Legacy Grant funds help preserve National Register places

The Murray County Museums have received three grants in the last six months from the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Fund administered through the Minnesota Historical Society, according to museums coordinator Janet Timmerman.

These grants are made possible by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through a 2008 vote of the people. The grants are awarded to projects of enduring value for the cause of history and historic preservation across the state.

Timmerman said the grants the museums received will help assess the condition of the End-O-Line Railroad Turntable, create a scope of work for the repair of the Dinehart Holt House (both on the National Register of Historic Places) and pay for a small museum management lending library which will be available to other museums and county citizens.

In 2018 the Murray County Museum received a large grant to prepare a historic structure report on the Dinehart Holt House. Once that was completed, Timmerman said the second step was to apply for a grant to prepare the scope of work forms and create architectural drawings for the repair projects and the staff is working with Mike Lovato, from LHB, Inc., an architectural firm with offices in Rochester, Minneapolis, and Duluth. Once his work is completed, the museum will apply for a third construction grant that will help pay for repairs such as new windows, tuck pointing and repair of the foundation and central chimney, and a new outside entry door and stairs to the basement.

Timmerman asks the public for their patience in this process.

“I know the outside of the building desperately needs of a coat of paint, but we don’t want to do that before new windows, sills, and repair of the siding has happened,” she said. “It will all come together in due time. The house is a precious structure and we want it done correctly, not quickly.”

Timmerman said another grant in 2019 is slated to help End O Line Park assess the condition of the turntable. In the last two years, segments of the turntable have been underwater because of excessive rain and flooding. The structure now ticks the side of the turntable pit stones, something that has never happened before.

“This condition report should be able to tell us whether the turntable itself is changing or if the pit stones are disintegrating due to the water,” said Jakob Etrheim, End O Line site supervisor, who successfully completed the grant application.

“The historic architect should be able to offer solutions to the problem and help mitigate future issues as well,” he said.

The third grant was awarded to the county museum from an application submitted by Rose Schmit, museum site supervisor. These funds will purchase a set of museum management publications to be housed at the museum. The small lending library includes 22 books that cover topics from how to care for and display historic clothing to how to do oral histories with veterans. Other museums or interested people can view and borrow books.

“It is our hope that these books will help other museums or people with personal collections care for their artifacts the best way possible,” said Schmit. “Preserving Murray County’s history is up to every one of us. The museum will have the list of books on the website soon.”

These three grants, totaling $39,596, enable important projects that otherwise would be hard to fund, Timmerman said.

“The museums are evolving and changing to keep the collections and preservation of the history of Murray County in the forefront of their mission,” she said.