Marion Ross shows off her second key to the city Sunday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Freeborn County Historical Museum. -- Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune
Marion Ross shows off her second key to the city Sunday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Freeborn County Historical Museum. -- Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

Residents flock to museum for Ross exhibit

Published 7:26am Monday, July 15, 2013

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About 250 area residents flocked to the Freeborn County Historical Museum Sunday night to witness the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new Marion Ross exhibit.

The ceremony gave people in attendance one last chance to meet the “Happy Days” actress at the close of her weeklong visit to Albert Lea.

“I’ve had a fabulous week,” Ross said. “It’s an extraordinary community.”

The new exhibit, in the addition of the museum, features a 1955 Ford pickup donated by Ross, dozens of photographs of the star and even a dress she wore.

“This building is going to bring so much new life to this town,” Ross said.

Museum Executive Director Pat Mulso and Mayor Vern Rasmussen presented Ross with a key to the city — her second — before Ross cut a large ribbon with a pair of scissors.

Mulso said Ross gave her the inspiration to move forward with fundraising for the museum expansion.

“She said, ‘You got to have faith,’” Mulso said. “With that vote of confidence, what could I do but go forward.”

Residents young and old alike were in attendance for the event.

Kelly Schultz of Albert Lea, who previously served on the museum’s board with Mulso, said she traveled with Mulso to Kansas City for Ross’s 80th birthday.

“I told Pat, ‘I never thought I’d see this happen,’” Schultz said.

Linda Petersen, who attended the ceremony with her husband Lamar, said she had met the actress’s visit a few years ago and wanted to see her again.

Ross arrived in Albert Lea on Tuesday and had a busy schedule of events planned during her one-week stay. She was present before and after performances of “Happy Days, a New Musical” each night at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center, took part in a fundraiser for the Albert Lea Art Center and went aboard the Pelican Breeze II for a cruise on Friday, among other events.

She said she was pleased Sunday by the turnout and support shown at the museum.

“It’s a tremendous honor and privilege that you’ve come,” she said.

After the brief ceremony, people in attendance and Ross walked upstairs in the museum for refreshments.

Mulso said there are still many things that need to be put out in the museum’s new addition, and she is expecting the entire museum to be completed in mid-August for a grand opening celebration.