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Director of Perham museums to retire

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Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

The executive director of the Friends of the History Museum of East Otter Tail County, Inc., Lina Belar, has announced plans to retire.

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The Friends of the History Museum is a non-profit organization that administers two museums in Perham. Belar has been with the organization since its inception in 1998 and has created two world class museums in this small town in west central Minnesota.

The first, the History Museum of East Otter Tail County, features high quality exhibits about the people, place and events of the area. Called the 'poster child of small museums' by staff at the Minnesota Historical Society it rapidly achieved recognition well beyond its physical borders by becoming one of the first small museums to make historical records available on-line. Today, it is a busy and well respected model for others to follow.

The second museum, the ITOW Veterans Museum, was inspired by the desire of area veterans to see that their stories were not forgotten Belar took that vision and made it a reality by creating the first museum to be based entirely on the oral histories of veterans.

Since opening in 2006, the ITOW Veterans Museum has caught the attention of state and national leaders for the quality of its exhibits. John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism, called it 'a one of a kind experience'.

The Board of Directors has begun the search for new director and expects to have new staff in place by spring at the latest. Belar indicated that retirement will not lessen her support for the museums and expects to continue as a volunteer in some capacity.

She is particularly excited about having more time to pursue her other passions of music and writing. A book about the ITOW Veterans Museum is expected to be completed sometime next year.

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