Weather Related Closure

Due to the weather, the Pope County Museum is closing early today (Wednesday) and may also be closed on Thursday. Please call ahead to see if anyone is here before you make a trip to see us.

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Fiber Arts Night at the Museum this Thursday

With all the fun Knitting exhibits, presentations, and workshops happening at the museum – we don’t want to forget our monthly knit / fiber arts night!

Please join us Thursday evening, February 16 at the Pope County Museum for an evening of crafting and fellowship. Bring your knitting. crocheting, spinning, small loom weaving, tatting etc. Work on your project(s) and visit with your fellow fiber artists.

We will have the museum open at 6:30, but drop in anytime after supper.

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Lecture Saturday Night

Scandinavian Knitting Traditions Lecture at Museum

The Pope County Museum, in partnership with the Glenwood Public Library, presents a free lecture on knitting traditions on Saturday, February 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the museum.

Winter in the Nordic countries is several months long, dark and cold—so there has always been a need for warm, close-fitting clothing. For that reason, knitting became an important handcraft early on. In the past, the knitted garments themselves were the most important thing, but today it is perhaps the pleasure of knitting that is most meaningful for our well-being.

Stephenie Anderson from Bearpaw Studios, Fosston, Minnesota, will present a free public lecture on Viking Age textiles and knitting. Stephenie Anderson describes herself as a “creative and detail-oriented fiber/textile artist with a strong background in knitting, quilting and hand sewing of Viking Age textiles.” She has created, written and published many patterns over the past 30 years. She has exhibited her work at the Northwest Minnesota Art Gallery, Sorenson Art Gallery, and the Minnesota State Fair where she was a blue-ribbon winner. Stephenie is associated with the Pine to Prairie Folk School, East Polk County Heritage Center and The Order of the Mitten, a group of textile artists who research textile grave finds and recreate those finds as accurately as possible. Stephenie Anderson was awarded the Viking Connection grant to study in Norway under Astri Byrd and Linnea Madsen. With their guidance Stephenie studied and recreated historically accurate Viking Age garments based on archaeological finds.

The lecture will be the public release of the newly drafted pattern for Albertina Dickson’s Selbu Mitten. In the 1940’s Albertina knit a mitten which is now part of the Pope County Museum collection. Ms. Anderson studied our mitten and wrote a pattern inspired by and in tribute to Albertina Tyvog Dickson. Albertina made a living as a tailor, seamstress and handiworker in and around Terrace. Her parents were immigrants from Norway and likely influenced her interest in Nordic knitting and handcrafts.

Albertina Dickson’s mitten has all the hallmarks of Selbu knitting patterns which can be traced to the 1850s. Selbu patterns have a small pattern on the palm and a star pattern and vines on the back of the hand. This mitten also includes “line dance” figures. Dancing has always been a form of enjoyment all around the world, so it’s easy to understand why it is a motif in knitted patterns. The Nordfjord and Selbu knitting methods clearly transfer into her work which is on exhibit in the museum.

This event is a partnership project of the Glenwood Public Library and the Pope County Historical Society. This project has been financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Viking Library System.

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Norwegian Knitting Presentation


Please join us at the Pope County Museum on Saturday, February 18th at 7:00 pm.

Textile artist Stephenie Anderson will present Norwegian Knitwear in the early 1900’s. 

Steph will talk to us about how Norwegian knitwear impacted the economy of Norway and fashions around the world.

Steph is also a Viking Age Textile Historian.  We have requested that she bring some of her samples to the Saturday evening presentation.  She is happy to talk about Viking Age textile and jewelry finds, recreation of finds, and experimental archaeology. 

Steph has created a pattern from a mitten in the museum collection. Albertina Dixon’s mitten is a wonderful example of immigrant Norwegian knitting.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

This program is sponsored by Glenwood Public Library and Viking Library System, in partnership with the Pope County Historical Society. This project is funded in part with monies from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

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New Exhibit in the Works – Need Your Help!

