Minnesota Newspaper Museum’s future in question

Minnesota Newspaper Museum’s future in question


Minnesota Newspaper Museum’s future in question,
2013 will likely be last year in present location at the State Fair

The Minnesota Newspaper Foundation (MNF) was informed July 24 of plans by the Minnesota State Fair to raze Heritage Square and revamp the area into a transportation hub.

The Fair Board has not officially adopted the plan but it is “95-98% likely” that it will happen, according to Jim Sinclair, Deputy General Manager of the State Fair. The final vote to proceed will be made by the Fair Board prior to Labor Day of this year. Work is likely to start soon after the close of the 2013 Fair.

The project will mean that the Minnesota Newspaper Museum that has been a part of Heritage Square since 1987 will need to be moved or razed.

The MNF Board of Directors held a conference call meeting on July 25 where it voted to seek bids for the cost of relocating the building. On August 2 the Board met again to review the costs and discuss the future of the museum.

The price tag to move the concrete block/brick building and relocate it to another location on the State Fairgrounds and make necessary repairs could run as high as $80,000. At its August 2nd meeting the Board voted to go on record as stating “In the absence of a benefactor, the Minnesota Newspaper Foundation does not have the financial resources to move the Minnesota Newspaper Museum to another location on the State Fairgrounds.”

The State Fair has indicated that the building would be razed as part of the construction of the new mass transit hub and entrance gate complex where Heritage Square is now located.

The MNF Board also agreed that, unless the museum stays at the State Fair, it is not feasible for the Minnesota Newspaper Foundation to continue to operate of the museum.

All the equipment and personal property must be removed from the present building before the end of September. The Board voted to keep the collection intact and hire professional movers to remove the equipment and other items following the close of the 2013 State Fair. The collection will be stored in a building owned by the State Fair until May 1, 2014, or until another “home” for it can be found.  It is the Board’s desire “to preserve the Minnesota Newspaper Museum’s equipment as part of our industry’s history and heritage, and to keep our collection intact.”

The Board will be entertaining ideas for finding a new location, either at the State Fairgrounds or off-site with another group or organization.

“We will be exploring many ideas in the coming months ,” said Julie Bergman, president of the Minnesota Newspaper Foundation. “We urge those with ideas to contact us so that we can investigate every possible solution to this very sad and unexpected development. We are hopeful that there will be an option that presents itself which will allow our unique collection to be displayed and used to tell the story of our industry’s unique history.”

An Appreciation Event for volunteers, donors and museum supporters will be held on Saturday, September 7, at the museum. More information will follow.

About the Museum

Since 1987, visitors to the Minnesota State Fair have had the opportunity to experience the 1930s-era weekly newspaper office of the “Maynard News,” located in Heritage Square.

The newspaper museum, established by the Minnesota Newspaper Foundation, features letterpress equipment and is a working replica of a small town newspaper.

Authentic in detail, the museum holds the much of the contents of the actual “Maynard News” which operated in Maynard, Minnesota, for most of the town’s 100+ years. Additional printing equipment was donated through the years by other individuals around the state.

Since the museum’s grand opening 26 years ago, volunteers have donated their time, equipment and financial resources to keep the museum operating as a working tribute to the era. Each year the museum receives tens of thousands of visitors to see a four page newspaper produced.

The Newspaper Museum is owned by the Minnesota Newspaper Foundation and is operated entirely by volunteers and financial contributions. The mission of the Foundation is to preserve the past while expanding the understanding between those who produce Minnesota’s newspapers and those who read and use them, emphasizing the role and obligations of a free press in a free society.

For more information, questions or comments contact:

Julie Bergman
President, Minnesota Newspaper Foundation

To volunteer at the Minnesota Newspaper Museum contact:
Volunteers are still needed for the 2013 run of the State Fair. Morning and afternoon slots are available for most of the 12 days.  Please contact us as soon as possible.

Minnesota Newspaper Museum
Volunteer Operations
P.O. Box 163
Farmington, MN 55024

Michelle Leonard