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Visit and Discover Our Local History

Our Museum Galleries feature 10,000 years of Borderland history. Exhibits document the northern Minnesota region including Native history and culture, European settlement, and the exploitation of natural resources through the fur trade to modern forestry.

As the last glacier retreated from the area, approximately 10,000 years ago, native peoples began to enter and settle the region. Our gallery illustrates this settlement and adaptation of these early people, offering a glimpse into this rich cultural sequence of events.

From the mid-1600s to the late 1800s, the fur trade dominated the region. International Falls-Fort Frances was a major trans-shipment center that supplied that Athabasca plains with trade goods and received pelts in return. The furs were then shipped to Europe to be fashioned into beaver felt hats and other clothing accessories.

Our photo gallery is a rotating exhibit that showcases the work of various artists from the region. It currently houses a small portion of photographs of environmentalist Ernest Oberholtzer, who documented the lifestyle of the native people of Rainy Lake between 1909-1960.

The museum is home to a horse-drawn Steam Fire Engine, likely built by the W.S Nott Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was purchased by the city of International Falls Fire Department in 1910 and was used until 1927, where it was then sold to the village of Ranier and used in their Fire Hall until 1974. The museum also houses a 1923 Studebaker, a 1956 Polaris snowmobile, and a large windsled that was used for travel across Rainy Lake.