The Minnesota Alliance of Local History Museums, organized in 1991, is a statewide organization that seeks to nurture and encourage an appreciation of Minnesota’s local history by providing a structure to foster professionalism and excellent work among local and specialized historical organizations in Minnesota. The Alliance created the Minnesota History awards in 2008 to honor the excellent work performed in Minnesota’s public history community. Four historians and four history organizations will be honored at the Minnesota Alliance of Local History Museums Conference on April 27 in Walker, MN.
Lifetime Achievement Awards:
Kathleen Bergan (Gilbert)
Kathleen Bergan began her work with the Iron Range Historical Society in 1986. During that time, she has been editor of quarterly newsletter, published ten books and been a dedicated volunteer. Over her thirty years of service to the Iron Range Historical Society, she inventoried and organized the Society’s collections.
Mark Peihl (Moorhead)
Mark Peihl began his career in local history in 1985 at the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County in Moorhead, MN by volunteering. In 1986, he became their archivist and is responsible for the Historical Society’s photo and manuscript collections, corporate records, and public reference services. He has written multiple articles for the Society’s newsletter and produced over 30 exhibits on Clay County and Minnesota History.
Chris Schuelke (Fergus Falls)
Chris Schuelke has worked at Otter Tail County Historical Society since 1987, when he started as Curator. He has served as executive director since 1989. Among his many accomplishes are creating the Historical Society’s endowment, awarded an American Association of State and Local History (AASLH) award in 2006 for the preservation of the Kaddatz Hotel in Fergus Falls and completed a major renovation of the museum’s Agriculture Wing. Chris Schuelke was a founding member of the MALHM.
Vickie Wendel (Anoka)
Vickie Wendel began at the Anoka County Historical Society in 1986, moving from volunteer to program manager. She was a leading force in the capital campaign for a larger facility which resulted in a new facility that opened in 2002. She has researched and designed exhibits, traveling programs and events for the Historical Society. Vickie is a leader of outreach and created many relationships outside the museum walls. The exhibit, Vietnam: The Veteran’s Experience, was nationally recognized with an award from the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH) in 2007.
Minnesota Discovery Center (Chisholm) for their exhibit “Enough! The 1916 Mesabi Range Strike”. This exhibit commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Mesabi Range strike. The Minnesota Discovery Center used primary materials and direct quotes to tell the story from all perspectives so the visitor can interpret the story.
Pope County Historical Society (Glenwood) for their documentary “Pope County 150, 1866-2016”. This video was created in celebration of Pope County turning 150. It captures the history and culture of the Pope County community since 1866.
Washington County Historical Society (Stillwater) for their book, “Company K in the Border War: The Stillwater National Guard in Texas 1916”. This book highlights the experiences of the Stillwater National Guard played in defending the Mexican border with the use of letters, photos and local newspapers.
Cokato Museum and Historical Society (Cokato) for their digitization project of the Gust Akerlund Negative Collection. The Cokato Museum and Historical Society digitized 14,019 negatives, the entire collection of Cokato photographer Gust Akerlund ranging from 1902-1950.
The Minnesota History Awards will be presented during the Annual Meeting and luncheon on Thursday, April 26, at Chase on the Lake in Walker and is included in the conference registration fee. The event is open to all; colleagues and friends may register online for the Awards Luncheon (only) option; cost is $20. For more information, please contact MN History Awards Coordinator, Jill Wohnoutka at 320-235-1881 or firstname.lastname@example.org.