County museum has changed since it was built in the 1960s

Published 9:25 am Saturday, November 10, 2012

Column: Pat Mulso, Preserving the Past

Last weekend I went to visit a friend in Iowa and drove the back roads to get to the rural area where she lives. I passed through many small towns and areas that I used to drive almost daily when I worked in sales management for Avon products back in the ’90s. It was sad to see many deserted homes and farm sites but relaxing and pleasant to travel through areas that I know as well as the back of my hand from traveling the roads so often. It caused me to think back to my teenage years when I traveled the back roads of Ohio working on my family history by visiting every cemetery and family farm burial area looking for clues to piece together the story of my extended family. I wonder how and what our early ancestors would feel if they could see how the areas they settled have prospered or declined with time.

Pat Mulso

Most lines of my family have been in America for 162 to well over 200 years. The changes that have occurred in just the last 100 years are unbelievable! Here are some statistics from 1912: The average life expectancy was 47 years for men, only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub, more than 95 percent of U.S. births took place at home, sugar cost 4 cents per pound, first class stamps were 2 cents and crossword puzzles had not been invented. Oreo cookies and Life Savers were invented along with the electric blanket. The Lane Company began making cedar chests and is still a leading manufacturer of cedar chests. The first Kewpie Dolls were produced in 1912 as well.

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One of the individuals involved with the original museum construction shared his memory of how the building committee never dreamed the building would ever be completely full or even open year round was a stretch of their imagination. The building was built in the mid-1960s but had no regular paid staff until 1987. Until then it was operated by volunteers, and mostly during the summer months. Times do change and needs change as well. If we are to keep up with the demands of today’s society we need to complete our new addition as quickly as possible, to do so we need to raise the additional funds needed to complete the inside of the addition. We have currently raised $1.34 million. We need to raise additional $400,000 to complete the interior of the building. Please consider making a tax deductible donation before the end of the year to help us preserve and protect the history and heritage of Freeborn County for future generations.

Today as we celebrate Veterans Day, remember to thank the veterans you know for their service to our country to protect our freedom and to keep us safe. We take for granted so many things as Americans, I didn’t realize how much, until I lived in a foreign country during war time. Today, above all others, we should be thankful for our many blessings and for those who have made sacrifices to help keep us free. Thank you to our military forces from the past and for those serving now on our behalf, for putting our safety first, for giving up time with their families to protect us, thank you for your service to the citizens of the United States!

The museum will be closed Thanksgiving Day and the Friday following so our staff can spend time with their families. We wish all of you a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Don’t eat too much turkey and remember to be thankful for your family and the many blessings bestowed upon you! Thanksgiving is a perfect time to share family traditions and stories with the younger generation — there’s no time like the present to make memories for the next generation.

The museum is hosting a second four-hour defensive driving class on Tuesday. If you are in need of the class before the end of the year call the museum on Monday and leave your name and number, and I will return your call and let you know if there are any openings left in our class for Tuesday. The number at the museum is 373-8003.


Pat Mulso is the executive director of the Freeborn County Historical Museum in Albert Lea.