Located across from Peterson Park, the Cokato Museum houses much of the city’s past. As a cooperative effort between the City of Cokato and the Cokato Historical Society, it provides a walk through Cokato’s rich history dating back to the early settlers.
Located on the corner of Fourth Street and Millard Avenue, the museum features a variety of permanent exhibits displaying remnants of the past, along with featured exhibits throughout the year.
Past exhibits have included “This Won’t Hurt One bit: A Look at Past Medical Practices,” which highlighted some of the early – and often quirky (or quack) in some cases – medical practices.
Recently added is the temporary exhibit “Trains That Passed in the Night: Railroad Photographs of O.Winston Link.” The exhibit is on display from Memorial Day, May 30 through Labor Day, September 5.
Artifacts from some of its most significant historical landmarks, such as the post office, bank, pharmacy, and dentist’s office, are among the permanent displays.
The museum staff have expanded on several exhibits in the gallery in recent years. The most recent update was to the display highlighting Cokato’s long history of the canning factories, an industry important to the success of the local economy. Video display monitors have also been added to enhance some of the permanent galleries.
The exterior also received a new look with the addition of five 9-foot-by-7-foot panels featuring rotating photos from the museum’s collection.
Along with the temporary and permanent exhibits at the museum, the Cokato Historical Society also hosts an annual New Year’s open house with tin melting, a Finnish custom used to “predict” what will happen in the coming year.
The museum also hosts an annual open house acknowledging the birthday of the Village of Cokato, along with programs/presentations.
Listed on National Register of Historic Places, the Gust Akerlund Studio photography studio was built in 1905 and is another place that tells the story of Cokato’s rich history.
The studio, which is located just east of the museum on Broadway Avenue, is open for viewing and features original cameras, equipment, and furnishings used by the early 20th century photographer. Tours are provided by Cokato Museum staff.
The Cokato Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and closed major holidays. Tours are available by appointment. Check out the Cokato Museum’s website, www.cokatomuseum.org for more details, or call (320) 286-2427. There is no admission fee.