Psych! This post's featured image is NOT a clock! It's another compass from the Beltrami County Historical Society. I can, indeed, tell the difference between a clock and a compass. I just happen to find compasses to be as attractive as clocks, if not as widespread.
clock history history relevance museums pragmatic historian using history

A Cool Exhibit Idea from Minnesota’s Historic Northwest

When I was visiting the Beltrami County Historical Society for the Legacy Strategic Agenda Collaborative (LSAC) meeting I mentioned in my last post, our group learned a bit more about a long-term partnership called Minnesota’s Historic Northwest.

Minnesota’s Historic Northwest is a regional collaborative of about 20 history and culture organizations in northwestern Minnesota. Minnesota is a large state and the northwestern portion has some areas that are sparsely populated. Banding together allows these organizations to expand their reach and share resources and expertise.

Minnesota’s Historic Northwest has a website and the group has created shared publications, including a recent one on World War I, with various organizations in the collaborative submitting articles to fill the publication. This is a great way to produce a publication that provides wider historical context for the entire region and takes a lot of stress off of individual organizations to create all the content.

While at the Beltrami County Historical Society, Executive Director Gary Rozman pointed out a particular exhibit case, one with a fur trade ax and a compass. And this leads to the cool exhibit idea that Minnesota’s Historic Northwest cooked up.

A detail from the traveling exhibit, The Fur Trade in Northwest Minnesota, created by the regional collaborative Minnesota's Historic Northwest. This portion was at the Beltrami County Historical Society in Bemidji, MN, October 2018. Note that I zeroed in on the compass, which has clock-like aspects. I was looking everywhere for clocks in the building. Surprising for The Pragmatic Historian, eh?
A detail from the traveling exhibit, The Fur Trade in Northwest Minnesota, created by the regional collaborative Minnesota’s Historic Northwest. This portion was at the Beltrami County Historical Society in Bemidji, MN, October 2018. Note that I zeroed in on the compass, which has clock-like aspects. I was looking everywhere for clocks in the building. Surprising for The Pragmatic Historian, eh?

With a $90,000 Legacy Grant (thank you, Minnesota voters, for passing the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment!), the organization decided to create a shared traveling exhibit called The Fur Trade in Northwest Minnesota.

Fifteen sites within the region each have a permanent display case, with exhibit items rotating throughout the different sites over the next five years, to be displayed within these permanent cases. Visitors can travel to the different sites to see all the exhibits within a short period of time, or they can wait for each exhibit to come to their local site.

Isn’t this a cool concept? I certainly think so. And it’s one that could be replicated using different subject matter in different regions, helping to show how history crosses our arbitrary geopolitical boundaries.

The following museums are hosting pieces of the exhibit:

  • Becker County Museum, Detroit Lakes
  • Beltrami County History Center, Bemidji
  • North Beltrami Heritage Center, Kelliher
  • Clearwater County History Center, Shevlin
  • Kittson County Museum, Lake Bronson
  • Lake of the Woods County Historical Society, Baudette
  • Marshall County Museum, Warren
  • Mahnomen County Museum, Mahnomen
  • Norman County Historical Society (not sure if the exhibit is in the Ada location or the Shelly location)
  • Oklee Historical Society, Oklee
  • Pennington County Historical Society, Thief River Falls
  • Polk County Museum, Crookston
  • Red Lake County (not sure of the exhibit’s location)
  • Roseau County Museum & Interpretive Center, Roseau
  • Sand Hill Settlement, Climax

To find more precise locations for these sites, visit Minnesota’s Historic Northwest’s website and click on the Museums menu. You can also leave a message via their Facebook page.

Psych! This post's featured image is NOT a clock! It's another compass from the Beltrami County Historical Society. I can, indeed, tell the difference between a clock and a compass. I just happen to find compasses to be as attractive as clocks, if not as widespread.
Psych! This post’s featured image is NOT a clock! It’s another compass from the Beltrami County Historical Society. I can, indeed, tell the difference between a clock and a compass. I just happen to find compasses to be as attractive as clocks, if not as widespread.