COVID-19 – Help Capture Your Story

Our friends at Douglas County Historical Society are the creators of this project, but we want to capture Pope County stories as well.
History is being made daily, and we are here to capture the local stories, even if we are temporarily closed.

Everyone’s experience matters.

Your history matters. Help us record your history. 

With events being as momentous as they are in Minnesota, we’d like to offer a tool in the form of a Self-History Interview to help us begin recording the daily lived experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Right now we have no way of knowing how significant of an event this may be, but we want to ensure we leave behind plenty of written records of the actual Pope County experience for future scholars and historians.

Click the link below for a digital copy of our COVID-19 Self-History Interview, or keep scrolling to see the guided questions to get you started so you can record your own history in this moment.
You don’t have to answer each questions – or even stick to the questions. Just start writing or typing your story. You will be glad you did.


Please consider donating a copy of your responses (if local to Pope County, MN) to the Pope County Historical Society, MN. If not local to Pope County, MN, please feel free to use this form and send it on to your local historical archive should they want it.

You can mail a copy of your interview to:
Pope County Historical Society
809 South Lakeshore Drive
Glenwood, MN 56334

Or email a copy of your self-history interview to


Self-History Interview Worksheet in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic 2020
(Please feel encouraged to repeat the self-history interview throughout the event. Be as specific and thorough about documenting your thoughts as possible. There are no right or wrong answers. Tangents are okay. Attaching more paper is okay.)

Whose experience is being recorded?
Who is doing the recording?
When/Where is this experience being recorded?

How have I adapted my life so far? Have I had to change my daily routine? How so?

What does my daily life usually look like? What does it look like right now?

What do I think about the current situation? Broadly? Specifically?

What am I afraid of? Broadly? Specifically?

How am I handling the situation? Am I working on certain projects? How am I passing my time? Am I helping others?

Am I staying isolated for my safety or the safety of those close to me?

How do I feel about official responses?

Does this pandemic remind me of anything else?

What is my plan moving forward?

What are my hopes for the future?


The legal release below is incredibly important should this self-history interview ever be used in a future study, archive, book, exhibit, documentary, etc. whether 50 years from now or 150 years.

I, ________________________, do hereby irrevocably release, assign, give and convey to The Pope County Historical Society, any and all right, title, and interest, including any copyright or intellectual property interest, in the self-history interviews attached. I understand that the Interviews will be deposited in the Pope County Historical Society for the use of future scholars and may be used for any lawful purpose in all forms and media including but not limited to public presentations, audio or video documentaries, CD-ROMs, internet publications, slide-tape presentations, exhibits, and advertising and related promotion through the world in perpetuity. I expressly authorize disclosure of the Interviews to meet these purposes to the extent that the Interviews would be considered an education record under federal law.

Date: ________________

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Museum closed – but you can visit on-line

Due to the unfolding Pandemic, the Pope County Museum will be closed at least until March 31.

Staff will check in and respond to e-mails and phone calls, but the museum will not be open to the public.

HOWEVER – We have almost every object and many of the photographs in the museum available on-line. Visit to see our collection and items from museums around the state. There are over 100,000 records available!


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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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