Our deepest heartfelt condolences go out to the Glen Johnstone's family and loved ones. He was truly an exceptional man.
People often wonder, what is the point of a History Center? "Isn't it just a bunch of old stuff? Old junk? What's it's importance? I don't care about history, I don't care about museums." History Center's get hit the hardest. All across the country they are being forced to close their doors because the support isn't there. Because people lose the importance of what we are. We aren't just a place for old stuff.
We are a place of education
We are a place of excitement
We are a place of memories.
One day an elderly gentleman came in. He looked frail and sad. He wanted help
finding old “magazines” he was sure I knew the ones he was talking about. He has lost so many old friend’s he just wanted to connect with them. I took him to spot after spot where we had old magazines. "No not those, you know those
“magazines” he said time and time again.
I was getting frustrated. Finally, we reached the old thin yearbooks from the 1920’s to the 1950’s. “Yes, yes those”, he exclaimed with excitement. I left him alone in the library. After about an hour and a half he came to the front counter to thank me.” I was feeling so sad and lonely, missing so many people”, he said, “as I sat and looked it brought so many happy and fun memories”. “Those people were alive again, he said, with tears welling up”. I am proud we were here for him. Getting old and losing friends, family and loved ones is a reality of life, if you are (lucky?) enough to live that long.
For this gentlemen and for many others we are a bridge to the past. Connecting those with their childhoods once more. For others we are a bridge to connect one generation to the next. It's so heart warming and delightful when grandparents bring their children into the museum and they explain to their grand-kids how they had to use some devices their grand-kids are completely baffled by. You see a spark in both the Grandparents and the grandchild's eyes as a bond forms.
We are not a house for old things.
We are a institution of memories and bridges for people to build and connect the past to the future.
Recently the Kanabec History Center has put together this educational box. Inside the box is some handouts, information, furs, tools, clothes, plates, and more. All are connected to the Fur Trade. With fun activities this box is perfect for Teachers, home school families, 4-H Groups, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and more to either schedule and come in for a fun and excited educational presentation or perfect for people to check out and bring history to life in a different setting. You get a real hands on experience with all the activities. Stimulating the mind and it's 5th grade curriculum friendly! The box can also be adjusted and made age friendly for almost any group.
With interest already on the rise, we've gone ahead and opened up Registration for Old Tyme Country School! If you don't know or haven't been Old Tyme Country School is a wonderful time for kids 1st - 8th grade to attend school and how it would be in the 1920's. They come to the history center, dressed in period costumes, their cold lunches packed, and attend school as it would have been in our one room school house Whittier.
We have an excellent teacher who has different activities and lessons planned for them through. Some of their favorite activities are making butter, old time games, and exploring the museum. At the end of the week they give a sort of talent show showcasing what they learned, what they've accomplished and more during the past week. Parents and students get to enjoy ice cream and socialize at the end.
We've been working with the Minnesota Digital Library in digitizing the entire photography collection the Kanabec History Center has. They let us know when sign ups for a new Phase happens. We apply, and we work with an amazing team to take our photos down to Minneapolis to the University of Minnesota and they take it from there. When we get them back we go through the process of entering meta data so once it's finished then information can be posted on the Minnesota Digital Libraries Reflections website. This is another form of preserving history. If anything was to happen to the History Center, or to the photos they are now still very much alive and preserved. Forever accessible online and their stories can live on.
Check out the Digitized Photos tab to see the batches we've already had done or you can check them out at the Minnesota Reflections under Kanabec County.
Click HERE for Kanabec County - Minnesota Reflections
Click HERE to visit Minnesota Reflections
These were the words spoken by Pete McVay on ground breaking day for the Kanabec County Historical Society. They are as relevant today as they were 40 years ago. We hope they hold true through all time.
All of us here this evening have an interest in and an appreciation for history. If we did not, we wouldn’t be here. For history is what the Kanabec County Historical Society is all about. History is what the Kanabec County Historical Park is all about.
We have an interest in history because we know that we are whatever we are largely because of those who preceded us. We know that we have what we have, we live as we live in no small measure because of their work and their sacrifice.
From our fathers and our fathers’ fathers we have received a faith, a set of moral standards, a code of ethics, a culture. We have received some appreciation of beauty and kindness and love. We have been taught to seek knowledge. We have been inspired to search for a better life – a life better not only in material way but a life that reflects a better understanding more consideration of our neighbors and all men.
We are indeed a fortunate people. For as our forefathers’ courage, and determination, and dedication, and sacrifice and vision, and love were great – so great is our heritage, so great are our benefits.
Those of us here tonight are a bridge – a bridge between those who have preceded us and those who will come after us. We build this museum because we enjoy the collection and preservation and study of historical objects and we hope others will find pleasure in them also. We build it also in the hope that our children and our childrens’ children will find this institution helpful in understanding their history and their culture. We seek to assist them in developing a historical perspective so that they may better sort out values and truths. We hope and believe that the past should be a guide to the future. In short – it is our hope that this effort will help give us and our children roots; roots to hold us upright – roots to grow from.
Our undertaking is a substantial one. It will require an enormous amount of energy and effort. Glen and Ron, and many others, have already put in many hours of work and we thank them for it. One day this fall the building will be completed. Then the real work begins. Then the challenge is to make the best use of the facility, to present imaginative displays, interesting accounts of history, to conduct classes and special programs. Every talent here tonight and those of your friends and neighbors are needed. All of us can make a contribution. Please don’t wait to be asked – please offer your help.
Being a bridge between the past and the future can be—will a stimulating, exhilarating experience for us all.
I thank you.