Legacy of the Lakes Museum and Gardens in Alexandria is opening for the season on Wednesday, July 1.

New this year is “Paddling Through the Past: Dugout and Birch Bark Canoes.” The exhibit looks at the people and methods used to construct dugouts and birch bark canoes in Minnesota. Visitors will learn about everything from the archaeology to the voyageurs and how they connect to these early forms of boat building.

Also included in the exhibit is the Paddle Art created by community members during the Pledge-a-Paddle Community Art Contest. Visitors to the museum will be able to vote for their favorite piece of paddle art. A reception for the artists is in the works for a future date.

The Dungeness, Frieda, and Miss Irene launches take center stage of the Mammel Exhibit Hall in a new exhibit. These three rare and beautifully restored launches are from the earliest days of powered boating and are symbols of a by-gone era. From the engine that boils naphtha (a flammable oil) to a bicycle part company that starts making boats to one of the wealthiest families of the Gilded Age, each launch has a unique story to tell.

Boat classics Dixie Baby, on loan from the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, New York, and Black Jack, loaned by John Allen, return for a second year, along with a new addition, for “Golden Age Race Boats.” The history of wood boat racing is a story of passion, war, ingenuity, and speed.

This exhibit takes visitors through the rise of wood boat racing and the men and women who pioneered the sport. Big names like Chris Smith, John Hacker, and Gar Wood appear often in the story and helped make boat racing what it is today.

Along with new and returning exhibits, the museum has been implementing new safety guidelines and measures in response to COVID-19. These measures include installing new hand sanitizing stations, requiring guests to provide contact information, removing interactive exhibit elements to limit points of contact, requiring masks to be worn by staff, and setting up a sanitizing schedule of high traffic areas.

Guests are strongly encouraged to wear masks and maintain the recommended six feet of distance between individuals from different parties. For more information on the steps being taken by the museum, visit legacyofthelakes.org.

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday and is closed on holidays. Admission prices range from $5 to $10.