Annual Report

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Annual Report

Board Of Directors Mission: The Stearns History Museum connects people to the power of history and culture by collecting, preserving, and interpreting our historical and cultural resources.

Vision: The Stearns History Museum will be a place where citizens of Central Minnesota can honor their diverse history and recognize that the past is what built the present and is a road map to the future.

2017 Board of Directors

Current Staff Joanie Albers Richard Barchenger Eric Cheever John Decker Heidi Heller Gena Hiemenz Elsie Johnson Ann Meline Julianne O’Connell Nick O’Hara Steve Penick Rod Runge Jessica Storlien

Jon McGee, chairman Tom Mathews, vice chair Pat Webber, secretary Philip Terry, treasurer Annette Atkins John Bodette Barbara Carlson Dorraine Larison Elizabeth Reisinger George Rindelaub Bruce Skalbeck Dan Tideman


Jeff Mergen, District 3, Stearns County Commissioner Ann Meline

Garden campers learned the finer points of growing food just as families have done for 167 years in Stearns County. 2 • Stearns History Museum

Friends of The Stearns History Museum Like so much of Western language, the word “history” comes from the Greek term “historia” meaning learning or knowing by inquiry, or finding out. At its root, history is about discovery and story, and the teller of the story is at least as important as the event, episode, or object. History reflects who told the story and the choices they made in telling it. The Stearns History Museum is a wonderful place to discover a story: stories of people, families, communities, and events. We at the Museum are the keepers and tellers of stories of inspiration, reflection, and sometimes despair. Our Museum tells thousands of stories of our community and our lives. And for that reason, it is important not just as a repository of what was, but a as place of understanding of what could be. The Stearns History Museum displays many wonderful artifacts in its permanent collection, ranging from the locally famous (like the Pan car), to the personal (like the clothes included in the recent 1970s exhibit), to the fascinating and unusual (like the two-headed pig). Through its exhibits, programs, and Research Center, the Museum tells how we settled here, how we lived, and how we and our communities have changed over the last hundred-plus years. As our communities change, so too does the Museum. New residents to the county bring new stories and create new history. We welcome all who call Stearns County home to preserve their stories at the Museum. It is essential that we record those accounts and share them with future generations. They symbolize the rich fabric of this place we call home. Our collective narrative and experiences help us to understand who we have been, who we are, and who we are becoming. The Stearns History Museum is a remarkable resource. Its collection, programming, and a Research Center are unique among country museums in Minnesota. Our Museum is among the premier county museums not just in the state, but in the country, and one of the very few accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. We will continue to change and grow. Our place in the community and state is in large measure due to the generous financial contributions of friends of the Museum and the extraordinary support provided by Stearns County. We deeply appreciate all you have done and continue to do for the Museum. Looking forward, we hope you will continue to invest in the Museum’s future to ensure it remains a cultural centerpiece, preserving and telling our ever-changing stories! Finally, I want to offer a special thank you to Jim Davis, who retired as our director in July. Over many years, Jim and his wife, Jan, served as patrons, friends, and leaders of the Museum. The Museum and the community have benefited from their generous contribution of time, talent, and treasure. We owe them a debt of gratitude. See you at the Museum! Jon McGee Chair, Board of Directors

Minnesota Public Television’s Kathy Wurzer, speaker at the 2016 Annual History Maker Gala; Zapp Historian Award recipient Keith Maurer, and SHM board member Dr. Annette Atkins. Stearns History Museum • 320-253-8424


Exhibits & Collections Healthyville, a traveling exhibit from the Stepping Stone Museum for Children, entertained, inspired, and taught families the lessons of healthy living thorough diet and exercise. Major Sponsor: CentraCare Health.

The Bernick’s Companies celebrated 100 years of operating a family-owned business with an exhibit that showcased the company and family history. Spearheaded by family and business archivist Ruth Larson and Jason Bernick, director of corporate affairs, the exhibit reminded visitors that many of today’s businesses have been around for generations. (See photo on back cover.) Healthyville, a traveling exhibit from Stepping Stones Museum for Children, invited young people to “ride and row with a skeleton, discover Go, Slo, and Whoa foods, touch boogers inside a giant nose, and exercise your heart. This hands-on children’s exhibit reminded adults and children the importance of healthy living. It also gave staff and volunteers the opportunity to talk about the importance Stearns County farms play in healthy eating for families in Minnesota and the U.S. The year closed with the exhibit “Farmers, Miners and Refugees: Slovenian Immigration from Minnesota Since 1855.” This exhibit was generated by a group of dedicated residents of Slovenian ancestry to celebrate their heritage. They produced a series of panels telling the story of the Slovenian community in Stearns County. A plethora of precious family heirlooms were loaned to the Museum for the exhibit. The Slovenian Consulate General also attended the opening festivities.

