ST. CLOUD -- Some big changes are coming to the Stearns History Museum.

The museum is in the process of remodeling their two-level gallery into a more modern and interactive space.

Exhibits & Collections Curator Eric Cheever says the layout has been the same since the 1980s and with the museum currently at limited occupancy, they felt now was the perfect opportunity.

When this was built in the 1980s, it was built around the idea of small display cases. Right now we are more interested in creating environments and interactive experiences as opposed to trinkets in a display case.

Currently the upstairs mezzanine level has been removed, creating an open concept look to the back of the gallery.

Cheever says the remodel not only provides them with the ability to get more creative with their exhibits but allows them to display several artifacts in storage that were too large for the original space.

This will allow us to bring over artifacts that previously we had no way of displaying. I'm really excited to work with the verticality and start using space and height to design exhibits around.

He says the goal is to create a more flexible space throughout the building, to give staff the ability to change out artifacts more frequently and give people something new to see.

Once completed, Cheever says the first two exhibits planned for the renovated space will be a broader story of the 33rd and Cooper Avenue property, and the other will focus on Stearns County and World War II.

If all goes well the remodel is expected to be completed in April, with the new exhibits on display starting in May.

While the main gallery is closed you can get a sneak peek at the upcoming exhibits right now in the lobby at the museum. Reservations are recommended but not required and you're asked to limit your visiting group size to ten people or less and wear masks.

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Stearns History Museum Remodel