For this episode, Sean Thomas caught up with Ms. Emily Thabes, the Executive Director of the Beltrami County Historical Society located in Bemidji Minnesota. I think after listening to the program, you’ll agree that she and her team are sustaining a whirlwind of activity all of which provides value to the community!
We learned about how the historical society is working on building and improving the complicated relationships between the historical society and the native Ojibwe and Dakota 1st nations located in the county.
Emily is excited to share a new exhibit located at the historical society Depot called: Beltrami Women in Winter Sports. There are a number of Beltrami County women athletes who have made it to the Olympics.
We learn about a great man by the name of John Morrison who was a renaissance man, running a General Store and Trading Post, filling the role of Postmaster, being a Headmaster of a local school, and starting the Historical Society.
The Beltrami Historical Society will celebrate their seventieth anniversary in 2022. There are also anniversaries this year for the federal Title IV law and the Winter Olympics!
Early in the society’s history, in the 1950’s; Charles Vandersluis collected 150+ oral histories from residents of Beltrami County. Many of them are from native American inhabitants. The society is working on digitizing and transcribing these and will make them available online via their website. These items are pure GOLD and wonderful.
The society serves over 80 townships, native nations, and reservations in the county. They are planning to go on the road to complete a “Township Tour” throughout the County.
The society is partnering with a consortium of Minnesota museums and historical societies to create exhibits about a history of toys.
Learn about the two grants for core work to support collection preservation that the historical society were awarded recently.
The society is redoing both their online website store and the gift shop in the historical society depot.
Volunteers always needed and there is a wide range of opportunities for volunteers. Something for everyone. Helping with tours, and collection management work. Digitization of materials. Setting up gift shop and online store. Writing articles, designing brochures. To volunteer, simply fill out the volunteer form on the website. It is also available at the society depot.
We review the multitude of excellent programs that the society has designed to share and offer education.
We review Emily’s list of the most immediate priorities for the public to help with.
Many thanks to Emily for taking the time to meet with Preservation Oaks! If you’re a listener in the area the society serves, OR if you’re a listener researching ancestors in the community the society serves and you’re not already a member, please consider joining and supporting the society! There are a number of great benefits conferred upon members!
You can connect with the Beltrami County Historical Society at their website at
Beltrami County Historical Society (beltramihistory.org)
130 Minnesota Ave SW
Bemidji, MN 56601
I hope this information helps the audience understand how valuable the society is the community and what kinds of excellent services they have to offer to their members and the public. The Beltrami Historical Society is truly one of our Preservation Oaks!