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Museum draws 4,000

By Staff | Sep 19, 2014

Submitted Merik Petrovic reads a 1959 issue of the Grand Forks Herald discovered beneath the linoleum in the Norway House, where he is reinforcing the floors.

The most enterprising summer in recent years at Prairie Village Museum closed Monday. The museum hosted nine events, including the Village Fair, which was held for two days for the first time.

Attendance surpassed 4,000 for the second straight year and this year’s count of 4,048 included every visit, according to executive director Cathy Jelsing. The museum generated $13,783 compared to $12,330 in 2013.

“I think the most obvious improvement is the number of activities being held out here,” Jelsing said. “The community involvement and founding of Friends of the Museum was a huge step in getting people volunteering and involved.”

Other visible improvements included a variety of repairs and renovations. Renovation of Old Main began and part of the space is set up for rotating exhibits. Area business donations, grants and endowment funds received and expended since September 2013 generated $27,173. Donations helped with renovations to the Creamery, Bottineau Telephone Office, Norway House and Gronvold House.

The facilities also benefitted from voters approving a mill levy increase that provides the Geographical Center Historical Society – which operates the museum – with about $12,000 each year. The county will provide about $19,000 per year from the levy.

“Getting the mill levy was a huge step to getting the funding we need to be a more professional facility,” Jelsing said. “We received lots of comments this year on the quality of the museum. People of Rugby and Pierce County should be extremely proud of the collections amassed here.”

Jelsing credited the original founders and volunteers at the museum for the collections. One of the top goals ahead is improving interpretation and updating collection records.

The museum had 192 individuals purchase memberships, which was short of the goal of 200, but 15 more than in 2013. The museum plans to continue the annual Rhubarb Festival after the first two installments. The museum camp for children completed its fourth summer. First-time project “Museum Comes Alive Day” also is expected to continue on next year’s schedule.

This year’s Old-Fashioned Holiday Dinner is scheduled for Dec. 5 at Rugby Eagles Club.

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