History museum

Take a trip inside the history museum storage building [PHOTOS]


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ST. CLOUD – Have you ever wondered where artifacts go when they’re not on display in the Stearns History Museum?

This is where the storage facility comes in. Getting to the 18,000 square foot building requires a short off-road ride on a winding road behind the museum. Inside, items are sorted by type in cold, air-conditioned rooms which can be cavernous at times.

Curator of exhibitions and collections Eric Cheever says deciding which pieces to bring to the museum is a process.

This is completely dictated by the subject of the exhibition. So we choose the subject first and then we research collections to see what we have to support the exhibition. And at this point the other building is full, so basically everything that goes into storage is currently going into that space.

The Old Settler’s Society began collecting and preserving artifacts in 1873, the Stearns County Historical Society was founded in 1936, and the current museum was designed and built in the early 1980s.

Donated items range from farm implements and vehicles to household items and art, and between on-site storage and outbuilding, the museum is nearly full.

Executive director Carie Essig says staff members are working to reduce the pressure on space by sorting the collection and removing pieces that are deteriorating, duplicated, or unrelated to the county’s history.

Now that we have the staff who have the training, and we’ve had this staff for a number of years, we’re slowly starting to sort things out, so to speak, and figure out what things we really need to keep, which are in some way. sort of things that really reflect the history of Stearns County and Stearns County, and those things that we might not even know if they do. These things that we are trying to relocate.

Almost inaccessible in winter, the location of the storage building also creates challenges when moving items during the snowy or rainy months.

Essig says that ideally they would someday like to have the entire collection and active exhibits under one roof.

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