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Back to the 'good old days'

this state fair exhibit shows the type of traveling displays that will be coming to Detroit Lakes next year, to be enhanced with local artifacts.1 / 2
working at the ammunition factory; Women had a major impact on the home front in World War II.2 / 2

The Becker County Historical Society and Museum has been busy hosting exhibits and luncheons the last few months, and the coming year will be no different.

With the popularity of the Brown Bag Lunch Series during the Why Treaties Matter traveling exhibit, the museum has decided to continue the series.

And through funds from the Legacy Grant, and multiple-page applications, the Becker County Historical Society and Museum has been approved for at least four traveling exhibits spread out over the next year.

Brown Bag Lunches

During the weeks that the traveling Why Treaties Matter series was in Detroit Lakes, the museum hosted a Brown Bag Lunch Series each Wednesday at The Depot. Through a grant from the Minnesota Humanities Center, the first 10 lunches were given out, and speakers came to present a topic that correlated with the treaties exhibit.

"It was an informal opportunity to learn about a topic," Museum Director Amy Degerstrom said.

Once the series was finished though, "at the last one, many people had come to all the lunches and wondered when the next one was," she said.

So, Degerstrom decided to continue the Brown Bag Lunch Series, now located in the museum the second Wednesday of each month at noon. Earlier this month, Roger Engstrom had the honors of having attended the most lunches.

Next month, Dec. 14, focuses on holiday traditions and "to learn about the history behind some of the most common traditions," Degerstrom said.

The public is invited to either bring a lunch or call ahead by 10 a.m. the day of the luncheon and reserve a boxed lunch for $5, payable at the event.

"Who doesn't like to eat and visit? We all do; we're from Minnesota," Degerstrom said with a laugh.

At the December lunch, those who attend will also get to enjoy Christmas goodies and have the opportunity to win a Christmas gift.

Each month the Brown Bag Lunch Series will correspond with holidays or events that month. If there are any suggestions on topics the public would like to see, Degerstrom said to contact the museum with suggestions.

Traveling exhibits

The traveling exhibits Minnesota Homefront, Minnesota on the Map, Electrifying Minnesota and Minnesota Disasters will be making their way through the Becker County Museum throughout the next year.

Supported by Legacy Funds, the traveling exhibits -- which the museum can host now that it has remodeled a portion of the museum to house events such as this - are specifically created for "small and mid-sized museums, with the goal of coming to rural parts of the state," Degerstrom said.

The exhibits are created with a small amount of materials coming to the museum, but they also involve more interactive pieces for kids. For instance, during the Minnesota on the Map exhibit, there will be atlases and maps to page through and an oversized puzzle to put together. During the Electrifying Minnesota exhibit, there will be a literally hair-raising static electricity demonstration.

"There will be more hands-on experiences with them. It's meant to be engaging for kids, adults, people of all ages," Degerstrom said.

"It's an opportunity for materials we wouldn't have otherwise," she added of not only the exhibit coming from the state historical society, but also being able to feature some of the local materials the Becker County Historical Society maybe wouldn't normally.

"We can feature parts of our collection we may not otherwise."

The themes for each of the exhibits are fairly broad, with the intention of the hosting museums to create supplemental displays to localize the theme.

The Minnesota Historical Society describes the Minnesota Homefront, World War II exhibit as " nine panels, audio interviews, songs of the period and a 'Letters Stories' bin (that) shares the experiences of 46 Minnesotans and the state's role in the most widespread war in history."

Minnesota Homefront will be in Detroit Lakes March 24-May 13. Minnesota on the Map will be in Detroit Lakes Aug. 11-Sept. 30. It's described as featuring "a dozen maps from MHS collections, from Louis Hennepin's 1683 map of the upper Mississippi River Valley to a satellite map of Minnesota produced by NASA."

Electrifying Minnesota will be at the Becker County Historical Society Dec. 15, 2012-Feb. 24, 2013. MHS describes it as "discover how electricity has transformed the lives of Minnesotans since 1882, learn what makes the generation of electricity possible and imagine how we will generate electricity in the 21st century."

And finally, Minnesota Disasters will be on display April 20-June 9, 2013. It is described as "from preparation and reaction to aftermath, explore Minnesotans' experiences with some of the natural and man-made disasters throughout our state's history."

There are other traveling exhibits than could possibly come through the Becker County Museum as well.

Preparing for the holiday season, the museum will be decorated after Thanksgiving. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday.