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A grand reopening at WCHS

Photos by Rachelle Klemme Executive Director Sandi Pratt and John Crandall show the new exhibits at Wadena County Historical Society.

The Wadena County Historical Society had its grand reopening Wednesday, May 18, displaying a new remodeled look and some new features.

Executive Director Sandi Pratt began the remodeling process in 2006.

"It just seemed like everything needed updating," she said.

Before then, she said, the museum was organized by shelves instead of exhibits. The project involved grant writing, donated items from the area and a lot of work from the Historical Society and volunteers.

"My whole family is helping me a lot," Pratt said.

More than 8,000 hours of volunteering were logged in 2010. In 2009, the number was around 6,000.

"A lot of people say it's a museum to be proud of now," she said. is a new feature at the Historical Society. Visitors can use the computer to research their family history. The website is subscription-based, and a donation was provided to start up the service. Pratt said that free-will donations from users who are not already paying members of the Historical Society may keep the service running.

Other areas inside the museum include Native American history, fashion of the early 20th Century, photos of Wadena County towns and settlements including the now-defunct Shell City, a Christmas room, a war memorabilia room, railroad maps, old medical equipment, an old-fashioned classroom, Red Owl memorabilia, 1953 color TV in the parlor and more.