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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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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