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October at the museum: Flashlight tours, pumpkin crafts, book signings and more set for Oct. 18-20

These are a few examples of the Pumpkin Crafts that will be available for kids to try during a special Kids' Crafts at the Museum event planned for this Thursday, Oct. 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. inside the Becker County Museum in Detroit Lakes. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
This shard of pottery was recovered from the site of the Cook Family Massacre in rural Audubon back in 1872. It was one of many unique Becker County Museum exhibits on display during last year's inaugural "Flashlight Tours & Frightful Tales" event at the museum. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)2 / 2

There will be no classes held at Detroit Lakes Public Schools this coming Wednesday, Oct. 17 through Friday, Oct. 19, due to the Minnesota Educator Academy (MEA) conference being held in the Twin Cities — an annual mid-fall occurrence that is referred to in school districts across Minnesota as "MEA break" or "MEA weekend."

Parents (and grandparents) who are wondering if there are some family-friendly activities for their kids to take part in during this break need look no further than the Becker County Museum, which is hosting three days of fun-filled events this Thursday through Saturday.

First up is Kids' Pumpkin Crafts at the Museum on Thursday, Oct. 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"We will have eight different crafts available to choose from," says Emily Buermann, the museum's programming director. "We will have sand art, trick-or-treat bags, terrariums, bracelets and more. Choose as many as you want, and we (the museum's staff) will help you get them done."

Best of all, Buermann noted, parents can come in with their kids, have fun making some cute pumpkin-themed knick-knacks and jewelry, then take their finished crafts home with them — leaving the museum's staff to clean up the mess afterwards, she added with a laugh.

"Museum admission is included when you purchase your craft kits at the gift shop, so you are welcome to stay and do our scavenger hunt or explore the exhibits," added museum director Becky Mitchell.

For the older kids in the family — basically, all those age 14 and up — the second annual "After Dark at the Museum" event is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 19. Back by popular demand, the Becker County Museum will be hosting an evening of "Flashlight Tours & Frightful Tales," starting at either 7 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. Members of the local paranormal investigation group, Midwest Paranormal Files, will once again be set up at various points around the museum for presentations on some of the darker stories from Becker County's history, including "murders, mysteries and mayhem," as Buermann put it.

"We have two tours available, but space is limited for both, so please call and reserve your tickets now," said Buermann, adding, "Because some of these stories are unedited, this tour is restricted to those age 14 and up, and all those under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult."

However, Mitchell noted, "This is not a haunted house. There won't be anyone hiding inside the museum to scare people."

And for those who took one of last year's flashlight tours, Buermann said, MPF members have come up with seven all-new stories, along with two "old favorites" from 2017.

Tickets for both tours are $10 per person.

Because they don't want the younger members of the family to feel left out, Mitchell said, the museum's staff is planning a "Family Friendly Flashlight Tour" for Saturday, Oct. 20 at 11 a.m.

"This one is suitable for all ages," Buermann added, noting that while the museum's lights will still be turned off, the stories told for this event will be "local legends and lore," such as the story of the Detroit Lake Monster.

"The monster was caught, so this tale has a happy ending," Buermann said, adding, "no one will be scared to swim in Detroit Lake after this one."

Tour space is limited for this event as well, so make sure to reserve your spot as soon as possible. Tickets are $5 per person. Because this tour will include some unedited stories that are not recommended for young children, this tour is restricted to kids age 14 and above, and all those under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Cost is $10 per person. Call the museum at 218-847-2938 to reserve your tickets, or stop in at 714 Summit Ave. during the museum's regular hours, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

And finally, an "Author Meet & Greet" event is also planned to take place Saturday in the museum's gift shop, starting at 11 a.m. Detroit Lakes native Lindsay VonRuden, who has co-authored a book titled "Adam Thielen: From Small Town to Football Star," will be signing copies of her book and answering questions about the book and about Thielen, who is her cousin. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the signing for $12.95 per person, and will be for sale in the gift shop after Saturday as well (though VonRuden will only be available to sign them until 1 p.m. that day).

"All kids must be accompanied by an adult for any of these activities," Mitchell said.

For more information, please contact the museum at 218-847-2938.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

(218) 844-1454
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