The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

July 30, 2008

Nicollet County Historical Society remodels exhibit

ST PETER — When Eileen Holz and her mother, Eunice, put together a central exhibit for the Nicollet County Treaty Site History Center more than a decade ago, it was meant to be temporary.

Then the funding, which covered construction of the building in 1993, ran dry. So the display depicting the signing of the 1851 treaty between the Dakota and U.S. Government at the Traverse de Sioux site lasted longer than planned.

That’s changed now with a new round of funding, and Holz doesn’t mind. That’s because the once drab room that surrounded the old display has been improved.

There’s a new suspended ceiling above, and the walls, which have been painted warm inviting colors, are covered with informative displays sharing Nicollet County’s history. Holz, who owns eholz graphix, was hired to create many of those displays using maps, pictures and written descriptions about the county’s past.

All of the improvements were paid for with $75,000 in state funding and $55,000 in private funds the History Center has received since last fall.

“What’s in there now does a much better job presenting the history of Nicollet County,” Holz said. “I’m hoping people like it. I hope it’s a very educational collection of work.”

The Nicollet County Historical Society is hoping to have all of the History Center’s improvements in place by this weekend. There were only two major displays left to add to the center last week: blown up images of sketches penned by Frank Mayer during the signing of the treaty in 1851 and a 14-foot by 4-foot Nicollet County timeline.

Those items should be in place Thursday when the Historical Society hosts a private showing for its 250 members. The public is always welcome during the facility’s regular hours Tuesday through Sunday.

“It should be a good experience on many levels for people coming through,” said LaVonne Craig, Historical Society president. “The center portion of the display mostly deals with the treaty, which was an important thing that opened much of Minnesota up for settlers. Of course, it also laid the groundwork for the conflict that followed.”

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