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A glimpse at the future...of Becker County's history: Ice harvest exhibit at Pavilion this weekend will offer sneak peak at plans for new museum

Since this Monday, Jan. 8, the staff of the Becker County Museum has been spending most of its time at the Detroit Lakes Pavilion, preparing the "History of Ice Harvesting" exhibits and interactive displays that will be open to the public during DL's first official ice harvest since 1970, which gets underway this Thursday, Jan. 11 at 11 a.m.

"This is the kind of exhibit we hope to offer more of in the future," says Becky Mitchell, the museum's executive director. "It looks at not only the history of ice harvesting in Becker County, but the science behind it."

There will also be plenty of activities for kids — a nod to the museum's vision of incorporating more science-based, kid-friendly activities and displays into its plans for a new facility.

"We'll be re-launching our capital campaign for a new building next month," says Mitchell. "This ice harvesting exhibit is a prime example of our vision for that new building — blending our county's past with the science behind those historic events and hands-on activities for the public."

The ice harvesting exhibit at the Pavilion will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day this Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 11-13.

"During those three days we'll be hosting tours for over 1,000 students from not only Detroit Lakes, but also Frazee-Vergas and Lake Park-Audubon," Mitchell said.

On Friday, after the harvesting of the ice is complete and the building of the ice palace has begun, the Pavilion will remain open until 6:30 p.m., as not only a "post-harvest celebration," but also for the general public to get a glimpse of the museum's future.

"We'll also have the most recent plans for our proposed $6 million building project on display," Mitchell added, noting that at this time, the museum's board of directors is working with the board of the community center on a plan to attach the new museum to the existing Holmes Theatre, which is located across the parking lot, kitty-corner to the present museum building.

Mitchell said the final details for the building project are currently being hammered out by the museum's board of directors, which is hoping to re-launch the capital campaign for that project sometime next month.

The museum is also in talks with both the City of Detroit Lakes and Becker County about funding for the project: On Tuesday, the city's Finance Committee and City Council both eyed a preliminary proposal from City Administrator Kelcey Klemm for the city to provide $200,000 toward the project, as a combination of cash and in-kind contributions.

The proposal also included funding for two other local projects: Improvements to the Detroit Country Club and the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes. Final recommendations for the city's contribution toward all three projects are expected to be made sometime in the next couple of months.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 17 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454