A farewell as museum director

Published 10:00 am Sunday, January 24, 2016

Preserving the Past by Pat Mulso

It is hard to believe that over 10 years have gone by since I became the executive director of the Freeborn County Historical Society dba/The Freeborn County Historical Museum, Library and Village. I have enjoyed being the executive director of the museum and want to say a special thank you to my past and current board members, our 180- plus volunteers, the museum staff and the community for their support to me over the past 10 years. I encourage everyone to become involved and supportive of the museum and its programs. The museum is a vibrant resource for the community for individuals, young and old, businesses, organizations and government entities. It is my pleasure to announce that Amy Gauthier will be the new executive director of the Museum, Library & Village. Please be supportive of Amy as she defines her passion to bring our society to new levels in programing and to meet the needs of our community.

Pat Mulso

Pat Mulso

Most people don’t realize the museum has to raise money each year for our budget through admissions, memberships, donations, grants and fundraisers. Our annual operating budget for 2016 is approximately $196,000. This includes wages for three full-time staff, three part-time staff and service contracts for the elevator, security system, museum computer software and copy machines, operating permit for the elevator, phone, Internet and garbage, office and building supplies, advertising and promotion, postage, $8,100 in building insurance and miscellaneous operating and repair expenses that occur along the way. Freeborn County pays our utilities (gas, electric and water), which are usually $15,000 to 18,000 per year and is reflected in our budget total listed above and also made a cash contribution of $15,000 for 2016 toward our operating budget. So as you can imagine, it is a struggle to balance the cash flow to meet the needs of operating our facility and meeting the needs of our community. Your memberships, donations and other contributions are deeply appreciated and needed to continue the services that we provide to the community, our members and visitors to the community. We are very fortunate to have dedicated staff at FCHM that are passionate about their positions. I want to express my deepest appreciation to the staff for their continued support to our organization and to our 180-plus volunteers that donate their time and talents to the museum and to the membership for their continued support to the museum and our projects. I encourage everyone in Freeborn County to become members of FCHM to help us preserve our history for present and future generations to enjoy.

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The museum will host a four-hour AARP defensive driving refresher class from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Feb 6. The cost is $20 for AARP members or $25 for nonmembers, which includes the class materials and administrative fee. You must register for the class and will need your driver’s license to do so. The refresher course is needed every three years after the initial eight-hour class is taken to continue receiving a discount on your auto insurance. Call or stop by the museum to register during our regular business hours. You will receive your certificate at the end of the class. The next class will be from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. March 5.

Our Historically Speaking Spring Lecture Series will begin at 9 a.m. Feb. 13 in the museum meeting room and will be followed by a half hour for questions and discussion. Our topic for February is  “Church Altars of Freeborn County, MN.”  Gary Schindler will be our presenter.  Our lecture series is free to FCHM members and $5.00 for non-members. Watch for subjects for March and April lectures soon.

FCHM and the Freeborn County Genealogical Society will host a Genealogical Library Lock-In from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 8. Our class size is limited, and I believe we have one or two openings available on a first-come, first-serve basis for this class. During the class we will assist you in organizing and researching your family history. The cost is $30 for members and $40 for nonmembers.

To maintain a continuous membership at the Freeborn County Historical Society, your 2016 membership renewal needs to be received by Jan. 31. Memberships, admissions and donations are a large part of our operating revenue, and we appreciate the continued support of our members and the community to the museum. You may pay your membership in person, by mail or on our website.

I look forward to volunteering at the museum as we complete the Legacy Grant project for our new archive and object storage room this year and will also be assisting with a few programs for 2016 such as the library lock-ins, Kansas City bus tour in April to see Marion Ross and the Salt Lake City research trip in November. Thank you once again to everyone for your support and words of encouragement during these past 10 years. I wish everyone a safe, healthy and prosperous new year. So until our paths cross again, this is Pat Mulso saying farewell.


Pat Mulso is the former executive director of the Freeborn County Historical Museum, Library and Village, 1031 Bridge Ave.