Archived Story

Free fun offered at EOTC museums in Perham [UPDATED]

Published 9:26am Thursday, January 9, 2014 Updated 11:27am Thursday, January 9, 2014

For The Journal

An art show, movies and help finding family history may lure some East Otter Tail residents out during winter weather.

The History and Cultural Association announced today some free January activities at both Perham Museums, as well as winter hours.

In Their Own Words Veterans Museum, located at 805 W. Main, will feature an art show of original oils and watercolors by local artist and veteran Erv Weigsheid. These beautiful landscapes, depicting local scenes, will adorn the main gallery walls for two weeks starting Jan. 14.

Take a tour of the museum, and have the added bonus of viewing art in the gallery.

Also at ITOW is a free family movie day starting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18.

“One of the really delightful things that came from the World War II era was great movies,” said HACA CEO Darla Ellingson. “We’re showing a comedy/drama about an orphan boy, his dog and a sailor, but if I told you any more I’d give it away.”

To keep faithful to movie-going experiences of the era, the event will also include two short cartoons, and concessions will be available for sale.

Ellingson said the organization is interested in bringing in more activities for audiences similar to the museum, which includes children starting at about age eight who can understand the museum content, adults and seniors.

ITOW Veterans Museum contains stories of veterans of the region that are recorded on video and displayed, as well as artifacts from World War I through the Gulf War.

The collection covers a broader Midwest region. The building also contains a large art gallery, suitable for community functions up to 250 people, and has meeting rooms where veterans groups meet on a monthly basis.

The History Museum of East Otter Tail County, located at 230 1st Ave. N., is gearing up for another genealogy workshop Saturday.

This informal gathering has valuable information for those just starting their family research quest, and those already familiar with the History Museums resources.

“It’s more like a support group for those wanting a little mid-winter genealogy fix,” said Mary Pfeffer, the museum’s lead genealogist. “For those just starting out, we’ll introduce them to the resources, including free access to our membership, other on-line resources and extensive in-house database.”

Pfeffer adds the museum has moved and expanded its digital database, and there are some format changes that frequent users would want to learn about.

The workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and participants can drop in anytime, but Pfeffer recommends newer users plan on about two hours if they want to start researching.

The History Museum of East Otter Tail County was established as Perham’s first museum in 1998 in the former library building when the new library was built on the same block.

The focus of the collection pertains to history, culture and people of East Otter Tail County. Much of the photo and document portion of the collection has been digitized and is available on-line.

The White Elephant Thrift Store is planning upcoming art and craft classes and is seeking input now from teachers and participants. Those having a skill they would like to teach or want to contribute an idea for a class they would like to take are encouraged to stop by, view the area and sign up.

Thrift store proceeds benefit both museums.

The ITOW Veterans Museum, the History Museum of EOTC and the White Elephant Thrift Store are now operating on winter hours through the end of February: Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The nonprofit History and Cultural Association of East Otter Tail County oversees the volunteer-run museums and thrift store. Museum admission is by free-will donation.

For more information, email HACA CEO Darla Ellingson at

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