2016 Audience Audience Served

(Social media, off-site programs, research requests)


On-site Visitors 17,799 School Tours (# of Students) 1,491 Volunteer Hours 1,855 Social media expanded the Museum’s reach through weekly stories. A Facebook post on the Last Man’s Club resulted in this response, “Stellar bit of local history . . . thanks for sharing!”

Objects on loan from the St. Stephen community for the exhibit, “Farmers, Miners & Refugees: Slovenian Immigration to Minnesota since 1855.” 4 • Stearns History Museum

Programs Children’s programs were a plenty in 2016. The garden camp, in partnership with the University of Minnesota Extension Service, taught participants the concept of subsistence farming. Campers grew food that could provide meals for themselves and their families. Along the way, they learned about healthy eating. Schools toured the museum to gain a better understanding of Central Minnesota history. And, families explored the exhibits at Halloween Historia and Kringlefest. Adult programs included the ever-popular Breakfast Club and the annual bus tour. This year the bus tour headed down Interstate 94 to look at memorable yet less notorious sites. Memory Writers continue to meet twice a month to share their writing skills and stories. A group of St. Cloud quilters worked with curator Adam Smith on a quilt conservation project. The annual gala’s featured speaker was MPR personality Kathy Wurzer. At the event, Ed Zapp presented the Zapp Historian Award to retired County Commissioner Keith Maurer and posthumously to Commission Robert Gambrino, who were instrumental in initiating county support for the Museum. Bug Identification Day for Garden Campers.

SHM presented the documentary film “Minnesota 13: From Grain to Glass” at the historic Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud to two sellout crowds.

Stearns History Museum • 320-253-8424


Research Center and Archives Throughout 2016, the Research Center served the needs of its varied clientele from patrons looking into their family’s past to investigative reporters researching for news agencies. This was an exciting time as we served the public while building meaningful partnerships and friends. Genealogists continue to be the core group of library users. Many expressed their appreciation for what they uncovered. Stacey Greeley commented, “Thank you again, SO MUCH, for all the help you gave me last week! It was an extremely productive research time ...” Jayne Givson Valnes shared, “Thank you much for all that you are doing, history is important in so many ways.” These remarks certainly reflect the vision of those that established the Research Center in 1984. The Research Center’s service area goes well beyond its physical location. The Travel Channel studied Sauk Centre’s haunted Palmer House. WCCO and American Public Media explored law enforcement’s handling of the Jacob Wetterling kidnapping. American Public Media’s podcast on the subject, “In the Dark,” won the Peabody Award for producer Samara Freemark.”

Crowd gathers for the showing of “Minnesota 13: From Grain to Glass”. This film, as well as Elaine Davis’ book “Minnesota 13: Stearns County’s Wet and Wild Prohibition Days,” was researched at the Museum’s Research Center. Thousands of stories are scattered among the rows of file cabinets just waiting to be told.

University students explore the primary resources available in the Research Center.

6 • Stearns History Museum

Financial Summary For the Year ending December 31, 2016 CURRENT ASSETS Cash and cash equivalents Restricted cash Inventory Other assets Total current assets

$146,430 41,966 6,910 195,306

NONCURRENT ASSETS Inventments Net property an equipment Total noncurrent assets

336,411 948,198 1,284,609



CURRENT LIABILITIES Accounts payable and accrued expenses Deferred revenue Total current liabilities NET ASSETS Unrestricted - undesignated Unrestricted - designated Temporarily restricted Total net assets TOTAL LIABILITIES AND NET ASSETS

$308,364 22,200 330,564 (135,258) 1,284,609 1,149,351 1,479,915


REVENUE AND SUPPORT $690,000 County Appropriations 55,096 Grant revenues 25,289 Program income 83,617 Donations 24,861 Net investment income (loss) 255,305 Donated services, materials, and equipment 54,763 Memberships 26,772 Admissions 12,706 Museum store sales 96,723 Special events 17,583 Miscellaneous revenues 1,342,715 Total EXPENSES Educational services Museum exhibitions and collections Archival and research services Museum operations Total program services Management and general Fundraising Total support services

