Museum Groundbreaking

The ice cream will taste especially sweet at the Merrill Historical Society’s 23rd Annual Ice Cream Social June 13 because the event will include breaking ground to begin construction of the $1 million Merrill History & Culture Center at 100 E. Third St. in Merrill.

It was at the June 23, 2010 Ice Cream Social that the It’s About Time capital campaign was launched to raise money for a new museum building and renovate the Heritage Center.

According to Bea Lebal, President, fund raising has been sufficiently successful to allow the Historical Society to construct the building as first envisioned six years ago when the project was developed.

A principle reason for the capital campaign, she noted, was to create a place in which to display Merrill historical artifacts for school classes and the general public, and to do so in an exciting, interesting and educational setting.

Lebal said the new Merrill History & Culture Center will be a beautiful community resource that will host a variety of historical, arts, cultural and civic activities, and serve as an attraction to promote the community of Merrill and its economic development.

Fund raising will continue so that the Center can be furnished with modern technology to support interactive exhibits and computer aided research.

New Museum Features

The new 4,000 square foot museum will connect to the existing Heritage Wing (the former Bethlehem Lutheran Church) at the location on the Prairie River.

The Center will incorporate green building technologies and energy efficiencies. It will be environmentally controlled to protect and preserve valuable collections. The project will bring all elements into compliance with accessibility codes. An elevator will connect the three levels of buildings.

The 650-square-foot exhibit hall will employ display panels that are moved on a floor-mounted grid system. The room will flex and adapt to the context, theme, type and size of exhibits. The electronics will accommodate new exhibit technologies and interactive displays. The lobby and adjacent corridors will provide overflow exhibit space.

The library will provide a comfortable setting to conduct historical research aided by computer technology. The Pinery will have a new permanent home. One of the Society’s most popular exhibits, it will replicate a lumber camp shed interior with open-beam ceiling. Visitors will experience the timber era and learn about Merrill’s historical ties to the wood products industry.

Heritage Center Uses

Will Be Expanded

With completion of the Heritage Center renovation and remodeling, two levels of meeting and exhibit space will be created. The upper level will provide 1,800 square feet of flexible space for education programs, exhibits and gatherings.

The lower level will provide 1,200 square feet for meetings and rotating displays from the collections.

Public Invited to the Ice Cream Social

The Ice Cream Social begins at 5:30 p.m. with a traditional picnic meal featuring hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, and ice cream in a cone, with strawberries, or ala mode with homemade pie. Richard Hagedorn, the One Man Band, will entertain. The public is invited.

The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children under five. The old-fashioned price includes the picnic lunch, ice cream and pie, and beverage. The cost is $3 for ice cream and pie only.

To Donate to It’s About Time

Speaking for the Historical Society’s more than 500 members, Lebal said, “This is an exciting moment in our history. We are very grateful for the generous support the community has shown for this project. But there is more to be done, and we hope that the groundbreaking will encourage additional support.”

Contributions to the It’s About Time campaign may be made by check, pledge or bequest to: Merrill Area Historical Society, 102 East 3rd Street, Merrill, WI 54452. Donations can be made online at

Information is available from Patricia Burg, Treasurer, via the Historical Society, 715.536.5652, or by email at [email protected].

The Merrill Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. All contributions are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

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