Weather Forecast


Local history comes to life

Irv Sather poses inside the History Shed, which will be open for tours during the annual Heritage Family Festival this Sunday. The building allows the New Richmond Heritage Center to display more of its collection for people to see.

More historical exhibits are now on display at the New Richmond Heritage Center, thanks to a new building on the center's site.

The new "History Shed" opened in August, giving the local historical organization extra space to put pieces of their collection on display. This weekend marks the first time the History Shed will be put on display for everyone to see.

"We've always had an open collection," said Mary Sather, curator of the Heritage Center. "About 80 percent of our collection has been on display."

Over the years, Sather said, history experts often expressed their surprise at such a practice, with many museums and historical sites storing their collections away from the eyes of the public.

Now the trend is for museums and historical societies to put their collections out where people can enjoy them. Sather said it's nice to know the Heritage Center is ahead of everyone else in that trend.

"Why bother collecting things if nobody ever sees it?" Sather asked. "We try to get as much stuff out as possible."

That was getting more difficult three years ago, as the Heritage Center's collections continued to grow. Sather said she suggested to her husband, Irv, that the non-profit organization might need extra space for storage.

What resulted was plans for a new display building. The construction project began in 2009, and the finishing touches on the interior displays were finished this summer. Connie Balow, a past Heritage Center Board of Directors member, designed the building.

Irv Sather was the project manager. Some of the contractors involved were Milton (Bump) Peterson and his crew who built the shed; Mike Albert, wiring; and Craig Jameson (Carpet Center) did work and donated some materials; Allan Soderquist, painting; Pearl Christensen, wallpapering; Jim Guerkink, finishing carpentry work; and Bob Swanda, iron work. Volunteers who donated much time were Jim Gretz and Denny Johnson.

Volunteers Pieter and Kimb Denny are given much of the credit for creating wonderful displays inside the History Shed, Sather said. Pieter used to create window displays for Herberger's clothing stores, so his knowledge of putting together a realistic scene came in handy.

"I gave Pieter a pile of junk and look what he did with it," Sather said, while looking at the new sporting equipment display. "He did a magnificent job."

Other impressive displays in the shed include a re-creation of Doc Arnquist's Daylight Store's balcony, complete with period office equipment; a Strand Ski Factory display; an antique telephone switchboard display (donated by Wayne and Joan Tibbs); a vintage toys display; a kitchen exhibit; a living room exhibit; a transportation display (complete with bricks salvaged from New Richmond's original main street); and a medical office display (including a wall of old medical equipment mounted on a wall labeled "You don't even want to know...") Much of the medical equipment was donated by the Drury family, who provided medical care in the region for decades.

"We're very happy with the History Shed," Irv said. "Now people can see more of the things that have never been displayed before."

Heritage Weekend kicks off on Friday with a spaghetti supper from 4:30-7 p.m.

Saturday morning features the fall five-mile and 5K Run/Walk. New this year is a free Vitality Walk, which will serve as the launch for New Richmond's newly organized "Vitality Initiative." (See related story on the front page.)

Sunday features the Heritage Family Festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The day includes pony and stage coach rides, food tent, kids games, craft demonstrations, civil war re-enactors with guns and cannon, craft sale, genealogy, free touring of historic buildings, flea market and much more.

Call 715-246-3276 for more information.