History & Education

//History & Education
History & Education 2017-05-19T15:39:14+00:00
Create special memories by weaving some fascinating education into your Grand Rapids vacation. Grand Rapids has a rich history having originally been founded as a logging town on the Mississippi River. Your family might enjoy visiting the Forest History Center were you will walk into a turn of the century logging camp, just as it was more than 100 years ago. Living history characters explain life in the 1900’s and invite questions or even participation in a task.

Children ages 3-7 will be delighted by the Children’s Museum, while “Wizard of Oz” fans will love the Judy Garland Museum. Judy Garland was born in Grand Rapids and should your vacation coincide with the Judy Garland Festival held annually in June, you’ll be in for a real treat! Visiting state and national parks nearby offer hundreds of chances to explore and learn about the natural environment; the plants, animals and the geology of the area.

Take in the rich history of the area. There is always something new to learn, to see or to do when you visit Grand Rapids.

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Bovey “Prohibition Speakeasy” & Underground Escape Tunnel

Reenactment of an underground P...

Bovey “Prohibition Speakeasy” & Underground Escape Tunnel

Reenactment of an underground Prohibition Speakeasy Bar & escape tunnel

Inside Annabella’s Antique Mall & Cafe
407 2nd St
Grand Rapids MN, 55744
Phone: 218-245-2055
Email: contact@brewedawakenings.biz

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Speakeasy & Escape Tunnel
The Reenactment of an underground Prohibition Speakeasy Bar & escape tunnel, as filmed in the Gems of Itasca Bovey Edition, is great place to take a step back in time, and experience yesteryear. The Underground attraction is OPEN to the public year round with the added appeal of the Huge Antique Mall & Full service Cafe within! The speakeasy room is available to lease for your next event or party. $75 for the room, & only $50 if you cater food. Call the cafe to reserve the room; 218-245-2233


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Children’s Discovery Museum

Fun Educational Family Museum

Children’s Discovery Museum

Fun Educational Family Museum

Contact: John Kelsch
2727 S Pokegama Ave
Grand Rapids MN, 55744
Phone: 218-326-1900
Email: director@cdmkids.org

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A place for children to discover and learn, features all hands-on exhibits: GeoZoooom!, Riverview Water Table, Treesa, the talking tree, Junior Achievement Exchange City, River Forest & Camp, tot park maze & dinosaurs, and a museum store for children’s gifts.

Two special displays included in admission: An exhibit of over 200 classic fairytale dolls donated by artist Faith Wick; and a model old-fashioned village and train set donated by Paul Bernier. The village includes a Ford dealership with a 1965 Mustang in the showroom, a Red Owl grocery store, and a John Deere implement shop.

Summer Hours (Memorial Day to Sept. 30): open 7 days a week, 10a – 5p
October 1 – March 31st: Fri & Sat 10a – 5p.
April 1 – Memorial Day: Mon-Sat 10a – 5p.
General Admission: $7 all ages


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Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center

Landmark & Historical Place<...

Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center

Landmark & Historical Place

Contact: Tim Johnson
49554 St Hwy 38
Marcell MN, 56657
Phone: 218-832-3161
Email: nijpb@bigfork.net


Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center Provides a variety of environmental education programs & events throughout the year. The EOWDC also has indoor interpretive displays, an interpretive trail, fishing pier, picnic area, CCC buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places and more! Individuals, families, school groups, other groups are all welcome. Call 218-832-3161 for more information.


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Forest History Center

Authentically Recreated History<...

Forest History Center

Authentically Recreated History

Contact: Jeff Johns
2609 County Rd 76
Grand Rapids MN, 55744
Phone: 218-327-4482
Email: jeff.johns@mnhs.org

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Use your power of imagination to experience life as it was in 1900 at the Forest History Center.  Walk back in time to Northwoods #1, an authentically recreated white pine logging camp complete with cook shack, bunkhouse, blacksmith shop, office wanigan, filer’s shack and horse barn.  Stop and visit with the cook, clerk, bull cook, blacksmith and other lumberjacks who may be in camp.  Try your hand at sawing and pet the Percheron draft horses.

Wander down to the 1901 Mississippi River Wanigan, drop in on the 1934 Forest Service patrolman and get a bird’s eye view of the forests from atop the 100-foot fire tower.  Explore the visitor center’s interactive exhibits and browse the gift shop featuring items unique to northern Minnesota.  Stroll the nearly 5 miles of accessible trails that wind throughout the beautiful forests and along the river’s edge.  Call ahead for the special nature programs.

