Visitors from far and wide taking in history
By Emily Bialkowski
The Houston County Historical Society and its dedicated volunteers have recorded significant statistics in recent months on where guests come from and how many visitors stop by.
Shirley Johnson, society president, said it has been a busy year for the society. People from 24 states and nine different countries have toured the museum at the fairgrounds. “A lot of those from out of state are doing research on their family,” Johnson said.
Visitors from over 100 Minnesotan cities and over 30 cities in Wisconsin and Iowa have also made the pilgrimage.
Making this all possible is 5,100 hours of volunteer service. The museum is staffed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.
They are in the process of erecting a new building to continue to provide new and informative exhibits. It is a project that began two and half years ago and is currently complete on the outside with a bit to go inside.
“At the present time the sprinkling system is being installed as well as the drywall and plumbing. It’s getting there, and we’re excited. We’re hoping for temporary displays before the grand opening,” Johnson said.
The project is expected to cost $1.2 million, though Johnson said she expects the final figure to be less.
Supporting the society’s endeavor is county tax money to the tune of $36,700 per year. In 2013 the society is requesting additional funds to the tune of $42,500.
“This year we will be experiencing more expenses with heating and ventilating,” Johnson explained.
An annual book sale has also helped offset some of their expenses and earned the organization over $6,000 this year. “We had the best book sale that we’ve ever had this year,” Johnson said.
The society accepts donations of books all year round during their open hours and by pre-arranged pick-up by calling 507-725-3884.
The sale occurs the third weekend in March.
The society continues to accept donations of artifacts and recently garnered old furniture and law books from the county.
Johnson said they hope to continue to serve the people of Houston County.