Lake County Historical Museum reviews successes
BALDWIN — With 2018 wrapping up, the Lake County Historical Museum had its last day for the season on Saturday, Dec. 22.
Lake County Historical Society members agree 2018 has been a good year for the museum, with more than 3,100 visitors coming to visualize and learn about Lake County history. School groups of more than 100 students and pre-arranged group tours also have kept docents busy.
“This has been a really good year,” said Lake County Historical Society President Bruce Micinski. “We’ve got feedback from visitors that we have been thoughtful, courteous and knowledgeable.”
Lake County Historical Museum Curator Jill Engelman said none of the successes would be possible without help of volunteers.
“I am amazed at the number of visitors to the museum and attendees at society events this season — over 3,100. I attribute much of our success to the great docents we have. They are friendly, knowledgeable and share their enthusiasm with visitors, making for fun and interesting tours. Many folks have remarked they found the museum to be unique and it exceeded their expectations,” Engelman said.
Micinski said one highlight was when Engelman gave a person a 10-minute tour, and in turn, the impressed individual later gave a $5,000 donation.
In addition to monetary support given by individuals and organizations throughout the year, Micinski said people have been generous with donating historical artifacts, including eight ledgers from the village of Baldwin dating back to 1899.
A milestone 30 years in the making was reached in 2018. When the Lake County Historical Society was formed more than 30 years ago, the original goal was to create a museum and a research library and to have program space, which now has become a reality. The society opened the second U.S. Forest Service house this past April as the community house, including ample space for programs.
The museum is now complete, with two old U.S. Forest Houses refurbished into a museum and a community room, joined together by a boat house and welcoming room with washrooms included. The easy access to museum exhibits and washrooms have increased attendance and spurned interest in the county’s history, Engelman added. A community garden surrounds the complex with flowers shared by community members.
Rooms also are rented to the public for private events, providing additional revenue for the operational budget.
Exhibits from 2018 included hotels of Lake County, Civilian Conservation Corps, Marlborough and the Great Northern Portland Cement Company, a 1903 children’s nursery, logging, Idlewild history, Lake County Courthouse history, fishing, lake tourism and the boat collection.
There also was a three-room exhibit to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Exhibits also included WWII and the women’s war effort, with stories of more than 15 soldiers.
Monthly topics for programs included the history of Big Star Lake, Shrine of the Pines, the Baldwin Congregational Church, Andy Horujko, two family portraits and a concert featuring songs of the Civil Rights movement. Engelman said attendance to the programs has doubled from last year.
“I invite everyone to stop in this spring when we reopen for the 2019 season,” Engelman said. “New exhibits including Kurt Kahl’s photo shop, youth camps of Lake County and 100 years of weddings will be debuted along with reworked fishing exhibits in the Boat House. Watch for more details of our reopening in April.”