well as their parents and tourists who visited Skicoak Living Musuem from 1965 to 1971.
 
 
"Wakea" - meaning One Who Shoots (Debra Waldorf Norris) demonstrates how the Native Americans of the East Coast scraped the flesh off deer hides with a deer bone in the tannery of Skicoak Living Musuem of the American Indian in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  Demonstrations of tanning hides was part of the tour given to school children and scout troops, as well as their parents and tourists who came to the museum from 1965 to 1971.
 
The Tipi's used at Frontier City in Virginia Beach, Virginia were given to L. Douglas Waldorf when Frontier City closed in 1965.  These Tipi's were used at Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian for a few years as L. Douglas Waldorf educated school children and scout troops about the difference in the lives of the Native Americans who lived on the plains and the Native Americans who lived on the east coast.  Later, the Tipi exhibit was phased out as the decision was made to concentrate more on the local, coastal native history.
 
The Native Americans who lived on the plains and lived in Teepees would roll the sides up to allow the wind to blow through for ventalation during the warm months.  At Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian in Virginia Beach, Virginia, rolling up the sides of the tipi's also allowed visitors to enter more freely to observe the exhibits inside.
 
The exhibit in the tipi at Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  Notice the 200+ year old Cree drum in the left center of the picture. This is the same Cree drum used in the Pow Wow's at Roanoak Island Historical Park - Roanoak Indian Village in Manteo, North Carolina.
 
This deer hide, with face and antlers intact, was reconstructed by L. Douglas Waldorf and the Skicoak Indian Dancers for use in the Native American dances they performed. It was used especially in the hunting dance.  At Skicoak Living Musuem of the American Indian, it was used as the hunting techniques of the Native Americans of the east coast were demonstrated.
 
L. Douglas Waldorf as "Chief Thundercloud" and his wife, Olive Owens Waldorf when they first opened Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian.  L. Douglas Waldorf and Olive Owens Waldorf owned and operated Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian in Virginia Beach, Virgina from 1965 to 1971 when they moved the musuem to Roanoke Island in Manteo, North Carolina to reconstruct Roanoak Indian Village and tell the true story of American's beginnings and the first encounter of English Explorers with the people of Roanoak in 1584.
 
When L. Douglas Waldorf and his wife, Olive, first decided to build Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian, they made it a family project.  The musuem became a family business.
 
The family of L. Douglas and Olive Owens Waldorf in 1965.  In 1965, the Waldorf family built and operated Skicoak Living Musuem of the American Indian.  Right to left, back row: L. Douglas Waldorf, Olive Jean Owens Waldorf, and Ivan Roderick Waldorf.  Middle row: Jean L. Waldorf (Black), Mary K. Waldorf, and Debra E. Waldorf (Norris).  Front row: Peter D. Waldorf, Sr. and Richard O. Waldorf.
 
L. Douglas Waldorf with youngest son, Pete (Peter D. Waldorf, Sr) during the construction of Skicoak Living Musuem of the American Indian.  The Tipi's from Frontier City at Virginia Beach, Virginia, were put up and a lodge of the east coast Algonquins is under construction. The methods of the past were used (with the exception of the retired Skicoak Indian Dancers' truck.)
 
 
A lodge of the east coast Algonquins is under construction at Skicoak Living Musuem of the American Indian. The methods of the past were used (with the exception of the retired Skicoak Indian Dancers' truck.)
 
 
L. Douglas Waldorf's younger daughters, Mary K. Waldorf (left) and Debra Waldorf Norris (right) stand on the retired Skicoak Indian Dancers truck roof as they await instructions on bending the saplings over to form the roof of the lodge after the manner of the Algonquins of the east coast. The lodge was built to show the school children and scout troops the difference in the living quarters of the Native Americans of the plains and the Native Americans of the east coast. Both Mary K. Waldorf and Debra Waldorf Norris used the lesson learned by helping their father, L. Douglas Waldorf, in the construction of the Algonquin lodge in making school history projects based on the construction. 
 
 
School History Project of Mary K. Waldorf in which she used the lessons learned in helping her father, L. Douglas Waldorf, in the construction of the Algonquin lodge at Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian.  Mary received a A++ on this history project.
 
 
Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian afforded school children, scout troops, and family groups as well, the opportunity to have lunch in the picnic area overlooking the museum (in the background) after finishing a tour of the Skicoak Living Musuem.  L. Douglas Waldorf's youngest daughter, Mary K. Waldorf (named Naquisi - meaning Bright Star by her father) is seen in the foreground. As Mary K. Waldorf  was the blonde, blue-eyed daughter, she assisted the family business by driving the tractor as the exhibits were taken out and put away each day to protect them from the weather, working in the "Trading Post" and later "The North End Gift Shoppe" at the Roanoak Indian Village in Manteo, North Carolina, and finally by keeping the books of the family business.
 
A hurricane destroyed the first Algonquin Lodge built, and was rebuilt in a new location, thus separating the Alqonquin lifestyle exhibit from the Plains Exhibit.
 
Scene from the award winning motion picture "Jamestown, the Start of a Nation" starring L. Douglas Waldorf as Powatan and the Skicoak Indian Dancers as Powatan's people.
 