187,795 325,994 328,604 196,033 1,038,426 109,796 92,343 202,139






(14,043) 102,150 1,047,201 1,149,351

In the summer of 2017, the certified public accounting firm of Miller, Welle, Heiser & Co., LTD conducted an audit of the Stearns History Museum’s 2016 financial records. The Museum received an unqualified opinion, which states that the statements are presented in a fair and unbiased manner. The complete 2016 audit report is available upon request at the Stearns History Museum. The 990 tax statement is available at Stearns History Museum • 320-253-8424


Donors Bayer Built Woodworks Joseph & Joanne Bechtold Paul Bell Robert & Karen Bellmont Benton Telecommunications Foundation Herbert & Lynne Benz Ken & Marilyn Bergmann Bernick’s Companies Dick & Lila Bernick Kathleen Bernick Roy Bernick Jason Bernick Jan Beste Dick & Mimi Bitzan Family Fund Gene & Mary Margaret Bjorklun Barbara Bloomer James & Suzanne Brick Harold & Marilyn Brinkman Elizabeth Brunsvold Ruth Ann Bueckers Claude Buettner & Carol Kissner Ralph & Lori Buettner Barbara & Jerry Carlson Tom & Shelly Carlson Don & Arlene Casey

Heritage Park is the perfect setting for the Museum’s family activities.

CentraCare Health Jane Ceynar Alton Chermak Tim Chirhart & Jeanne Soleim

Richard & Karen Ahles

Anton’s of St. Cloud

Julie Coborn

Tom & Sally Allen

Florine Armstrong

Commercial Contractors

Johannes Allert

Annette Atkins & Tom Joyce

D.J. Bitzan Jewelers Inc.

Alexander Ames

Angelina Ausban & Kevin Smith

Robert Danaher

Joan Anastasi

Automotive Parts Headquarters

Patrick Daniel

Sandy Anderson

Rolland & Margaret Aydt

Jim & Jan Davis

Anderson Trucking Service

Joe Bayer

John & Jan Decker

8 • Stearns History Museum

Donors Dr. Richard & Geraldine Dendinger

Peter Hendricks

Neil Franz & Jean Didier

Dennis & Barbara Gregory Family Fund

Janet Dolan

Judith Grooters

Wendy Hess

Jim & Berni Doll

Joan Groth

Amy Hill

Judy Dorn

Janet Grothjan

Lori Hoff

Richard Dorn

Joyce Hansen

Ken & Linda Holmen

Dorothy C. Becker Foundation

Ronald & Michelle Hanson

Patricia and George Hontos

Virg Egerman

Lyle G. Heaton

Kevin & Joanne Hughes

Mary Eilers

Dorothy Hebert

Beulah Rose Hutchens

Barry Elert & Linda Sand

Don Helgeson & Sue Shepard

Wim Ibes

Ken & Clare Elchert

Michael & Karel Helgeson

Lorraine Inderrieden

Patrick Henry

Art Faber Falcon National Bank Robert Faust Bernard Ferche Rosanne Fischer & Mark Trainor Charles & Elizabeth Hayden Flinn Mary Thiele Fobian Prentiss & Joyce Foster Irene Frank Friesz Family & Cosmetic Dentistry Catherine Gadbois Angelo Gambrino Ann Gambrino John Gambrino Ruth Gambrino Thomas & Janet Gambrino Thomas L. Gambrino Gartner Refrigeration Gary Gillitzer Betsy Glade GLT Architects GNP Company Charles Goebel

Family programs entertain as well as educate. These events introduce history through exploration and fun. Stearns History Museum • 320-253-8424


Donors Michael & Julie Kulzer Laraway Financial Advisors James & Ruth Larson Marjorie LaTour Jean Leighton John & Arlene Leisen Jerry & Mary Lou Lenz Stan Lewis John & Mary Linnemann Geraldine Lommel Jerome & Carol Loomis Mary Ludowese Whitney & Betty MacMillan John Mahowald & Donna Kuhl John & MaryAnne Mahowald Mahowald Insurance Agency John G Marek Gary & Jane Marsden Mathew Hall Lumber Fund

The Century Farm Program celebrated its 40th year with more than 450 designated Century Farms in Stearns County.

