It may be the only instance when the Crow Wing County Historical Society intentionally created its own historical object.
Visitors to the historical society museum this year will get a chance to view the Crow Wing County Historical Society's commemorative anniversary quilt, finished in December to mark the 75th anniversary of the historical society in 2002.
The quilt was designed and assembled by Mary Lou Moudry, the historical society's executive director, and Linda Beasley, a historical society volunteer.
Historical society supporters who donated $100 per square were given the opportunity to design the 9 1/2 inch quilt squares. Blocks were purchased from a variety of individual families, area organizations and businesses. A key to the quilt is available at the historical society for those who visit the historical museum, located at 320 Laurel St. in Brainerd. The quilt is prominently displayed at the entrance of the museum and can be viewed from each floor.
"Everyone really likes it," said Moudry. "Especially when you see it from down below. It's impressive."
Like the historical society itself, the quilt relied on individual donations. Once the year is over, Moudry said the quilt will be archived and properly stored to become a part of the historical society's permanent quilt collection.
Moudry said one of her favorite squares was created by the Hansen family, who designed a milk cow to represent their family's farm. A stopper design from one of their milk bottle tops is featured within the quilt square.
Diamond shapes are used throughout the quilt to commemorate the historical society's 75th anniversary. The quilt was hand-tied. The entire piece is about 104 inches squared.
Mary Lou Moudry, executive director of the Crow Wing County Historical Society, explained the stories behind some of the 25 individually designed quilt squares in the Crow Wing County Historical Society commemorative 75th anniversary quilt on display now in the historical museum. (Dispatch Photos by Nels Norquist)
The patterns within the quilt's fabric include bold, regal colors, like blue, purple and orange, mixed with bear and moose designs. It doesn't look like most historical quilts, but that's precisely why Moudry and Beasley chose the fabric.
"We wanted it to look like it's from 2002," Moudry said. "I wanted quilters to be able to look at this (in the future) and know it's from this time period."
The theme of the current historical museum's main exhibit is the 75th anniversary of the historical society.
In November, historical society members worried about how to pay its small staff because of a $15,000 budget deficit. Moudry said after an appeal for additional end-of-the-year donations went out, they did receive financial help. Historical society and community members sent extra money, which allowed the museum to stay open during December and staff members didn't have to be laid off before Christmas. A spaghetti dinner held at the American Legion netted about $500.
Moudry said several historical society members sent an extra $10 or more with their membership dues last month, which touched those who work and volunteer at the historical society.
However, as much as the extra funds were appreciated, said Moudry, they still didn't solve the historical society's budget shortfall of about $15,000.
Moudry said historical society board members need to address this year what type of a major fund-raiser would be best for them to host. The historical society typically has several smaller fund-raisers throughout the year. Moudry said any ideas community members have would be helpful.
The historical society will be closed to the public Jan. 6-26 to work on archiving its collection.
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