About Us

The Iron Range Historical Society has numerous file cabinets containing information on Iron Range occupations and the various cities, towns and townships in this region, and also manuscripts on Iron Range Life in the past. An inventory is maintained to help locate requested information. Our files contain many 50, 75 and 100 year anniversary booklets for local cities and towns, including Aurora – The First Century; Impressions of Embarrass (1905-2005) and the Hoyt Lakes 50th Anniversary book. Many other local areas celebrated anniversaries and reunions in the past few years, and many of them produced books for these occasions.

The Iron Range Historical Society has a collection of more than 20,000 photographs in 80 albums, many of them unique and original. These are to be used in displays, for family histories or to be reprinted, with permission, in author’s books. More than 50 books contain acknowledgements to the Iron Range Historical Society by their authors. The most recent include Mary Lou Nemanic’s One Day for Democracy; John Leopard’s DM&IR Railroad; Tom Phillipich’s 1951 Basketball Buccaneers; Marvin Lamppa’s Iron Country; Stephen Ivancic’s The Incident at the Bruce Shaft; Megan Marsnik’s Under Ground and Kenneth Ringer’s Gene Lorendo. Many large framed photos are also owned by the museum. We own a massive collection of Ely, Minnesota photographs and memorabilia, the Brownell collection, which is currently on loan to our affiliate member, the Ely-Winton Historical Society.

Our Research Library contains many books dealing with Iron Range matters such as ethnic influences and recipes, immigration, work experiences and family life. We are not a lending library, but pages of information may be copied for research purposes. The Society also has several new books for sale. These were written with the assistance of, and some of them published by, the Iron Range Historical Society. For a list of these publications, click here.

In addition, every year items are donated to the Iron Range Historical Society, including books, photographs, office machines, clothing, mining and logging artifacts, and other material of archeological, geological or historical significance. Each item has an acquisition paper describing the item and listing the source. The item is tagged and numbered so the donor can be identified. Among our artifacts in storage are a number of law enforcement items, such as billy clubs, handcuffs, weapons, shields, and even a moonshine still! Our jail area has many unique features, including the only remaining stand-up jail cell in existence.

The Iron Range Historical Society also has many traveling exhibits, including the Italians in America Project, consisting of 12 professionally done panels, developed by Mary Ellen Mancina Batinich, PhD, and project director Joe Miheve. Gail Peterson was the artist for two of the paintings, The Jet Piercing Drill and the Erie Preliminary Plant . This display was used by Ironworld during their Italian Day and the paintings have been shown in a number of places.

The Iron Range Historical Society has recently acquired a computer with available Wi-Fi internet connection, and a TV/VCR is also available to view video cassettes and DVDs of historical value, including Marvin Lamppa’s Iron Country series.