Tom & Mary Mathews Dr. David & Kathrine Matthew Bill Maurer Keith Maurer

Richard Iten

Patricia K’Burg

Keith Maurer Jr.

Dwight & Audrey Jaeger

Dolores Kantor

Mike Maurer

Janet F Jansen

Mark & Joni Karl

Mary Maurer Eilers

Mavis Jante

Pauline Keinath

Jerry & Maureen McCarter

Greg Jendro

LuBell Kendall

Peter McDowall

Eugene & Ardis Jensen

Don & Mary Anne Kieser

McDowall Company

Bob & Judy Johnson

Roger A. & Darlene C. Klein Fund

Carol McEvoy

Clifford & Betty Johnson

Donald & Janet Klug

Jon & Ann McGee Charitable Fund

Ken & Diane Jones

Knevel Family Fund

McGough Construction Co. Inc.

Julie Joplin

Jim & Janet Knoblach

Dave and Lu Meemken

Maureen Jovanovich

Beulah Mae Koch

Cathy & David Mehelich

Daniel Hollenhorst & Juliana Elchert

Henry & Victoria Kohorst

Michael Meirick

Brian Jungles

Dennis Konz

Ann Meline

Roger & Mary Justin

Jim & Linda Kotschevar

10 • Stearns History Museum

Donors Melrose Lions Club

Beverly Proulx

Marilyn Rybinski

Jeff & Nellie Mergen

Proviant Group

Emma Sacco

Eugene & Norma Meyer

Regional Diagnostic Radiology

Gerald & Donna Sales

Franklin Meyer

Greg & Janet Reigstad

Vernon Salzl

Miller Auto & Marine

Mary Ann Reischl

Ralph & Carole Sauer

Miller, Welle, Heiser & Co., Ltd.

Richard & Jane Remiarz

Guy & Terry Schafer

Minser Chiropractic Clinic

Karen Rieck

Bryon & Lynn Schiffler

Patrick & Jane Mitchell

George & Mary Ann Rindelaub

Don & Patti Schiffler

Edward Moeller

Frank & Rosemary Roehl

Jim & Carrie Schiffler

Raymond Monsour

Jacqueline Rogan

Loren & Bonnie Schill

Monumental Sales Inc.

Michael & Peggy Roske

Bernie Schloemer

Michael Moran

Autumn Ross

Alice Schneider

Bill & Judy Morgan

Terry Rothstein

Ralph & Barb Searles

Katherine Mrozek

Larry & Verdell Rudolph

Don Sieger

Paula Muggli

Richard & Diane Ruegemer

Sinclair Lewis Foundation

Mumm & Kron Family Dentistry

Connie Ruhr

Sisters of Saint Benedict

Liz Murphy Mary Ann Neidermeier

Halloween Historia attendees choose a prize for completing the Halloween Hunt through the exhibit gallery.

David Neumann Steve & Jan Notch Robert & Marilyn Obermiller Virginia Orth Glen Palm & Jane Ellison Greg & Joyce Pappenfus Daniel Pearson John & Linda Peck Jim & Beverly Pehler Steven & Carmen Penick Jon & Laurie Perry Kal Perry Bela Petheo Lee & Kristine Pflepsen Lloyd Poepping Joyce Pohl Prairie Potato Company Marguerite Pramann

Stearns History Museum • 320-253-8424


Donors Pete & Julie Theismann Think Tourism Robert & Bonnie Thomsen Mary Alice Tomporowski TownSquare Media William Trout Diane Tuorila U.S. Bank Foundation Teresa Vandereyk Vernon Vos Lorraine Wagner Waite Park Lions Club Julie Ward Doris Weiman Susan Weitz John & Mary Weitzel Fred Wemlinger Marjorie Wenker John Wertz Ray & Jean Weyer Hugo & Rita Weyrens

On the cover: Stearns County vacation promotion, 1943.

Mary Weyrens Tasto Bob & Penny White Fund David Whitney Whitney Foundation

Lois Sjobeck

Chris & Deb Stalboerger

Bruce & Cheryl Skalbeck

Eric & Joan Stalboerger

Sharon Smith

Richard & Margaret Stang

Soleim Chirhart Fund

Paul W. & Elizabeth Steil

SPOT Rehabilitation

Tom & Joyce Stein

St. Benedict’s Monastery Library

Steven Stock

St. Cloud Antique Auto Club

Dennis & Bobbie Stolp

St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce — Convention & Visitor Bureau

Dr. Thomas & Ann Stone

Xcel Energy Foundation Matching Program

Strack Companies

Marilyn Young

St. Cloud Jaycees

Ellie Studer

Edward Zapp

St. Cloud Morning Optimist Club

Fred Stueve

Maria Zimmerman

St. Cloud Sprinkler Co.

