High Voltage – POSTPONED TO JAN 25

Picture1HIGH VOLTAGE: A Citizens Movement to Resist the CU High Voltage DC Transmission Line across West Central Minnesota, 1974-1980, Synopsis.

Join us on Saturday, January 25, 2020 (note date change) at 1:00 as we host Luther Gerlach presenting “High Voltage!” a 90 minute program about the DC powerline project across West Central Minnesota.

Luther Gerlach will speak about the resistance in West Central MN to the CU High Voltage Transmission line.  He has completed an audiovisual documentary using stills and film he and his wife, Ursula, took during the resistance as well as local newspaper photos and clips. Gerlach is professor emeritus of anthropology at the UMN Twin Cities campus, and used the powerline conflict in his classroom lectures. The completed documentary has many chapters, but his presentation at the Pope County Museum is the Draft synopsis.

Gerlach states, “Public response to energy development or supply is a social fact as important to the provision and use of energy as are facts of biology, geology, physics, economics.”

Spread word of this to those who might be interested.  All are welcome. There will be time for comments and questions.

“I think that you will find the presentation interesting and, I hope, an accurate representation of what happened. Also, I trust that I have used clips and photos with care and accuracy. I will use feedback to complete the final version of the production,” says Gerlach.


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Silent Auction Items

Stop in an bid on these fabulous items in our annual Silent Auction fundraiser. Bidding is open now and ends at 3:00 on Saturday during our open house.


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Silent Auction

The Pope County Historical Society has announced its annual Christmas Open House will be held Saturday December 7th from 1-5:00 p.m. Once again this year, there will be a silent auction. Baskets will be set up throughout the museum. Funds raised will support the mission of the Historical Society to foster among people an awareness of Pope County history so that they can draw strength and perspective from the past and find purpose for the future.

You can be a part of this year’s fun event by assembling your own basket or contributing an item of gift certificate to fill a basket assembled by museum volunteers. Cash donations are also accepted. Items can be brought to the museum during museum hours Tuesday – Saturday 10-5 or can be picked up at your location by request.

Bidding on items will begin Tuesday, December 3rd at 10:00 a.m. and bidding will end on Saturday, December 7th at 3:00. For more information, call the Pope County Museum at 634-3293.143

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Creepy Dolls

Our friends at the History Center of Olmstad County are asking the public to vote on the creepiest doll in their collection.  That inspired me to bring out a few of our creepy dolls.

But first, a little story about the doll collection.

When I was a little girl, I loved to see the dolls at the museum. They were in a glass case, tucked into an exhibit in the corner of the museum. You couldn’t get close to the case, but you could see the pretty dresses on the dolls.

Museum December 2016 (103 of 180)When I started working at the museum, the doll case had been moved into a walkway. Visitors could see the dolls much better. I didn’t pay much attention to the doll case until it was time to inventory the dolls.

As we carefully photographed and cataloged each doll, it became clear that many of the dolls were in poor condition. Most of the dolls came from Agnes Hovde. She actually donated most of the toy collection. Her dolls were…. well loved. Many of the porcelain doll heads were broken and were sporting inexpert home repairs.

The other issue with dolls is that they are often made of unstable materials. Early plastics, rubber, and painted cloth do not age well.

In 2017 we dismantled all the exhibits in the back of the museum to make room for the new storage area and new exhibits. The dolls were carefully packed away and have not been put back on display. (You can see all our dolls on-line here.)

So, today I pulled out a few of the dolls to find a few creepy examples….and was indeed creeped out!

One of the dolls was leaking something from the back of her head. There was a wet stain on the acid-free tissue and she was wet to the touch! She has been packed away for three years, so this was rather disturbing.
I have set her aside for some conservation work, so it was a good thing I opened her box.

It will take some research to figure out what is going on with her.

Here are a few of my other “favorite” creepy dolls:

Happy Halloween!!

P. S. We also have some really cool dolls in the collection. My favorite is the WPA Doll and the beautiful dolls in the Helbing collection such as the  Alaskan Doll. You can read about them by clicking on the links.

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The Veterans’ Wall is now Open!

The Veterans’ Wall is finally up! Half of the exhibit was taken down several years ago when we installed the compact storage system.MVIMG_20191015_111440.jpg

New metal custom frames from Glenwood Welding are up and the photos are in the frames! We needed new custom frames to mount on the metal mobile storage wall.


Brent spent hours adding new photographs and updating our list. We have so many new pictures, we had to add another panel!


Anyone who has ever called Pope County home and served in any branch of the military is eligible to be on the wall. If you or someone you know is missing from the wall, please bring in a photo and we will add you during the next update.

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Charles Beck Art Exhibit Open

“Artist + Muse,” an exhibit of woodcuts by Charles Beck from the Timothy Murphy Collection, is now open at the Pope County Museum through the end of October.Beck EVENING-CHORES-15x21

Charles Beck is an Ottertail County artist who created woodcut prints of landscapes, nature and farm scenes. Timothy Murphy was an admirer and friend of Beck and drew inspiration from Beck’s work to write poems on the same themes. “Artist + Muse” draws together the work of both men.

The exhibit at the Pope County Museum is the beginning of a year-long tour of this exhibit throughout western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. It is made possible by the collaboration of The Rourke Art Gallery & Museum, Moorhead, the Timothy Murphy family, the Lake Region Arts Council, and exhibit venues across western Minnesota. This activity is funded in part by a grant from the Lake Region Arts Council through a Minnesota state legislative appropriation.

Charles Beck was born in 1923 in Fergus Falls. Beck began drawing in grade school beck cuttingwhere he would trade his works for candy and marbles. He graduated from Concordia College, Moorhead, in 1948, and from the University of Iowa in 1950. He served as a pilot in the Naval Air Force before returning to Fergus Falls to work as a sign painter. In 1960 he joined the faculty at Fergus Falls Community College and taught for 27 years.

Poet Timothy Murphy was born in Hibbing, Minnesota, and graduated from Yale Beck_TimothyMurphyUniversity, where he participated in the Scholar of the House program. He was a partner in a large-scale hog farm and a businessperson. His books include the poetry collections The Deed of Gift (1998), Very Far North (2002), Mortal Stakes • Faint Thunder (2011), and Hunter’s Log (2011), as well as a memoir, Set the Ploughshare Deep: A Prairie Memoir (2000). He has also translated Beowulf. Though hunting and farming are essential subjects for his writing, myths and legends influence his work as well.

“Artist + Muse” -an exhibit of work by artist Charles Beck and poet Timothy Murphy- will be on display at the Pope County Museum through October 30. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 – 5. The impact of this exhibit is much richer in person. Stop by today!Beck birds

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Charles Beck Woodcuts Exhibit

We are excited to announce a new temporary exhibit at the Pope County Museum.

ARTIST + MUSE   Woodcuts by Charles Beck from the Timothy Murphy Collection


The exhibit is made possible by the Rourke Art Gallery in Moorhead, Minnesota and is only here until the end of October, so stop in and see us soon!

Charles Beck was born in Fergus Falls in 1923, he studied art at the University of Minnesota where he was first introduced to woodcut prints. Throughout his life, Beck’s primary subject was the landscape and nature of Otter Tail County.

Poet Timothy Murphy was an admirer and friend of beck and derived both enjoyment and inspiration from his friend’s artwork.

Both woodcut prints and selected poems inspired by the woodcuts are on exhibit at the Pope County Museum.

The prints must be seen in person to truly appreciate them. We hope you will stop in and see them. We are open Tuesday-Saturday 10-5.






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