Mighty Mississippi Exhibit Attracting New Visitors to Itasca County Historical Society
The Historical Society is Celebrating the Opening of a New Exhibit Showcasing the Mississippi River in Itasca County
GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – According to Explore Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, annually, tourism brings nearly $76 million and over 1,500 jobs to Itasca County.
Now one new attraction featuring the mighty Mississippi River is attracting tourists to the region.
“Our advertising is a turtle named Patty, and a snapper named Sandy,” said Lilah Crowe, executive director of the Itasca County Historical Society in Grand Rapids. “The snapper comes up the Mississippi River, and Patty introduces her to everything in our community.”
It often takes a friend to help explore new horizons.
At the Itasca County Historical Society along Pokegama Avenue, they’re using nature to attract new visitors.
“What we were granted was to be an interpretative site for the Mississippi River within Itasca County,” said Crowe.
Staff is celebrating the addition of ‘The River Room,’ showcasing the history of the mighty Mississippi in Itasca County from way back when up to the present day.
“We’ve had probably three times as much tourism this year than we had three years ago in our normal tourism season,” said Crowe.
You might think COVID-19 negatively impacted small societies such as this one. However, the reality is refreshing.
“COVID hit historical societies,” said Crowe. “We got what people would say ‘slammed.’”
Crowe says it took nearly a year to get the funds for this new attraction. After that, it took two weeks for a local artist to work creative magic on the ‘river wall.’
“There’s just so much for each age level to do here,” said Crowe.
Aside from exploring the natural beauty of Itasca County, folks are also flocking in amid the ongoing pandemic to do a little research into the past.
“We had a family come in today from down in Iowa and they’re investigating their family from Effie, and by the time they left they just felt like they were in heaven,” said Crowe.
From old family history to new adventures, if you ask any local in the Grand Rapids region, they’ll offer an abundance of activities to enjoy in the great outdoors.
“We’re finding that our trails are being used far more than ever even by the local people,” said Crowe. “Grand Rapids, it’s in Minnesota’s nature. We’re just even proud to say that because we are in nature. Our lakes are beautiful and we work really hard to keep them clean.”
Click here for more information from the Itasca County Historical Society.