Preserving the Past: New Navy exhibit open at historical museum

Published 9:00 am Saturday, August 5, 2017

Preserving the Past by Kim Nelson

Kim Nelson is the executive director of the Freeborn County Historical Museum, Library and Village, 1031 Bridge Ave.

This past year, the museum received a beautiful mounted Navy uniform for display. The uniform belonged to Navy Capt. Gerhard “Gary” Erling Skaar. Gerhard was born in 1943 in Albert Lea to Erling and Audrey Skaar. He graduated from Albert Lea in 1961 and entered the U.S. Navy as an officer candidate in November 1966. After completing flight training, he was designated a naval aviator in March 1968.

Kim Nelson

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Over the next 20 years, Skaar served in the U.S. Navy in many capacities — one of which was flying helicopters to two deployments to Antarctica to support the National Science Foundation. He found himself establishing a diverse portfolio throughout his career. They even named a prominent geographical feature Skaar Ridge after him in recognition of his support.

Much of his career in the United States Navy was spent with antisubmarine squadrons.

Skaar was a basic training flight instructor, safety officer, fleet readiness aviation maintenance personnel officer and operations officer.

In 1983, he assumed command of the Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Eleven “HS-11.” Skaar retired from the Navy and lives in Pensacola, Florida.

To learn more about Skaar, I would urge you to come visit the display at the Freeborn County Historical Museum.

As I approach my one-year anniversary at the museum, I continue to learn about all we to offer. The museum is such an amazing resource to our county and its citizens. I invite all of you to see what is available at the museum. We are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

With a membership, you have access to the library, museum, children’s lab activities and the village. We love to share our beautiful building with all of you.

Feel free to contact me at 507-373- 8003 or stop in during operating hours. I enjoy visitors.