Today I am assembling an exhibit featuring Pope County Photography Studios. Look for individual blog posts on each photographer coming soon!

I am running into a problem that YOU can help with.

I do not have many (if any) photographs in our collection from the more recent photography studios.

I am looking for studio group photos and portraits from Gordon Clark, Dean Danter, Jim Chan, Tracy Pepper, Jim Palmer, Amy Winter, Lane Studio, Jennifer Gullickson, and anyone else who has had a photography studio in Pope County since the 1970s.

There are lots of examples of their work out there – but we all still have these photos on walls, mantles, and photo albums.

You can donate them to our collection and they will be preserved for future generations, or just loan them for this exhibit, but we want the actual prints from the photographer – not scans for this project.

Thank you in advance!


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The Importance of Institutional Memory – and a Sharp Eyed Employee

Yesterday, I set out all the new potential artifact donations in the meeting room in preparation for our Collection Committee meeting last night.

Every new donation was listed and ready for the committee to discuss and determine if it should be accepted into the museum’s collection.

One of the donations consisted of a booklet and three photographs. There was no information about the photographs, other than two of them had the name of a local person written on the back. (This local person was not in either of those photos.) The photographs had been found at a thrift store.

Usually, unidentified photos that don’t even have ownership information are declined. But I had them out on the table for discussion.

The photograph with no name on the back, or even any photographer information was the most interesting of the three. (Shown above) I was intrigued by the Norwegian costumes, especially the very different dresses worn by the women, but could find no information to connect it to Pope County.

Merlin, our Executive Director, walks past, glances at the photo, and says, “Is that the Hardanger Violin we have in our collection?”

Are you kidding me? You can spot OUR hardanger violin in this small image?

So we get out the magnifying glass, and bring up pictures of the violin, and… it is indeed possible that they are the same, but couldn’t PROVE it. Click here for more information on the Violin.

We did a bit more searching in our CollectiveAccess database for the Thoen family who made, used, and donated the violin and found this image:

This picture clearly shows the same people as the first photo. Even their membership ribbons are pinned in the same places on their clothing. They are on a stage dancing at the 1911 Hallingsavne (Party for Norwegians from the Hallingdal area) in Brooten, Minnesota. Olof Thoen is playing the violin.
The photo was donated by the Thoen family, so we know the violin in THIS image is the same one we have in the collection.

So – thanks to Merlin’s sharp eyes and knowledge of objects in our collection, we can add the new photo to our collection, complete with date, location and at least one person identified. We will also connect the new image to the violin’s record in our database.

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Nordic Mitten Knitting Workshop – Class is full!

The Pope County Museum is hosting a Selbu Mitten Knitting Workshop


Saturday, February 18 from 10 am -4 pm and
Sunday, February 19, from 10 am -3 pm

Pope County Museum, 809 South Lakeshore Drive, Glenwood

All costs are covered by a Viking Library System grant and including the pattern, personal instruction, and yarn.

You may bring a lunch or join in on a group order for lunch.

Instructor: Stephenie Anderson

Skill Level: Intermediate

Skills required are basic knit, purl, cast on, and bind off, as well as the ability to work colorwork, increases, decreases, and knit in the round with dpns.

In Selbu Knitted Mitten Techniques, students will be introduced to Selbu mittens and characteristics which set them apart.

We will create a purposeful swatch in the round by practicing structure of Selbu knitting which will lead into the knowledge and skills to knit full-sized pair of mittens.

The “line dancers” pattern is based on a mitten in the Pope County Museum collection knitted by Albertina Dickson. The Nordfjord region of Norway has a culture rich with fiber traditions. Albertina Dickson’s parents immigrated to Pope County, Minnesota, where Albertina, as an adult, helped support her family as a seamstress and knitter. The Nordfjord and Selbu knitting methods clearly transfer into her work which is on exhibit in the museum.

