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Museum Day

JEANINE EHNERT WEAVES a rug (left) on an antique loom during a demonstration at the Becker County Museum Sunday. The loom came from near Rochert and was last used in the 1930s for making blankets, she said1 / 6
Megan and Den Bolda of Fargo talk with fellow reenactor Dan Sauerwein of Grand Forks inside the Becker County Museum's log cabin home display during Sunday's International Museum Day.2 / 6
SETH WALKER, DAN SAUERWEIN and Den Bolda "stack arms," or create a tripod with their traditional muskets, during a demonstration at the Becker County Museum Sunday afternoon.3 / 6
IRENE SLOAN paints a telemark pattern on a wooden plate during Sunday's International Museum Day at the Becker County Historical Society and Museum. Sloan has been doing the traditional Norwegian painting, called rosemaling, for many years and has decorated everything from plates to bed pans to windmills.4 / 6
Ron Lizakowski of Rochert and Sherry and Jody Marquardt of Vergas sing a tune during Sunday's International Museum Day at the Becker County Museum. The three are the singing end of the 3rd Minnesota Light Artillary Unit, a Civil War reenactment group. "If we don't kill 'em, we'll sing 'em to death," Sherry said.5 / 6
GERALD SCHUMACHER of Detroit Lakes works the forge to heat a piece of metal during a demonstration at the Becker County Museum Sunday afternoon.6 / 6

From newborns to a 102-year-old, people of all ages came to see what makes Becker County's history so rich. On Sunday, the Becker County Historical Society and Museum hosted its first International Museum Day, and Executive Director Amy Degerstrom said she plans to hold the event every year.

About 225 people came to see demonstrations, displays and a Civil War reenactment Sunday.

"It was a really good turnout. It was great. The weather was great. We couldn't have asked for anything better," Degerstrom said.

Presenters included Dee Bowman with her dulcimer; Gerald Schumacher, Civil War and fur trade artifacts and blacksmithing; Luverne and Jeanine Ehnert, metal work and weaving; Morris Peterson, Norwegian embroidery Hardanger; Wally Rodewald, horse and buggy rides; Irene Sloan, Norwegian folk painting rosemaling; Leonard Sunram, taxidermy; Kay Bachmann, fur trade; Carrie Johnston, Timber: Dead and Down movie project; Dawn Norton, birchbark baskets, and the FM Area Civil War Reenactors doing military drills and camp displays.

"I just asked everyone who works here, and everyone I knew on the board and the Heart O'Lakes membership if they knew anyone who did historic crafts or who did reenactments," she said of finding those who participated this year.

With plans to host the event annually, Degerstrom hopes to grow the event each year.

"Our mission is to preserve and communicate the history of Becker County, and I think one of the best ways of doing that is actually show people how these historic things were made and what went into the process of growing our communities.

"I think the most tactile way is for them to see people doing those things. It's important that we promote that kind of living history because it's something that's becoming a lost art."

She said it's important to promote the people who still maintain those skills, and that's one of the reasons she wanted to host this sort of event in the first place.

"It makes it come out of the case," she added of actually seeing the demonstrations. "It makes it stop being a static thing and come to life. I think that helps people get excited about history, that it's not just some boring thing in a book."

Degerstrom said she'd like to thank the demonstrators -- especially since they volunteered their time -- and the museum staff, who worked hard to get the event ready.