Visitor Center open with nature and logging camp tours available:

June 11 – Labor Day: Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Closed Sundays and Mondays

Summer Admission Pricing(June 11-Labor Day):
$9 Adults; $7 Seniors, students and military personnel; $6 children age 6-17; Free for children under age 5
MN Historical Society members get free admission.

Winter Admission Pricing (September-June 8) :
$4 Adults; $3 Seniors, students and military personnel; $2.50 children age 6-17; Free for children under age 5


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Hill Annex Mine

1/2 Hour Historic Mining Tour

Hill Annex Mine

1/2 Hour Historic Mining Tour

Contact: Jordan Schaefer
880 Gary St
Calumet MN, 55719
Phone: 218-743-3362
Email: scenic.statepark@state.mn.us

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Hill Annex Mine State Park offers two different tours. Each runs 1.5 hours in length and is offered on Friday and Saturday, Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends.

Fossil Hunt:
Tour Time: 10:00 am
Hunt for fossils from the Cretaceous era and best of all you can keep what you find!

Historic Mine Tour:
Tour Times: 12:30 & 3:00 pm
Board a bus to trace the route miners took to get to work at the mine.

Go down in history with a tour of the Hill Annex Iron Mine. On the 1 1/2-hour open pit mine tour, visitors make a spectacular descent into mining's past. Learn about the mine operation, the people who worked here, and where they came from. Discover marine fossils in northern Minnesota. Get a sense of the mine's deep, rich history. Learn how this National Historic Site played an important role in state, national, and world history.Take a virtual tour. It's a great tool to help you plan your next trip to the park!

Take a virtual tour. It's a great tool to help you plan your next trip to the park!

Entrance to the park is on the north edge of Calumet along State Highway 169, halfway between Grand Rapids and Hibbing.


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Itasca Area Community Education

Community Education

Itasca Area Community Education

Community Education

Contact: Melanie DeBay
820 NW 1st Avenue
Grand Rapids MN, 55744
Phone: 218-327-5730
Email: mdebay@isd318.org

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Itasca Area Community Education is a collaboration of 4 districts; ISD 316, ISD 317, ISD 318 and ISD 319.  The mission of Itasca Area Community Education is to ignite learning through ever-changing opportunities for individuals to enrich and enhance their lives.  Community Education events, classes, and programs are happening across the Itasca Area year round for individuals of all ages and interests.  Visit our website for more information.

Additional Itasca Area Community Education locations: ISD 316 Greenway High School (218-245-6232), ISD 319 Nashwauk High School (218-885-1280 x.51112), ISD 317 Deer River High School (218-246-8241 x.227)


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Itasca County Historical Society

Connecting people to the history...

Itasca County Historical Society

Connecting people to the history of Itasca County

Contact: Lilah Crowe
201 Pokegama Ave N
Grand Rapids MN, 55744
Phone: 218-326-6431
Email: ichs@paulbunyan.net

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Welcome to our new home!

Our museum will take you back in time with stories about our area. Discover the woolly mammoth tusk found 3 miles from Grand Rapids; learn about the picture GRACE and how it became the Minnesota State Photograph; visit CCC camp locations across Itasca County; see how the Harper Boat Factory built wooden boats; and investigate other fascinating tales.

February 23rd will be the grand opening of the “Then and Now” exhibit which celebrates 125 years of Itasca County -- our Quasquicentennial. Fifteen communities will display artifacts and pictures from the 1800s compared to what it’s like today.

Karjala Genealogy and History Research Center—is open to the public to research families, people or places. The purpose of the center is to collect artifacts, information, genealogy, and photos that are pertinent to Itasca County and to make that information available to all.

Access to Ancestry.com is available during open hours, with Genealogists on site Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from noon to 4:00 p.m. to help in your research.

Open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


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Judy Garland Museum

Historic Look at Judy Garland's ...

Judy Garland Museum

Historic Look at Judy Garland's Home

Contact: John Kelsch
2727 US Hwy 169 S
Grand Rapids MN, 55744
Phone: 800-664-5839
Email: director@cdmkids.org

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Restored childhood home of Judy Garland where the star spent her first four years.  Judy’s home has been restored to look just as it did when the child star lived there with her parents and two older sisters.  See the staircase landing where Judy and her sisters provided entertainment for neighborhood friends with their earliest performances.  The grounds features a memorial flower garden and gazebo.  The adjacent museum gallery showcases a wide variety of artifacts from Judy’s musical and theatrical career, personal awards and effects, movie memorabilia and the carriage used in the Wizard of Oz. An extensive gift shop is filled with Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland items.

