Fur trade history exhibit in Wadena

Explore the fascinating people and places of Minnesota’s first global business in “Fur Trade in Minnesota,” a new traveling exhibit from the Minnesota History Center opening Aug. 5 at the Wadena County Historical Society. 

Hundreds of years ago, Minnesota played a key role in the fur trade which stretched across five continents. 

Visitors to the exhibit can try to lift a 45-pound Voyageur’s pack, learn how the fur trade shaped Ojibwe art and discover how beaver pelts could be transformed into sleek, stately hats that were all the rage among wealthy Europeans. 

“Fur Trade in Minnesota” will be on view through Sept. 23.

The show was created by the Minnesota History Center’s “Exhibits to Go” program which brings Minnesota history to communities statewide. 

Over the past several years, the Wadena County Historical Society has arranged for archaeological excavations of fur trade sites in Wadena County. Most recently, the University of Minnesota, under the direction of Amelie Allard, investigated the site where fur trader Joseph Reaume set up a winter camp in the late 18th century. 

Earlier, archaeological excavations took place at the Old Wadena Historic Site. The research learned from these excavations has made a major contribution to knowledge about the relationships between fur traders and indigenous groups. 

The artifacts excavated from these sites are now part of the permanent collection of the Wadena County Historical Society. They will be on display during the Fur Trade Exhibit. 

The Wadena County Historical Society is located at 603 Jefferson St. N, Wadena. For more information or to arrange guided tours, call 218 631-9079 or email 603wchs@arvig.net

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