Archaeology Presentation

We had a great turnout for the presentation by Archaeo-Physics LLC on Saturday. Approximately 90 people packed into the gallery to hear Kent Bakken give a history of archaeology in Pope County.

Brent is editing a video of the presentation that will be available soon.

Archaeo-Physics will make their report available on our website this summer once they finish their survey of Pope County sites.

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Archaeology presentation Oct 21 1:00 pm

Archaeology of Pope County Presentation and Artifact Identification Workshop Oct 21

On Saturday, October 21 at 1 pm at the Pope County Museum, archaeologists working on the Pope County Archaeological Survey will talk about their current survey project, present preliminary results, and outline future plans.

The Pope County Archaeological Survey is part of an ongoing effort by the Office of the State Archaeologist and the Minnesota Historical Society to improve our understanding of the long-term history of the state.  Results will inform our understanding of Pope County’s past, guide land management decisions, and help prevent impacts to places of human burial.


Archaeologists from Archaeo-Physics LLC, including Dave Maki, Sigrid Arnott, and Kent Bakken will discuss the different methods they use, from field walking to ground penetrating radar, and about how artifacts are “de-coded” to help paint a picture of life in Pope County over the last 13,000 years.  The archaeologists will also discuss previous archaeological work in the county beginning in the 1880s, the kinds of archaeological sites that have been found across the county, and what these sites can tell us.

The talk will be followed by an artifact identification workshop.  Residents are invited to bring artifacts they have found, and project archaeologists will provide information on the age, function and historical contexts of the objects.

About the Pope Count Archaeological Survey

Beginning this fall, a team of archaeologists from Archaeo-Physics LLC  has been conducting a survey of Pope County archaeological sites.  The team has been working around the county, locating new archaeological sites to add to small number of known sites.  At the start of the survey, there were only 35 recorded sites in the entire county, plus unverified reports of about 20 more sites.  These sites range in age from a few hundred to a few thousand years old.  In comparison, other counties in Minnesota have hundreds of recorded sites, some as old as 13,000 years.

Much of the work involves walking through plowed fields looking for artifacts on the surface.  Exposed artifacts mark the locations of ancient villages, camps, and related sites that could range in age from a couple of hundred to over 10,000 years in age.  In areas that are not cultivated, small test excavations are dug and the soil screened to look for artifacts.  Lakeshores and river banks will also be surveyed from canoe, or by walking below the ordinary high water mark, since sites are often located along rivers and lakes.  At some sites, the archaeologists also plan to use ground penetrating radar, electrical resistivity survey, and related “remote sensing” technology to create subsurface maps.  Archaeologists will also revisit previously recorded sites to update records, since some of the original, and only, site reports go as far back as 1886.

This project has been coordinated with the Pope County Historical Society, where artifacts not retained by landowners will be kept for display and research.

More information on the project team can be found at and For more information on the presentation and artifact identification event scheduled for October 21 at 1 pm, please contact the Pope County Museum at 320-634-3293 or

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Church Service August 27

The public is invited to attend the annual church service at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on the grounds of the Pope County Museum Sunday, August 27 at 10:00 am. The congregation of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Alexandria will be using the historic prayer books and hymnals that were in use when St. Paul’s had an active congregation. This is an annual event for Emmanuel, and by holding the yearly service, the church remains consecrated.

We hope you can join us!

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Thank you, Gavin

002.JPGGavin Jensen just completed his summer internship with us. He will be returning to Hamline University this fall for his Junior year where he is studying Law and History.

We are honored that he chose to spend the summer interning here and we put him to good use.

His major project was to research and create an exhibit on the Villard and Glenwood Masonic Lodges and help us go through the extensive collection of artifacts recently donated by the Glenwood Lodge.


We are happy to announce that his exhibit is now on display at the Pope County Museum. (Information on other fraternal and service organizations will be added soon.)

Gavin also assisted with behind the scenes projects such as cleaning firearms in the collection, accessioning new donations, writing our weekly “Museum Notes” column, and doing a bit of heavy lifting as we re-arrange the new exhibit space in the museum.

Please stop in to the museum and see the new exhibit.


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Vintage loom

Since our floor loom is getting warped (re-strung) this week, I thought I would do a bit of research on it.


Donated by Jerrold Ness and Mrs. Francis Fielder, the loom was used by Mrs. P.M. Danielson of Cyrus, MN. It was hand made in the early 1880’s. There are no nails or screws in the original parts, but some repairs have been made over the years. It is held together by pegs and can be disassembled to take it through doorways.

Emily Westberg Danielson (Mrs. P.M) was born in Sweden in 1865 and came to America in 1881. She settled in Sauk Center, where she met at married Peter M. Danielson. They moved to Cyrus in 1884 where Peter opened a blacksmith shop. They had 12 children. She passed away in 1935. The loom was donated to the Pope County Museum by her grandchildren, Jerrold Ness and Mrs. Francis Fielder.

The loom is a machine for weaving cloth, or in this case, rugs.
String – or “Warp” is wound around the warp beam at the back of the loom. Then it is threaded through the “Heddles” – the parallel guides at the center of the loom. The heddles are alternately raised an lowered by the foot treadles. Pressing one treadle raises alternate warp threads, while lowering the other threads. The other treadle does the opposite. When the warp threads are thus separated, the weaver can pass a shuttle between them. The shuttle carries the weft material that is woven into the warp threads. The reeds in the front of the loom keep the warp evenly spaced.



Image from Wikipedia.


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We rely on our volunteers here at the museum. Some people spend a little time with us each week, others help out on specific projects. I thought I’d highlight what we have going on this morning:

Phyllis, our collection volunteer and tour guide, is conducting an inventory of items in the drawers of the new storage system. We need to update our database with the new locations of each item in the collection. 004.JPG

Gavin, our summer intern, is writing our weekly newspaper column with highlights on what happened 100 years ago in Pope County. This afternoon he will continue working on an exhibit featuring the Masons and Eastern Star.006.JPG

Mary, our board member and genealogy expert, is answering family history questions for researchers. She is an Ancestry ninja and can often solve family history mysteries.007.JPG

And we have a special guest volunteer today. Lisa is here “warping the loom” so we can use it for demonstrations again. I am thrilled that she has taken the time to visit us and help us get our vintage rug loom in working order once again.003.JPG

These are just a few of the wonderful people who donate their time and talents to the Pope County Museum.



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School House Roof

The north side of the school house is nearly complete. It looks great and smells so good. We have enjoyed the sharp scent of cedar all week!



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