ALBERT LEA, Minn. (FOX 47) – Now open for the season, the village preserves and tells the story of Freeborn County’s past, featuring 18 buildings from the late 1800s, such as the Livdalen Cabin, the first built in the county back in 1853.
“Building the future by preserving history. That is the motto that we have.” said Stephanie Kibler, Freeborn Historical Museum Executive Director.
The museum has over 40 exhibits with artifacts from pre-modern times until today, along with showcasing a few Albert Lea celebrities, including Happy Day’s star Marion Ross and musician Eddie Cochran. That plethora of subjects means there’s something for visitors of all ages.
“I can’t imagine somebody could come in here and not find something of interest.” Kibler said. “There’s such a wide variety of items.”
The museum draws people from all over.
“All the way from Connecticut looking up family history,” said Jim Munyer, board member and volunteer. “During Eddie Cochran weekend, we get a lot of people coming from the United Kingdom.”
Chronicling the county’s heritage and ancestry is central to the museum’s goal. For those who grew up in Albert Lea, it can serve as a step back in time.
“People who want to relive their childhood,” said Kibler. “We just had a group out that had attended the school here, they came as classmates and visited.”
As well as always adding new artifacts, the historical museum also has new programming coming up for the fall.
“Uncorking History, which will be looking at murder cases, late 1800s, early 1900s.” said Kibler. “Really fun, interactive program.”
The exhibits, research, collections, tours and educational programs at the museum are almost entirely done by volunteers.
“Without them, it would be impossible to do what we do here.” Kibler said.
The museum is also thankful for the community donating a lot of the artifacts on display.
“And we bring them here and they willingly give up their family history for other people to share.” Munyer said.
In three weeks, the historical museum will host the 33rd annual Eddie Cochran weekend, with live music and a car show.
The village is open through September.