April 29 bid opening set for new museum building: Wide range of summer camps, classes scheduled at museum this summer

Bids for the $6.4 million project to build a new Becker County Museum are scheduled to be opened April 29 at the county courthouse in Detroit Lakes. The 30,000-square-foot facility will be constructed directly adjacent to the existing Holmes Theatre, with which it will eventually share a lobby and gift shop.

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This is what the new lobby of Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre will look like when finished. The new main staircase will lead directly up to the theater entrance, and the balcony on the upper left will eventually be a walkway leading into the new Becker County Museum, which is scheduled to begin construction next month. The refurbished lobby will be unveiled on the same day as the groundbreaking for the new museum, the official date for which is still being finalized. (Illustration courtesy of YHR Partners)

The project to build a new Becker County Museum is entering the home stretch — but the local nonprofit organization still needs to raise about $500,000 in donations to complete the $6.4 million facility.

"Now really is the time, no matter what your budget may be," says Becky Mitchell, the museum's executive director. She added that the museum has received pledges ranging from $10 per month over the next five years, to a one-time, $50,000 donation — and every donation, no matter how small, will take them one step closer to closing that final fundraising gap.

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Construction of the new $6.4 million Becker County Museum is expected to begin next month in Detroit Lakes. The 30,000-square-foot facility will be built immediately adjacent to the Historic Holmes Theatre at 806 Summit Ave., with the two organizations to share a lobby and gift shop. The newly renovated lobby will make its debut on the same day as the groundbreaking, the official date for which is still being finalized. (Illustration courtesy of Becker County Museum)

A bid opening for the project is scheduled to take place Thursday, April 29, at the Becker County Courthouse in Detroit Lakes. Though the official date for the groundbreaking ceremony won't be finalized until after the bid opening, Mitchell said it will take place in "mid-May," with construction on the 30,000-square-foot facility to begin immediately thereafter. The building is expected to take about a year to complete, she added.


"We will also be debuting the new lobby (to be shared with the Historic Holmes Theatre) on the same day as the groundbreaking," Mitchell said, noting that general contractors T.F. Powers Construction, of Fargo, will be wrapping up that $332,000 renovation project within the next few weeks.

For now, however, the existing museum building at 714 Summit Ave. will continue to be a busy place, with classes and summer camps already scheduled through the end of the summer, and a new Detroit Lakes Sesquicentennial exhibit set to open May 27 . This exhibit will remain open through the end of the year.

"We will be having an alcohol inks class here on April 29," said Mitchell, adding that the class will be taught by Tammy Swift — whom Forum newspaper readers might recognize from her columns, some of which have also run on the pages of the Detroit Lakes Tribune.

More adult-oriented classes like this one will be added throughout the summer, Mitchell said. Youth-oriented summer camps, meanwhile, are set to begin in June and continue through Labor Day weekend in September.

"First up is a 'Build Your Own Computer' camp for grades 5 and up, to take place June 1-3," said Mitchell.

Other upcoming summer camps include Nature Camp, June 8-10; Becker County Heritage Camps, with two separate sessions scheduled for the week of June 29-July 2; Arts Camp, July 13-16; Coding Camp, Aug. 3-6; Robotics Camp, Aug. 9-11; Cut Glass Mosaic Art Camp, Aug. 10-13 (new this year); "Build Your Own Robot" Camp, Aug. 24-27 (also new); and a Robotics Camp/Tournament, Aug. 30-Sept. 2 (you must attend the robot-building camp in order to attend this one, as they are related).

"We will also be doing a couple of book releases this summer," Mitchell said, adding that the "Pioneer History of Becker County" book, written by Alvin H. Wilcox and released i 1907, is in the process of being updated, to be re-released in conjunction with a Detroit Lakes/Becker County Sesquicentennial book authored by Frazee native Pippi Mayfield.

The year 2021 marks the 150th (i.e., sesquicentennial) anniversary of both the founding of the city of Detroit Lakes and the organization of Becker County's government, she explained, which is why the museum decided to work on updating the Wilcox book as well as commissioning a new book in honor of this milestone.


For more information about upcoming classes and summer camps, book release dates, and more, call the museum at 218-847-2168; visit the website at , or check the museum's Facebook page for updates.

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