By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
The Minnesota Fishing Museum and Education Center in Little Falls and the Fishing Hall of Fame of Minnesota in Baxter recently announced the merger of the two entities. The event took place Sept. 4.
The newly combined organization will be called the Minnesota Fishing Museum-Hall of Fame and Education Center and the Little Falls building will be the point of contact for conducting business.
For now, the displays for each center will remain in their present locations. Plans are just beginning to form for the combined facility.
“This merger will enable us to more fully carry out our mission to preserve Minnesota’s Fishing heritage and pass it on to the next generation,” said Jeff Doty, president of the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Fishing Museum. “We are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead of us.”
The new organization will incorporate three identities: the Museum, the Hall of Fame and an Education Center.
The Fishing Museum will continue to preserve Minnesota fishing artifacts and have them on view for visitors to enjoy. What is now in Little Falls will remain.
The Hall of Fame, located in Gander Mountain on Highway 371 in Baxter, will also remain the same for the time being. It now showcases more than 30 inductees: individuals, companies and media. Each exhibit honors and recognizes the inductees with pictures, artifacts and information.
A nomination process is in place to grow the Hall of Fame, with the current inductees electing new ones.
“We have discussed adding interactive television for visitors to watch videos on each person,” said Executive Director of the Fishing Museum Mavis Buker.
The Education Center, now located in Little Falls, gives visitors an insight to the museum. For children and families, Buker has created a scavenger hunt which has the visitors looking for different objects in the museum. For adults and seniors, she has them focus on key displays which include volunteer speakers.
Also available in the Fishing Museum is an Education Resource Center, which the Board hopes to grow with a new facility. There, visitors may research artifacts, identify old equipment or read how-to books on many subjects related to fishing.
While maintaining each location, plans for a new home are being made.
The Board is searching for the right spot for the new building. Members would like it to be on the east side of Highway 10, south of Little Falls, to catch all the traffic heading north.
“During the weekends, about 21,000 vehicles use that stretch of the highway. On holiday weekends, the number increases to 65,000 daily,” said Doty. The Board would also like ample land to accommodate parking for boats and trailers.
“In the new location, whether we buy used or build new, we want to include dedicated classroom space with PowerPoint presentations, DVD shows, environmental studies and more,” said Buker.
The next visioning session, open to the public, will be held Monday evening at 6 p.m. at the Minnesota Fishing Museum.
“We will be looking at all the possibilities and listening to the ideas for the future of the new Minnesota Fishing Museum-Hall of Fame and Education Center,” said Doty.
For more information, contact the Fishing Museum at (320) 616-2011.