Kittson County Museum seeking additional donations
Money to be designated for addition to 40-year-old historical building
A few years ago, the Kittson County Historical Society Board and staff decided it was time to expand the county museum in Lake Bronson. This year, the board made the official decision to move forward with the project. However, more funds are needed to complete the first phase of the addition and fundraisers are planned.
Kittson County was officially organized 140 years ago. Although the history of the county goes back thousands of years prior to its organization, the history of the development of the county doesn’t begin until the mid to late 1800s. Once the county was officially organized, development began with the organizations of government, townships, communities, school districts, churches, etc.
Of course, at that time, there was no discussion of organizing a historical society. Fortunately, there were newspapers, which recorded a trove of history, along with a few early settlers who collected and recorded historical accounts in diaries, books and through photographs.
The census records are also an important historical record as one can find who all lived in a household, who the siblings were, what township the family lived in, how many years in the county and country, their occupation, etc. All of these resources are pertinent for any researcher.
According to these newspapers, it wasn’t until the 1930s, around the same time the Kittson County Enterprise published a 50th anniversary edition, which contained an abundant amount of Kittson County’s early history, that there was discussion to start a historical organization.
Although, there was discussion at the time and attempts were made to organize a historical society, there never seemed to be any consistency.
Since there were no minutes of these early meetings, it is unknown why it took so long to establish a consistent organization, which finally happened in the early 1970s. Up to that time, some small business owners would have artifacts on display. Victor Fritz, Lake Bronson, was one of these people who had an extensive collection, which he displayed along with other county residents’ items in a building next to the American Legion, which is now the city shop in Lake Bronson. This was the beginning of a Kittson County Museum.
This time, when the Kittson County Historical Society was reorganized officially and a new facility was built to house the county’s history, it has remained a stable and progressive organization. Since that time the Kittson County Museum has grown and the historical society has flourished. Thousands of items relating to Kittson County and its residents have been collected and preserved at the museum.
The collection has grown to the point where more room is needed.
Plans were drawn, changes were made and estimates were received. The board decided to move forward with the addition project even though the total amount for the project is yet to be raised. Construction materials continue to increase – since the original estimate was given, the cost of concrete alone has increased by approximately 30 percent. Because of the increasing costs, it was decided to split the project into two phases – the building first and the interior would be the second phase.
The total cost for both phases is about $325,000 with the first phase being approximately $235,000. To complete phase 1, another $18,000 still needs to be raised. The Kittson County Historical Society will continue to have fundraisers to raise the funds needed. The next fundraiser is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 11, at the VFW middle room in Kennedy. The museum board will be serving BBQs, potato salad, chips and bars. Come and help support this new expansion project.
Completing this project is a big goal and it can’t be done without the help and support of those interested in preserving Kittson County. The Kittson County Historical Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, so donations are eligible for tax deductions. If you are interested in donating towards this project, find the ad in this newspaper that you can clip out and send with your donation. Each donor will be appropriately acknowledged according to the donation category – $5-$99, $100-$499, $500-$999, $1,000-$4,999, $5,000-$9,999 and $10,000 or more. The board is in the process of finalizing the plans as to how the donors will be recognized in the new addition. If you have any questions, please contact the museum or a board member.
The Kittson County Museum and History Center needs more space. History is being made every day and the Kittson County Historical Society board and staff do their best at trying to preserve it. It is a county museum, which represents all residents of the county – past, present and future.
Help the Kittson County Historical Society continue to preserve the county’s rich history in an appropriate environment that is safe for the artifacts and appealing and interesting to all visitors.