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Paynesville (Minn.) museum village ribbon cutting is Saturday

PAYNESVILLE -- It only takes two years to create a new -- yet historical -- village.

For the Paynesville Area Historical Museum, that's exactly what it took to replicate many old and deteriorated buildings that once serviced the Paynesville community.

The museum is set to open its doors to the public on Saturday to unveil its new exhibit, "Village of Paynesville," that highlights the history of the community based on the stories and writings of store owners and community members.

Jackie Svejkovsky, curator of the Paynesville Area Historical Museum, said with the new exhibit, the museum can provide a wealth of knowledge and provide history of the area that many do not know.

"I'm hoping they look at this and understand that some don't know we have a museum," Svejkovsky said. "It should be a working museum, open almost year-round to preserve the oral histories of the area while educating."

The concept for the replicated exhibit came to Svejkovsky after many museum visitors asked questions that couldn't be answered -- and with her idea to recycle old buildings that were set to be torn down around the area.

Svejkovsky first got approval to create three buildings, but said when a group of 30 volunteers finished their last one they had built 18 small replicas.

The exhibit displays various store fronts, old banks and the old post office -- all of which either once stood, or are still standing in Paynesville today.

Saturday's events will kick off with a ribbon cutting for the completed village exhibit at 11 a.m. followed by a lunch at 1:30 p.m. and Elrosa resident David Heinze's cannon demonstration at 2 p.m.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, or by appointment, and is settled along state Highway 23 East at 251 Ampe Drive in Paynesville.

"We really want to make the museum a part of the community and make it a site to see," Svejkovsky said. "For a small town, I think our museum can rival a county museum."