Museums and historic sites open for viewing
Kandiyohi County Historical Society
Willmar, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 1 to 5 p.m. weekends and holidays; free admission, located at the train engine on North Business Highway 71 across from Robbins Island; the KCHS museum has a number of featured exhibits and the Sperry House will also be open most days; 320-235-1881.
Immigration: To celebrate the diverse ancestry and heritage of Kandiyohi County and the state of Minnesota. The immigration exhibit features one of four original Red River Ox Carts left in the state of Minnesota along with pictures of traditional costumes of peoples who settled this region during the nineteenth century.
Kandi Resorts: As Minnesota is the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" and Kandiyohi County is "Where the Lakes Begin," KCHS is honoring the lake-based economy in an exhibit dedicated to early resorts and the lakes. The exhibit features bathing suits, fishing gear, resort pictures and brochures.
Something's Afoot: Photographs, shoe store fixtures and shoes from the 1870s to the 1970s.
Beautiful buildings: Photographs, history and a few leftover "pieces" tell the stories of several buildings that were razed in Willmar and missed by residents who remember them.
Whitefield Exhibit: An exhibit about pioneer artist and land promoter Edwin Whitefield, who visited Kandiyohi County in 1856.
Velma's Hats: Hats from the collection of Velma Swanson, from the 1940s to '70s, along with a special Red Hat Society-style number made by Sharon Richmond along with photographs and accessories.
Last run of 2523: The year 2005 marked the 40th anniversary of the "last run" of Great Northern engine 2523 to the historical center. This photo exhibit shows the stages of the move
No! No! is an eclectic display of museum objects that were or are considered immoral or shocking. Confiscated liquor bottles from the Prohibition era, century-old "racy" stereopticon views, spittoons, and other tobacco items are some of the obviously "sinful" pieces in the exhibit. Other features remind viewers that currently acceptable practices such as Sunday shopping or trends like bobbed hair or jazz music were formerly considered "No, No's."
Religion and churches: "Rights of Passage" are interpreted, along with photos and artifacts from local churches and sects.
Hotels: Hotel photos and objects are featured, along with the former Lakeland Hotel telephone booth.
Immigration: A map of ethnic communities in the late 1800s and early 1900s show our county's "old" ethnic neighborhoods, with an immigrant truck and artifacts brought from the Old Countries.
Collectible stamp sets: Elmond Ekblad displays his stamp collection, with stamps for each season.
Cast your ballot: An exhibit showing politics at the local level, including a voting booth used until the 1980s.
Take note: Music is the theme with some distinctive and typical instruments and local photographs.
World War II: World War II oral history with local veterans is showcased in an exhibit. Video can be shown upon request.
Civil and Spanish-America wars: Military items, photos of local veterans, and lists of local GAR veterans.
Buggy-riding: Judge Muller's buggy is the focal point of a new exhibit. It is flanked by photos of buggies and equipment used with horse-drawn vehicles.
Newspapers: Interpretive panels telling the history of the press in America have been added to the old printing press and Linotype exhibit.
Halvorson inventions: A generator and carburetor invented by Lars Halvorson of Willmar, who also built the first gas-powered "horseless carriage" in the area, are displayed with the museum's early automobiles.
Art in the Research Center: Paintings and drawings by three local artists, Eben Lawson, Dorothea Paul and Ruth Trautmiller, are on display in the newly renovated research center. Local scenes, including a mural-sized painting of Great Northern Locomotive 2523, are featured.
Ken Halverson talk: 7 pm. March 18; Halvorson is the author of the book "If Grandma's in Heaven, Watch Out!" He will speak about the Bonrud Gang which was involved in more than 50 crimes in Minnesota and northern Iowa, including robbing a gas station in Willmar and a shoot out in Benson on Feb. 26, 1933. Halvorson is a grandson of the gang members; freewill donation.
Victorian Customs of Winking: 2 p.m. March 28; actress Jaclyn Theis will present a program on the "Victorian customs of winking"; participants will then make a fan and learn how to convey hidden meanings through gestures with fans as Theis presents "The Secret Language of the Fan."
Atwater Area Museum
Atwater, open by appointment, call 703-598-4827; the Atwater Area Historical Society and Museum.
GAR and Meeker
Litchfield, noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, $2 admission; Grand Army of the Republic Hall and Meeker County Historical Society Museum, 308 Marshall Ave.
Grove City Historical
Grove City, open by appointment, call Dorothy 857-9422, Irma 857-2176 or Chuck 857-0169, South Grove Square, Grove City Area Historical Society Museum.
Mikkelson Classic Boats
Willmar, open by appointment, call 320-231-0384, 418 Benson Ave. S.E.; featuring classic speed boats, outboard motors, toy boys and motors and boating artifacts; $6 admission.
Natural History Museum
New London, open by appointment, call 320-354-8820, 12050 Co. Rd. 40 N.E. Larry and Barb Levin's Natural History Museum includes collections of butterflies, seashells, rocks, minerals, Indian artifacts and dinosaur bones. The museum is located on County Road 40, 2.8 miles east of state Highway 23 on the north side of the road. Admission is free.
Sacred Heart, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays or by appointment, U.S. Highway 212 in Sacred Heart; 320-765-8868.
Willmar, 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 3310 Business Highway 71 S.; features roadway and farm field history, more than 300 tractors, cars, trucks and fire trucks; gift shop; adults $5, under 12 are $2; 320-231-0564.