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Lake County Historical Society hires museum manager

Ellen Lynch, the Lake County Historical Society's new manager, poses for a photo outside the Depot Museum last week. (Jimmy Lovrien/News-Chronicle)

Ellen Lynch has always loved museums.

A Maple Grove native, Lynch grew up going to the Twin Cities' Science Museum of Minnesota, the Minnesota History Center and Bell Museum.

Lynch, 27, hired in March as the Lake County Historical Society's museum manager, now brings that passion to the Historical Society, where she oversees the Depot Museum, 3M Museum and Two Harbors Light Station.

"History being brought to life is something that's really amazing. There's a lot of amazing stories that haven't really quite been told in our history books," Lynch said. "So I enjoy pulling those stories out and connecting them to present day."

Lynch replaces LCHS Executive Director Mel Sando who left earlier this year.

Her first few weeks on the job have been spent figuring out "what roles the Historical Society can really fill in the community," Lynch said.

Jennifer Niemi, treasurer of the LCHS Executive Board, said Lynch's desire to connect and network with area businesses and schools stuck out.

"She had some really great ideas that we hadn't heard from other candidates that really played to the strengths of the community," Niemi said.

Lynch wants that to be established through added networking expanded outreach.

"Just really bringing that history to life and really developing a program ... at least once a month to kind of bring our museum to life, get people down to the museum," Lynch said.

One way of doing that, according to Lynch, is by building relationships with area schools.

In her role as an interpreter at the Mill City Museum, she often lead school tours where she'd see the students have "aha" moments. She wants more of that at LCHS.

"Students who spend all their time in classrooms and then they go to this field trip and, oh — the pieces start to fit together," Lynch said.

Niemi said that could energize a new demographic of museum attendees.

"It'd be great to see some young members coming in ... just to make the Historical Society, moving forward, more relevant to a younger audience and younger families in the community," Niemi said.

Lynch worked for five years in Twin Cities museums, including the Edina Historical Society as a collections inventory specialist and the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis as a visitors services associate.

Lynch earned her master's degree in museum studies with a focus in anthropology and education from the University of Kansas at Lawrence.

Although only a month into her role at LCHS, Lynch has identified plenty of things she wants to work on in the future.

"There's a lot of great stories that we can really do a lot with," Lynch said, adding that the 3M Museum offers the chance to incorporate science, technology, education, arts and math — commonly referred to as the acronym "STEAM."

"There's the potential to do a lot with these three sites, and I was really excited to move up here to be a part of it," Lynch said.

Jimmy Lovrien

Jimmy Lovrien is a reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. He spent the summer of 2015 as an intern for the Duluth News Tribune and was hired full time in October 2017 as a reporter for the Weekly Observer. He also reported for the Lake County News-Chronicle in 2017-18. Lovrien grew up in Alexandria, Minn., but moved to Duluth in 2013 to attend The College of St. Scholastica. Lovrien graduated from St. Scholastica in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in English and history. He also spent a summer studying journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

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