Quite a display

MARSHALL – Standing behind the counter, scooping chocolate ice cream into a cone – it was a task that brought back a lot of memories, Kathy Lozinski said.

“I used to work at Raines’ Cafe (in Marshall),” Lozinski said. She remembered when employees from the Schwan Food Co. offices used to come down for lunch. And even though it’s been 40-some years since she worked at the cafe, Lozinski said she still remembered the way she was taught to make an ice cream cone. “You have to put a little ice cream in the cone. That gives the scoop something to stick to.”

The ice cream counter where Lozinski and Jan Maeyaert-Hansen were serving visitors was one of the new additions dedicated Wednesday during an open house at the Lyon County Museum. Visitors and local officials were present as an American flag was raised on the new flagpole out front, and the first frozen treats were served

In his opening remarks at the dedication, Neal Ingebrigtson of the Lyon County Historical Society said contributions from the area community helped make the ongoing work at the museum possible.

“A lot of people have been very kind, and we really appreciate it,” Ingebrigtson said.

The flagpole will be the centerpiece of a small patio area outside the museum, on the corner of West Lyon Street and 3rd Street. Ingebrigtson said the Marshall American Legion and VFW posts contributed the flagpole, and local businesses are helping with the patio and a railing around the area.

Getting the museum’s vintage-styled ice cream counter up and running has taken a lot of work, both to install fixtures like sinks and to comply with state standards for food preparation areas, said museum director Jennifer Andries. However, it’s both a fun showpiece and a way to remember the connection the Schwan Food Co. has with Marshall.

“Ice cream is the heritage product of our company and how we got started,” said Bruce Saugstad, the senior vice president of the Schwan ice cream division. He said the company wanted to extend its thanks for the dedication of the ice cream counter. “This is outstanding.”

A glass display case hanging near the ice cream counter also made the Schwan connection clear, with photographs and items telling the history of the Schwan Food Co. and the Schwan family.

Wednesday’s open house was also a chance for the museum to showcase its recently completed lower-level exhibits. The main room on the museum’s basement level features a permanent exhibit on the history of the Minnesota prairie, the pioneers and the early days of agriculture in Lyon County.

“It covers the period from the 1870s until about the 1920s,” Andries said. Displays include antique farm implements, a “prairie schooner” wagon and a log cabin. For the open house, Celeste Suter and Bonny Doyle were also running some live demonstrations of spinning wool thread and making brooms from broom corn stalks.

The museum’s upper floor is still in the process of being renovated, although a community room for meetings and special events has been finished, Andries said.

“It feels like we’re getting further along,” she said. “It’s nice to have two more things for people to see.”

There’s still a lot of work to do to finish the museum, however. Planning exhibits for the upper floor may be a little more of a challenge, as there’s not a set time period or theme to follow, Andries said. There’s also a lot of inventory and cataloging that needs to be done.

She said the next step for the museum will be to apply for a grant to get an exhibit designer for the upper floor.