The saying “a picture paints a thousand words” is never more true than when looking at historic photographs. Historic photos cause wonder, inspire imagination, start conversations, and preserve our stories. Set out a few old photographs in a social gathering and people begin to reminisce. To encourage people to share their stories and to bring unknown history to light, a collaborative partnership, called Preserving and Sharing History, was formed between the Koochiching County Historical Society (the society) and Voyageurs National Park (the park).
Many people who once lived or worked or summered in what is now Voyageurs National Park currently live or have relatives in communities surrounding the park. What better places to capture the history of Voyageurs National Park and this beautiful North Woods region than in the gathering sites of these area towns? Historic photograph displays for area communities are being created by the partnership to provoke conversations about the captivating story of our northern Minnesota-Ontario border. To date, International Falls, Ranier, Littlefork, Big Falls, Mizpah, Birchdale, and Loman are participating in the historic photograph project. Soon the society and park will be expanding locations of history displays to include the gateway communities of Kabetogama, Ash River, Crane Lake, and Orr. To foster future conversations about our history, other types of exhibits are being crafted, including displays of museum objects and travelling electronic picture frames. History is a non-renewable resource; once it is lost it cannot be regained. The society and park are dedicated in their partnership to preserving and sharing the borderland’s fascinating, uniquely forged stories.