Passion, Adventure, Intrigue. The Mysteries of Life Await You at…

…your local historical society? History is the story of life. It is full of action and adventure, murder and mayhem, social unrest and political upheaval. Surprising as it may seem, historical societies are hotbeds of anarchy and revolution as well as purveyors of facts and figures. Seeped in the mysteries of the past, they hold keys to a treasure trove of exciting information. Historical societies, in their role as caretakers of life’s stories, seek to make available a wide variety of material for a growing history-loving public.

The Morrison County Historical Society (MCHS) is one such hotbed of fun. Housed in The Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum, the Society functions as a museum and research facility dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of Morrison County. The continually growing collections at MCHS provide valuable information for researchers. Some of the most frequently used sources of historical information at the museum are Family Files (information gathered by surname), newspapers, city and county directories, probate records, plat maps, cemetery records and Works Progress Administration histories. An extensive photograph collection and a variety of taped oral interviews covering a wide range of topics are also available. A wealth of information is arranged in specific collections. Some of the more recently used collections include the Hennepin Paper Mill Collection, the Lindbergh Collection, the Anna Coen Music Collection, Musser and Weyerhaeuser Family photographs, and Murders.

Like other historical societies, MCHS serves a diverse public. Over the past two years, the museum has helped over 2,000 individual researchers or research groups from all over the nation and the world. Researchers from forty-four states and eight different countries outside of the United States have made use of the museum’s collections. Well over half of the researchers were from areas across the state of Minnesota. Researchers who are unable to visit the site have made use of the museum’s off-site research service. Information on the service, as well as a more extensive list of the resources that are available, can be accessed by visiting the museum’s website (you’re here now) or by contacting the museum (302/632-4007).

The vast majority of researchers at MCHS are genealogists delving into family history. Pursuing clues to their past with a tenacity and voraciousness worthy of a police detective on a murder case, many should really be classified as amateur professionals. Career professionals have made use of the museum’s collections for a variety of reasons, including upcoming publications and historic survey reports. An increasing number of researchers are students working on various school projects. The students, including grade school through graduate school level, have worked on both individual and group projects. Topics researched at the museum have ranged anywhere from the development of the granite industry in Morrison County to basket-making in central Minnesota to the history of baseball during the 1940s and 1950s. Mary and I have both found that there is nothing like a good researcher to really pick your brain and challenge your knowledge of the wealth and diversity of material available in the collections.

As most researchers can attest, history is anything but boring and dull. If you want a true adventure, one that will delight your senses and stir your soul, accept the challenge of a stimulating research project and visit your local historical society. There you can delve deep and probe with pleasure into the mysteries of the past.

Excitement and adventure await you at your local historical society. Come and Enjoy the Fun!

by Ann Marie Johnson
Copyright 2003, Morrison County Historical Society

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