When L. Douglas Waldorf was cast to play Powatan and the Skicoak Indian Dancers were cast as Powatan's people in the award winning motion picture "Jamestown, the Start of a Nation", L. Douglas Waldorf chose to focus Skicoak Living Museum's exhibits on the coastal Algonquin Nations rather than including the Native Americans of the plains as well.  So the Tipi's were taken down, and "Chief Thundercloud" was retired along with the costumes of the Plains Native Americans.
 
L. Douglas Waldorf now used the costumes that had been used in the award winning motion picture "Jamestown, the Start of a Nation," which were patterned after the drawings of Governor John White, drawn during the English exploration expedition of 1584 to Roanoke Island in what is now North Carolina along the Outer Banks.  L. Douglas Waldorf was fascinated with his research of the 1584 English expedition.  At Skicoak, attired as the Native Americans of Roanoke Island (spelled Roanoak by the English explorersL. Douglas Waldorf became "Wero Mamanatowick".  Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian now featured only the Algonquin customs, culture and lifestyle methods.
 
This picture of L. Douglas Waldorf as "Wero Mamanatowick" was feature in the above article.  This picture was also featured on a postcard from Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian in 1969.
The caption on the post card reads:
WERO MAMANATOWICK
DOUG WALDORF (WERO MAMANATOWICK) Director of SKICOAK LIVING MUSEUM of the AMERICAN INDIAN. A descendant of the fierce Susquehannock Indians as he appeared in the award winning motion picture "Jamestown, the Start of a Nation."
 
(Copy of Original Article and post card held in the Waldorf family archives.  MKW)
 
 
 
L. Douglas Waldorf as "Wero Mamanatowick" at Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian in front of the Tipi before the Tipi's were retire for good as the decision was made to focus only on the Algonquin Nations' customs and lifestyle.
 
L. Douglas Waldorf as "Wero Mamanatowick" at Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian as he inspects the tobacco plants growing in the garden of the village exhibit at Skicoak.  The Algonquins raised tobacco in their gardens and allowed the plants to flower as shown. 
 
L. Douglas Waldorf as "Wero Mamanatowick" at Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian as he demonstrates how the Native Americans of the Algonquin Nations would scrape the flesh and tissue left hanging to the hide after skinning a deer before they made the hide into either Rawhide, or tanned the hide to make Buckskin.  L. Douglas Waldorf received fresh deer hides from a local hunting club, which he would put in the attic of his ranch home, salted down until he and his daughters, Debra Waldorf Norris (then 14 years old) and Mary Kathryn Waldorf (then 12 years old) could  flesh out and then tan. These deer hides were then used in the exhibit in varing stages of the tanning process. It was at Skicoak Living Museum that L. Douglas Waldorf first used the actual old methods of the Native American's of the Algonquin Nations to take the hair off the deer hides, make rawhide, and tan to make buckskin. The old methods really do work!
  (If you would like to know more about these old tanning methods, they are demonstrated on the DVD's on Tanning from Roanoak Island Historical Park - Roanoak Indian Village and will be available soon.)
 
L. Douglas Waldorf as "Wero Mamanatowick" at Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian as he demonstrates how the Algonquins would make a "chimney" out of the deer skin and hang it over the fire to smoke it to color it.  Notice that "Wero Mamanatowick" is no longer wearing the wig from the costume of Powatan in the award winning motion picture "Jamestown, the Start of a Nation". The hot summer sun made wearing the wig too uncomfortable for L. Douglas Waldorf and he chose to grow is own hair instead.
 
L. Douglas Waldorf as "Wero Mamanatowick" at Skicoak Living Museum as he shows an actual buffalo skull used on the Oregon Trail as a trail marker. This demonstation was one of the last as the western plains exhibit was being phased out. The buffalo skull is still in the Waldorf Family's possession, and sits on L. Douglas Waldorf's manel above the fireplace pictured on the homepage of this website.
 
L. Douglas Waldorf as "Wero Mamanatowick" at Skicoak Living Museum as he chats with visitors to the museum. Many parents of school children and scouts who had visited the museum with their classes or troups would return with their children on the weekends to see the fascinating lecture their children couldn't stop talking about.  Notice how L. Douglas Waldorf as "Wero Mamanatowick" leans on the bow. This is also how the Roanoak Chief was depicted by Governor John White in his drawings of the 1584 English Exploration Expedition to the "Newfound land of Virginia."
 
On April 30, 1971, L. Douglas Waldorf closed Skicoak Living Museum of the American Indian and moved the museum and his family to the north end of Roanoke Island in Manteo, North Carolina and opened Roanoak Island Historical Park - Roanoak Indian Village on May 29, 1971 as he sought to have a more historical location for the living museum. Many of the same lifestyle exhibits were used and expanded and added to in Roanoak Island Historical Park - Roanoak Indian Village. L. Douglas Waldorf's hair grew to a length that he could pull back into a ponytail, and he kept his hair this length until 1979 when Roanoak Island Historical Park - Roanoak Indian Village and L. Douglas Waldorf and his wife, Olive Owens Waldorf moved off Roanoke Island, going to Charleston, South Carolina and finally to Georgia, where they were building their dream house at the time of Olive's death, and where Doug resided until his death, 16 April 2007.  The majority of the artifacts are still in the possession of L. Douglas Waldorf 's daughter, Mary K. Waldorf, and rest on the book shelves and mantle of his giant fireplace in his Georgia home.
 
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