Philip & Harriet Terry

Harold Zosel

St. Joseph Y2K Lions Club

Robert Testa


Scott & Joan Wilcox Sandra Q. Williams Mary Wingerd Patricia & Robert Witte Family Fund Women’s Fund of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation • Stearns History Museum

In-Kind Bannock Farm

McDowall Company

Shingobee Builders

Dick & Mimi Bitzan

Edward Moeller

Bruce & Cheryl Skalbeck

Christine’s Sweet Confections

David Morreim

Philip & Harriet Terry

Coborn’s Inc.

NuCara Pharmacy

Think Tourism

Jim & Jan Davis

Julianne O’Connell

John & Jan Decker

Pioneer Place & DB Searles

University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners

Forest Mushrooms

Poppy Salon

Cathy Wurzer

Charles Goebel

Preferred Credit Inc.

Heavenly Treats

Retro Green Energy

Lunds & Bylerys

Saint John’s University

Thank you to all of our generous members and donors. We sincerely appreciate your support and apologize if we have missed any names on this report.

The anniversary of St. Martin was one of many celebrations in which the Museum provided a photo exhibit. Other events included the Stearns County Fair, Pantowners Swap Meet, Fisher’s Supper Club, Breakfast on the Farm, and the premiere of the film “Minnesota 13: From Grain to Glass.”

Stearns History Museum • 320-253-8424


Supporting Members Visionary:



Bayer Built Woodworks

Dick & Mimi Bitzan

Jason Bernick

Ann Didier GNP Company

Joseph DesJardins & Linda Eich DesJardins

Michael & Karel Helgeson

Bill & Marian Durrwachter

Joan Hicks

Ken & Kenna Frie

McDowall Company

Charles Goebel

Doris Weiman

LuBell Kendall

Benefactor: DCI Inc.

Patron: Barclay & Janet Carriar

Gretchen Leisen

Jim & Jan Davis

Richard & Patricia Lewis

James & Patricia Jungels

Jerry & Maureen McCarter

Landwehr Construction

Robert & Marilyn Obermiller

St. Cloud Antique Auto Club

Frank & Rosemary Roehl

Philip & Harriet Terry

James & Joan Schlenner Maureen Spanier Dr. Thomas & Ann Stone

Volunteers Rianna Runge and Sophie Mertensotto at Halloween Historia.

14 • Stearns History Museum

Supporting Members Supporter: Gary & Kay Bechtold Jeff & Lannie Bulka Barbara & Jerry Carlson Cathedral High School St. Cloud Area Chamber of CommerceConvention & Visitor Bureau Alton Chermak John & Jan Decker Jim & Kathy Egan Richard & Rose Gaetz Kenneth & Donna Gorrell Great River Federal Credit Union Tom & Jeanne Hartmann

Michael & Julie Kulzer

St. Cloud Retired Educators of MN

Suzanne Latko

Tenvoorde Ford Inc.

John & Arlene Leisen

Randy Vee & Kelly Notch

Wesley & Julie Lindquist

Tony & Joyce Tillemans

John C. Massmann

George & Shirley Torrey

Kathy & Mark Middendorf

Gary & Pat Webber

Lillian Phillipp

Scott & Joan Wilcox

Ringneck Restaurants Inc.

Thomas & Catherine Williams

Brian Schoenborn

Bob & Patricia Witte

Shawn Schooley

Dan & Nicole Wolgamott

Daniel Schroeder Jane Schulte St. Cloud Area Genealogists Inc.

Doris Hennen Patricia Hill Arnold & Regina Hoeschen Beulah Rose Hutchens Dwight & Audrey Jaeger

Members enjoy lunch on their “Off 94” bus tour that featured the lesser know historic sites off of Interstate 94. Stearns History Museum • 320-253-8424


235 South 33rd Avenue St. Cloud, MN 56301-3752

2016 exhibit highlighting the 100th Year Anniversary of Bernick’s Companies.

2016 Annual Report