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Minnesota museums are worth a diversion

  • May 24, 2014 - 2:00 PM

Every county in Minnesota has at least one museum, from Lake Bronson’s Kittson County History Center and Museum, in the northwest corner of the state, to the Historic Depot Museum in Rushford, Minn., in the southeast. We’re rich in places that entertain and educate us while preserving our history.

The Kittson museum displays a Red River ox cart, those creaking wooden boxes used in the fur trade or to move settlers and their families; a 1929 Harley Davidson motorcycle, and early agricultural machinery (332 E. Main St., Lake Bronson; 1-218-754-4100). In Rushford, the museum includes a historic two-story train depot and a one-room schoolhouse (401 S. Elm St., Rushford; 1-507-864-7560).

Follow the asphalt road (that would be Hwy. 169 for most of us) to Grand Rapids. That’s where the Judy Garland Museum, housed in the actress’ childhood home, offers a look at memorabilia, including the carriage that was used in “The Wizard of Oz” and once belonged to Abraham Lincoln (2727 Hwy. 169 S., Grand Rapids; 1-218-327-9276, 1-800-664-5839; www.judygarlandmuseum.com). Grand Rapids hosts the Wizard of Oz Festival June 10-15, which includes a showing of the 1939 classic under the stars on the museum grounds.

Another classic stop, the Spam Museum in Austin, will close for a year at the end of September while it relocates to downtown Austin. See it while you can (1101 N. Main St., Austin; 1-507-437-5100, 1-800-588-7726; www.spam.com).

Discover more of Minnesota’s 600 or so gems and download a museum app at www.minnesotamuseums.org/museums, website of the Minnesota Association of Museums.

Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.

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