Supplies Provided: YARN

● Rauma 3-Trads Strikkegarn, DK weight wool yarn in a main color and one accent color, approx 25g/45yds per color.
● Finnull (fingering weight) wool yarn in a main color and one accent color sufficient to complete a pair of mittens.

Supplies You Bring:

● US2 double point needles or magic loop equivalent or size needed to achieve a gauge of 9sts/in

● Your usual knitting kit: stitch markers, scissors, tapestry needle, etc.


Optional pick up yarn in advance to knit the cuff as a gauge swatch. The cuff will be the swatch.  Norwegian knitters swatch with a purpose – no wasted time or yarn.

This knitting workshop is a partnership project of the Glenwood Public Library and the Pope County Historical Society. This project has been financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Viking Library System.

To sign up, call or email the Pope County Museum 320-634-3293 or

Space is limited.

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Knitting for Victory

This is a series of blog posts relating to our current “Knitting with Love” exhibit.

During both World Wars, the public was encouraged to knit for the men in the service. It was a big part of the home front effort.

Popular items were socks, sweaters, vests, mittens, gloves, scarves, and “helmets.” The helmets not only kept heads, faces, and necks warm, they made the standard sized metal helmets much more comfortable.

The Red Cross coordinated this effort and knitting groups of all ages across the country created over 30 million garments during WWI.

We have a knitting pattern book from World War 2. But my favorite things are the knitted items from World War 1.

The vest and the helmet were used by Barbara (Thompson) Sharpless when she served as a nurse during WW1. We have no information on who made the items. She may have knit them herself, or maybe they were a gift.

The gray knit vest fits perfectly over her gray nurse’s uniform. The helmet has a few holes in it, so we don’t dare stretch it out over a head-shaped form, for fear of doing further damage.

I plan to knit a few items from the pattern book in 2023 to add to the collection as samples.

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Knitting for Fashion

This is a series of blog posts relating to our current “Knitting with Love” exhibit.

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Knitwear is usually warm, but can be very beautiful.

This purple shawl is delicate knitted lace, clearly made more for beauty than warmth.

There is no documentation at the museum about who made it or when it was made, but it is lovely.

The cream colored vest is a bit more utilitarian, but still a fashion piece. It was made by Arlene Bly.

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Knitting for Home

This is a series of blog posts relating to our current “Knitting with Love” exhibit.

Knitting is not just for clothing. Tea cozies, coasters, placemats, and pillows are common household knitted items.

The most common knitted household item is a blanket, such as cozy throw, an afghan, or a bedspread. We have several knitted bedspreads in the collection. They are large and heavy, so we decided to display only the pillow cover from one of the bedspreads.

The bedspread displayed here was made by Anna (Hagesten) Nordstrom of Starbuck for her granddaughter Ruth (Olson) Shaw on the occasion of her confirmation from Fron Lutheran Church in 1940.

The bedspread is constructed from many tightly knit squares. Each square has one leaf, a series of stripes, a row of leaves and more strips. Then the squares are sewn together with the leaf corners together. It is made from fine cotton yarn and knit on tiny needles, probably size 0.

This style is called counterpane and was very popular in the early 1900s. The 1908 novel, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, features a character who spies on her neighbors while knitting “cotton warp quilts” just like this one.

First Lady Grace Coolidge, published a counterpane pattern in the New York Herald in 1920. Her pattern was similar to the one used by Anna Nordstrom for this bedspread.

Rugs are less common as knitted objects, but we have one in our collection. The construction of the rug is also unusual. It is knitted using a technique called “short rows”. The very center was knitted as a circle, then maker knitted one long row out from the center, turned the work, and created a wedge shape by knitting shorter and shorter rows, close to what would become the outer edge. Once the narrow wedge was complete, she would knit all the way back to the center and start another wedge.

The material appears to be long strips of fabric rather than yarn. making cotton or wool fabric strips was a way to recycle older garments into something useful.
It is a sturdy rug, except for one type of fabric that was used for the strips. The red, white, and black multi colored fabric did not hold up as well as the other fabrics.

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