Summer Hours: Memorial Day – September 30: 7 days a week 10a – 5p
October 1 – March 31st: Friday & Saturday only 10a-5p
April 1 – Memorial Day weekend: Monday through Saturday 10a-5p

Groups of 20 or more can schedule tours on any day.
Admission: $7.00


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Minnesota Great River Road

Mississippi Headwaters

Minnesota Great River Road

Mississippi Headwaters

Phone: 651-341-4196

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The Great River Road National Scenic Byway follows the course of the Mississippi River through ten states from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico. It is one of the oldest, longest and most unique scenic byways in North America.  Minnesota’s Great River Road is a network of roadways offering a bounty of river experiences in a parkway setting.  It spans 565 miles, 20 counties, 43 communities, three tribal nations and six unique destination areas.  From the headwaters at Lake Itasca to the forests and lakes of the Grand Rapids area, Twin Cities metro attractions, and bluffs of southeast Minnesota - there’s something for everyone along the Mighty Mississippi.  Minnesota is home to 12 National Great River Road Interpretive Centers, designated for their remarkable Mississippi River stories.  These centers are great places to include in your great adventure.  The Forest History Center in Grand Rapids holds this distinction and tells important stories from the region. For more information on the Minnesota Great River Road, visit www.mnmississippiriver.com and for things to see and do along the route in all ten Mississippi River states visit www.experiencemississippiriver.com.  Enjoy the iconic journey!


UPM Blandin Paper Mill Tours

Blandin Paper Mill Tour

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UPM Blandin Paper Mill Tours

Blandin Paper Mill Tour

Contact: Tour Office
Corner of 2nd Avenue NW and 3rd Street NW
Grand Rapids MN, 55744
Phone: 218-327-6682

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Founded in 1901 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, UPM Blandin, a wholly owned subsidiary of UPM Corp. is one of North America’s leading producers of lightweight coated magazine and catalog printing papers and one of northern Minnesota’s largest employers. Its two paper machines have an annual capacity of about 408,000 short tons and manufacture No. 5 grade of publication paper with basis weights ranging from 28 to 50 pounds. All paper manufactured by Blandin is lightweight coated (LWC), named so for its clay-based glossy coating that makes it an attractive publication paper.

UPM – the Biofore Company:  UPM leads the integration of bio and forest industries into a new, sustainable and innovation-driven future. Our products are made of renewable raw materials and are recyclable.

In 2013, Blandin was awarded UPM’s Safety Frontrunner award. The objective of the UPM Safety Awards is to recognize and reward outstanding safety performance and commitment to reaching world class safety.

Blandin Paper Company Quick Facts: Employs about 450, annual papermaking capacity: 408,000 short tons; forest land owned and managed: 187,000 acres.

Free guided tours of Blandin’s Number 6 paper line are offered on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 am to 3 pm, from the first Wednesday in June through the Friday before Labor Day. Tour guides escort small groups (10 or less in a group) through the mill on a continuous basis. The tour also includes a video presenting the history of the Mill and of the papermaking process. Children under the age of 12, open-toed shoes and cameras are not allowed. Please note that the ability to climb stairs is required, and the paper mill is very warm and humid.


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White Oak Fur Post

Learning Center & Fur Post

...

White Oak Fur Post

Learning Center & Fur Post

Contact: Lisa Polchow
33155 St Hwy 6
Deer RiverMN, 56636
Phone: 218-246-9393
Email: whiteoak@paulbunyan.net

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Step back in time to the late 18th Century with a trip to the White Oak Fur Post and experience the life of fur traders of that time.  The site features a fully reconstructed 1798 Northwest Company Post with features that interpret Northern Minnesota history.  See the company store and clerk’s quarters, the home of the Bourgeois, blacksmith shop, outdoor clay baking oven, garden, root cellar, smokehouse, and voyageurs’ winter quarters. The Gil Quail nature trail includes plants labeled in English, French and Ojibwe with directions on how each plant was used in 1798 for medicines, shelter and survival. The site also features a blackpowder shooting range and a primitive campground with 20 sites of private wooded camping.

Make reservations for your group to have a unique 17th century style five course dinner served by costumed servers in the Great Hall. Group tours of the post are available by appointment.

The fur post offers a wonderful History Days program each spring with a variety of educational workshops for youth and adults.  The Annual White Oak Rendezvous & Festival is held the first full weekend of August each summer and is open to the public. Check the calendar of events for the exact dates of these and other fun Grand Rapids area events.


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Additional Points of Interest

Minnesota Discovery Center (Formerly called IronWorld)
1005 Discovery Drive, Chisholm 800-372-6437