Historical Society director retires | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Historical Society director retires

Posted: December 1, 2011 - 9:10pm
Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls Pamela Nelson (left) and Marilyn Anderson, talked Thursday about the Crow Wing County Historical Society's annual holiday open house scheduled Thursday through Saturday. Anderson is retiring as the executive director and Nelson will succeed her.
Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls Pamela Nelson (left) and Marilyn Anderson, talked Thursday about the Crow Wing County Historical Society's annual holiday open house scheduled Thursday through Saturday. Anderson is retiring as the executive director and Nelson will succeed her.

When it’s time, it’s time.

To retire that is. Marilyn Anderson, who has served as the Crow Wing County Historical Society’s executive director for the past 5 1/2 years, has decided to retire to give herself more time to pursue some of her other passions.

Anderson’s last day will be Saturday, the last day of the historical society’s three-day annual holiday open house.

The historical society’s open house is open to the public and will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The historical society museum and library is located just west of the Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse.

Anderson said her assistant Pamela Nelson will succeed her.

“I hired her shortly after I was hired,” said Anderson. “We learned how to do this job together. I’m excited for her to take over.”

Anderson has always said that she would retire at age 62, so that is what she’s doing.

“I have a lot of interests that I have not had time to do,” said Anderson. “And now I’ll have time to do them.”

Anderson has been a volunteer at Wild and Free Wildlife Program in Garrison for seven years. She also has a passion for rescue dogs. She has a certified therapy dog named Henry Higgins, after the character in “My Fair Lady.”

Anderson said she takes Henry to the nursing homes in the area as therapy for the residents. Anderson said she also wants to spend more time gardening and she took up another hobby of beekeeping.

Anderson and her husband, Jack, moved to the Brainerd area in 2005 from the Twin Cities. She left her job with Hennepin County as a legal secretary and human resources after 18 years of service.

“When we moved to Brainerd I had to get a job,” said Anderson. “I was at the Work Force Center and I saw an ad for the historical society so I applied.”

Anderson was hired as the assistant director and shortly afterwards was promoted to director.

“I was coached for the job,” Anderson laughed. “I was more of a follower than a leader, but I gave it a try and it has become an opportunity of a lifetime for me ... A dream job.

“When I was interviewed I just loved the way it (the museum/library) smelled. People here are like family. I have learned so much about the history of the county ... I plan to volunteer here after my retirement.”

Anderson said the historical society employs three part-time employees, which includes herself and it has more than 30 volunteers.

The historical society board is made up of nine members and there are more than 300 paying historical society members.

Through the years, Anderson said her greatest achievement has been organizing and cataloging the artifacts.

“They were way behind and there were hundreds upon hundreds of artifacts that had to be displayed or put away. The volunteers here are wonderful and have helped staff over the years to accomplish this.”

Anderson today is still organizing artifacts, as the historical society receives donations daily that range from vintage clothing to furniture.

In fact, on Wednesday, Anderson was putting up two antique gun displays.

“We’re starting to limit what people can donate because of all the stuff we’ve received over the years,” said Anderson. “We now are just accepting Crow Wing County artifacts.”

When not organizing artifacts, Anderson has assisted customers with research, such as genealogy.

The historical society’s annual events include a display at the Crow Wing County Fair in August, the holiday open house, a Christmas tea and the annual membership meeting in April.

Anderson said she is looking forward to spending more time with her husband, three adult children and two grandsons.

Anderson encourages the public to come see the museum/library, especially if they’ve never been there before.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at jennifer.stockinger@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5851.