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Museums to host holiday open houses

Holiday edibles, museum tours, music, mingling and more are all planned as part of the Perham museums’ holiday open houses.

The History Museum of East Otter Tail County will hold an open house on Tuesday, Dec. 10 from 4-7 p.m., and the In Their Own Words Veterans Museum will hold its open house on Thursday, Dec. 12 from 4-7 p.m.

The open houses will be free and open to the public.

The nonprofit History and Cultural Association of East Otter Tail County oversees both museums.

“We are planning fun, community-based events each month so that people get to know their museums and all they have to offer,” said the association’s executive director, Darla Ellingson. “We’re also having 25 percent off storewide in our retail areas to reduce our inventory before we have to count it at the end of the year – it’s a great chance to find something out of the ordinary for gift giving.”

At the History Museum, guests will be treated during the open house to a new exhibit, “Service Through Four Generations.”

“Albert Meyer purchased the Guse Service Station in Perham in 1939,” said Sara Canada, the historian who put the display together. “It’s interesting to see how the service station has changed and grown over four generations.”

The History Museum of East Otter Tail County was established as Perham’s first museum in 1998 in the former library building after the new library was built on the same block. The focus of the collection is on the history, culture and people of East Otter Tail County. Much of the photo and document portion of the collection has been digitized and is available online.

At the ITOW Veterans Museum, open house guests can view an exhibit plan in progress with artifacts from the crash of a bomber during World War II, and temporary display of a recently acquired World War I uniform.

ITOW displays video-recorded stories of veterans from the region, as well as artifacts from World War I through the Gulf War. The collection covers a broader Midwest region. The building also contains a large art gallery, suitable for community functions up to 250 people, and has meeting rooms where veterans groups meet on a monthly basis.

Attached to ITOW is a volunteer-run thrift store, The White Elephant. During the open house, White Elephant volunteers will be taking names of those interested in signing up for art and craft classes, or teaching, in 2014.

For more information, visit the museums on Facebook or contact Darla Ellingson at