Legacy of the Lakes Museum cruises into a new season

Regular hours will begin Friday, May 21.

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Two Chris-Craft boats are separated by a wooden walkway in the Legacy of the Lakes Museum. The rigs are the same model, but the one on the left shows the boat after restoration efforts. “There is Only One: Chris-Craft” is one of the museum's five new exhibits for the 2021 season. (Jasmine Johnson / Echo Press)

Exchanging and rerouting old routines, adjusting to accumulated changes from the last calendar year and figuring out what to do in the absence of previous volunteers.

That’s what executive director Carol Swenson said occupied her mind at a Monday morning, May 17 meeting at the Legacy of the Lakes Museum.

The museum will open for the season Friday, May 21, and five new exhibits will be featured.

Kaci Johnson, communications and programs director, has helped coordinate and curate these on the museum front, but she said most of the ideas and inspiration have come from committee and board members.

One board member’s suggestion was to partner with the Alexandria Golf Club to showcase the 100th anniversary of the Resorters Tournament. The display includes stories, photos and items from the century-long history of the tournament.


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An Alexandria Golf Club sign sits near an exhibit devoted to the Resorters Tournament. Stories, photos and memorabilia are organized against one wall, and a putting green mat is available for museum goers to interact with. (Jasmine Johnson / Echo Press)

In addition to fresh ideas, Johnson said long-time board members also provide input on how to show previous exhibits from new perspectives. For example, the exhibit “There is Only One: Chris-Craft” in the museum’s North Gallery focuses on hardtop boats. One of which is Topper, a 1929 28-foot Chris-Craft sedan on loan from the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, N.Y.

For the past two years, the museum has been working on a series called “Slo Boats” to highlight boats without motors.

“We dedicate a lot of our floorspace to power, so this is a way to talk about boats that have been powered by wind or oars or paddles,” Johnson said.

Last season, that was canoes. This year, it includes “Clinker-Built Boats.” The centerpiece of this exhibit is a 21-foot faering. Dating back to the age of Vikings, faerings are still used today for fishing and racing. The boat on display in the museum was hand-built by Nóatún Community Wooden Boat Works in Duluth.

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More than 40 entries from the Pledge-a-Paddle Community Art Contest are on display in the Legacy of the Lakes Museum. From a quilted wrap to a carved dragonfly, artists submitted a wide variety of designs. “Love to see the creativity from people,” said Kaci Johnson, communications and programs director. (Jasmine Johnson / Echo Press)


More than 40 paddle entries from the Pledge-a-Paddle Community Art Contest will be displayed in the Paddle Art Gallery. Visitors can stop in for free to vote for their favorite in the adult and youth categories. The People’s Choice, Juror’s and Artists’ awards will be announced once voting ends in early August.

On the Pontoon,” the museum’s fifth new exhibit, outlines the history of the modern pontoon and the culture surrounding the “floating living rooms.”

Piecing together the finishing touches to all of the new displays this week, Johnson said she’s most excited for the museum to be fully open to the public again. Although she appreciated last year’s new pieces, she was disappointed that many people missed the opportunity to see them because of the COVID-19 restrictions in place.

“While we did do some great innovations with technology, there’s nothing that compares to seeing something in person,” Johnson said.

The museum is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, visit .

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One of the five new exhibits at the Legacy of the Lakes Museum features a faering boat. Since a majority of the museum is devoted to powered water vehicles, the museum started a series two years ago called “Slo Boats” to highlight boats that function in different ways, such as sails and paddles. (Jasmine Johnson / Echo Press)

Jasmine Johnson joined the Echo Press staff in May 2020 as a general assignment reporter. She grew up in Becker, Minn., and later studied journalism and graphic design at Bethel University in Arden Hills, Minn.
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