MCHS History

The Morrison County Historical Society was founded on July 28, 1936. It’s mission is to preserve and share the history of Morrison County, Minnesota.

Organizers of the historical society were Valentine Kasparek, Mrs. Harry Stillwell, Mrs. A. E. Amudnsen, Mrs. Warren Gibson, Mrs. R. L. Cochrane, Mrs. Julius Jetka, Frank Logan, Mr. Warren Gibson, Mr. Harry Stillwell, and Mrs. J. K. Martin.

The first board officers was composed of Valentine Kasparek, President; Mrs. Harry Stillwell, Vice President; Mrs. A. E. Amundson, Secretary; and Mrs. Warren Gibson, Treasurer. Members of the Board of Trustees were Frank Logan, Royalton; and Mrs. Julius Jetka, Mrs. J. K. Martin, Mrs. Warren Gibson, and Mrs. R. L. Cochrane, all of Little Falls.

The historical society began  as an outgrowth of an oral history project  carried out under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.). This project created a foundation of biographies that led to the society’s Family Files.

The first home of MCHS was in the basement of the Historic Courthouse in Little Falls. Once MCHS had a space, organizers began collecting artifacts in earnest. These joined the W.P.A biographies already on file.

MCHS eventually outgrew its space at the Courthouse and sought to build a new museum. After investigating several possible sites and architects, an ideal location overlooking the Mississippi River was found and Foster Dunwiddie of Miller-Dunwiddie Architects, Inc. was chosen for his vision in creating a building that was as much an artifact as the objects inside.

The Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum became the new home of MCHS in 1975, with the official dedication occurring on August 24, 1975. The museum was named for lumberman Charles A. Weyerhaeuser, who had managed the operations of Pine Tree Lumber Company in Little Falls. Funding for the construction of the museum was provided by Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Sivertsen and Carl Weyerhaeuser. Being the children of Charles, Mrs. Sivertsen and Carl Weyerhaeuser wanted to support the museum as a way to memorialize their father.

The historical society is run by a nine-member board of directors. The Executive Director is Jan Warner, who has been involved with the society since the 1960s. A paid staff of four takes care of the daily operations of the museum.

For more information on the history of MCHS, check the Museum Life section, particularly the article The Gift of a Museum.

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