Getting ready for a new exhibit

We were busy beavers on Tuesday morning, moving artifacts to make room for a traveling exhibit. (More on that in the next post.)

Phyllis and I took down the pioneer portraits and tucked them away in the Art Storage Room.


The painting by Reverend Skaar and his art students has found a new home deeper in the museum.


The Chevy also migrated.

And the Lowry Fire Engine and fire fighting gear gets to he highlighted for Fire Prevention Month.

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Cemetery workshop

Northern Bedrock was able to offer a half day cemetery workshop and demonstration at the Glenwood Cemetery.


We started with the leaning, wobbly and lichen covered stone belonging to Henry Buesing. They demonstrated lifting it apart section by section, and cleaning between the stones. The base was leveled by adding sand and gravel underneath. Then, using an epoxy in the center to adhere the stones together and a putty around the edges to keep dirt out, the stones were re-stacked.

All the lichen was removed using first water and a plastic brush and plastic scraper. D-2 was applied to kill the toughest lichen and prevent future growth. The stone was scrubbed and rinsed again.

Then it was our turn to clean stones. I got to clean Carson Clark Henry’s stone. What a difference a little water and plastic scrub brushes can make!

We hope to bring back Northern Bedrock in the future to do a full workshop for area cemetery caretakers and other volunteers.

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Northern Bedrock

mvimg_20190725_121331We are happy to welcome back Northern Bedrock Preservation Corps to Pope County. These young adults are learning how to preserve historic buildings and cemeteries.

While they are here, they will be working on the Holland Cabin and finishing some of the projects in the log cabins.

They will also hold a cemetery workshop on Monday morning, so if you know anyone who would like to learn how to clean headstones or see how to re-set a headstone, please contact the museum. This is a free workshop, but space is limited, so contact us as soon as possible for more information.

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Veteran Wall Update

Brent has been working hard on our Veteran’s Wall.


He has added hundreds of new images brought in by families or discovered in files. He has also re-printed faded images or found better pictures of some of the veterans.


The exhibit will be open soon!

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Signalness Fern


Anyone who has visited the Pope County Museum and spent anytime in the “Pioneer Room” at a meeting or looking through files has undoubtedly noticed the large ferns.

We have 2 pots containing HUGE Boston Ferns. They both pieces of the “Alma Signalness Fern.”

Alma Signalness was born January 1, 1891 and died December 28, 1913. The young woman had just proved up a homestead claim and was engaged to be married.

2009.3426In 1919, Alma’s parents gave her fern to the Pope County Courthouse in her memory. In 1968, the fern moved to the new Pope County Museum were it has resided ever since.

It has been divided and re-potted several times over the years.

We have been talking about dividing and re-potting one of the ferns for a few years, but hadn’t made it a priority. Until this week.

On Wednesday, I bumped the plant stand and the fern tumbled to the floor, shattering the pot.  OOPS!


I got the fern into a tub an picked up the pieces of the pot.

I had always believed that the fern was an accessioned artifact, so I was especially mortified to have damaged part of our museum collection. It turns out it is not an official artifact, and it really did need re-potting any way.

A note in the Fern File (yes, we really do have files on everything) said that the fern was last re-potted in 1998 by Glenwood Floral. So it was definitely due.

Merlin brought in new pots and divided the fern into several pieces. We will keep one for the museum, and probably make the other pieces available at our December silent auction. Wouldn’t you like to own part of a 100+ year old fern with such an interesting story?

Here is a photo of the fern from 1914, just after Alma passed away. It was clearly important to her and her family.



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Flag Day

Happy Flag Day, June 14, 2019!


38-Star Flag donated by Wencil Kalina


In honor of Flag Day we are featuring a 38-star flag from the Pope County Museum collection. The flag was donated 


to the museum by Wencil Kalina of Lake Reno without a lot of detail. However, in the history of flags, the 38-star flag turns out to have a cool local story! Read on: 

From the Glenwood Herald, Thursday, June 19, 1919

Local School Has First Flag. Glenwood School Board Buys Flag For School September 3, 1889, First in State. An article about the flag in the schools of Minnesota appeared in the last Sunday’s issue of the Minneapolis Tribune, were Glenwood is mentioned as the place where the public school board first procured a flag for its school house in Minnesota. The article mentions Mr. Luth Jaeger as the man who first began the agitation for flags and flag staffs for every public school in Minnesota. Mr. Jaeger began the publication of a weekly newspaper called “The North” which was to circulate, as the Tribune says, “largely among the readers of Scandinavian blood with a view to interpreting American ideals to them.” Mr. Jaeger began an agitation in this newspaper for a flag for every school. He wrote some very strong editorials advocating this move, but as far as Minneapolis was concerned it produced no results. But Glenwood was awake and became the first village in Minnesota to follow the advice. We quote the following from the Tribune:  “The editorial produced no immediate result in Minneapolis. The Board of Education of the time sat tight. However, communities around the state were interested. Glenwood and Anoka led off with fair promptness in supplying their schools with flags. The Glenwood school board voted on September 3, 1889, to buy a flag for the high school.”   It would have been interesting to know who the members of the Glenwood school board were at the time, but we have been unable to get their names.

Pope County Museum research reveals the following school board members for the 1889-1890 school year: J. Crozier, chairman; Tory Thorson, Treasurer; M.A. Wollan, Clerk; J.E. Gillman, Supt.

It was M.A. Wollan who brought attention to the action of the Glenwood School Board with an editorial to Luth Jaeger of The North:

To the Editor of The Journal. In your issue of yesterday you mention Anoka as being the first city in Minnesota to adopt the suggestion to display the star and stripes on its school building. This may be true, and it may not. At a meeting of the board of education of this city, held Sept. 3,1889, a resolution was adopted ordering the purchase of a flag for the high school building, and a few days later the stars and stripes were seen floating in the breeze over the school building. Unless the board of education of Anoka can show that it did at an earlier date order up the flag, this city will claim the honor of being the first.

M. A. WOLLAN, Glenwood, Oct. 29, 1889

The United States flag added the 38th star with the entrance of Colorado to the union on August 1, 1876. This flag remained the official flag until 1890 when the 43-star flag was adopted. Four states joined the union in November 1889: North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Washington. Statehood was pending in Idaho by the end of 1889 so a 42-star flag was not produced. Instead, the 43-star flag was officially adopted with the entrance of Idaho to the union on July 3, 1890. This apparent “abundance of caution” may have stemmed from production of a 39-star flag in 1889 anticipating statehood of South Dakota, but when five states joined the union in close succession, the 39-star flag was not officially adopted.  Happy Flag Day, and congratulations to Glenwood (and Anoka) for leading the state in displaying the flag at our public schools!IMG_4961

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Feedback Needed

We are undergoing an interpretive plan. What does that mean?
It means we are looking at who comes to the museum and who doesn’t – and why.
It means we are looking ahead to future exhibits and programming.

We would love to hear from you. What do you want to see? What keep you coming to the museum – or keeps you from coming?

Please take 2-3 minutes to fill out this survey and help shape our plan for the future.

Thank you!

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