We always enjoy visits to our CMLE members, and this visit was extra interesting! One of our members that is not a typical library is the Stearns History Museum. The Museum has an extensive archive and we were lucky enough to be shown around by archivist Jessie Storlien.
As you can see from these photos, she showed us a ton of cool information, and as a Stearns County native myself, I really appreciated seeing all the history available about this area. And it’s all available to the public, although if you have any questions or need to see the archives, the experts like Jessie are available to assist you. Other archivists at the Museum include Steve Penick, John Decker, and Heidi Heller.
As you can see from the photos above, there are all sorts of different resources available to the public. You can find your family history (if you are from this area you will see some familiar names!), scroll through microfilm, or check out an exhibition about the first people to ever live in Stearns County. Do you live on a family farm? Check out your eligibility for the Century Farms program! And one of St. Cloud’s early newspapers, Der Nordstern, is in German so you may want to keep your Google Translate handy!
It was exciting to see the archives where additional resources are kept, including photographs, oral histories, the Myron Hall collection, and even more maps! It was easy to see that there was a lot of work being done to make sure historical documents are preserved in a way that will allow them to be accessed in the future. We got to learn about some of the challenges that face archivists, like rapidly changing technology and processing donated materials.
On our way out, we stopped to visit the room for kids, which had some historical photos of children from Stearns County! We got to admire some beautiful quilts made by artists from the area, and of course enjoyed the grounds outside the museum.
If you have any interest in local or family history, I’d definitely recommend taking advantage of the Stearns History Museum! Keep in mind that the museum is open Monday – Friday 10 AM – 5 PM, and Saturdays too, from 10AM – 4 PM!
A huge thank you to Jessie for a fantastic tour and for sharing all of her knowledge!