Ontonagon County Historical Society Museum recovers from mold scare

The Society continues to clean and preserve artifacts following a mold scare in the autumn of 2020
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 7:09 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ONTONAGON Mich. (WLUC) - During the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the Ontonagon County Historical Society’s Museum was closed. This resulted in a spread of mold due to trapped moisture.

Organic materials such as historical clothing and artworks were especially affected.

“When it was closed, we didn’t have proper airflow going in the building,” said Ontonagon County Historical Society President Dean Juntunen. “Usually, people are coming in and out, and you have better airflow. And our museum was overstuffed, so we had a mold bloom in the autumn of that year.”

The Society reached out to the Keweenaw National Historical Park, which provided assistance. This includes grants for storage and access to a special freezer that eliminates mold from artifacts.

The museum has made great strides in rescuing numerous artifacts, the latest being its archives.

“College students, who work during the summer for the Keweenaw National Historical Park, helped us move all of our archival materials out of our upstairs,” continued Juntunen. “So we’re freezing some of that, and then the other stuff we’re storing in off-site storage.”

Despite the scare, the Society has seen it as an opportunity to revitalize what the museum offers.

“It’s given us new life,” said Ontonagon County Historical Society Volunteer Curator Carol Maas. “Because we’re finding things that are very important to Ontonagon history and tell important stories, and this has just added energy to getting things cataloged and stored properly.”

The museum is also creating more interactive exhibits for visitors, such as a schoolroom. Additionally, there’s a medical exhibit featuring an iron lung.

The museum remains open, Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visiting is free, but donations are welcome.

For more information about the museum and the Ontonagon County Historical Society, click here.

Copyright 2022 WLUC. All rights reserved.