May 17 2010
The sites of the Minnesota Historical Society are one of our state’s treasures, each different in location and type of history. We’ve visited many of them in the past several years, from the Forest History Center logging camp to the Oliver Kelley 1850′s farm, from the Jeffers Petroglyphs to the Harkin Store. This past weekend, we made the drive to Pine City, Minnesota, to visit the North West Company Fur Post.
Located just a few miles off I-35, the North West Company Fur Post is a recreated living history museum that portrays the life of the fur trade in northern Minnesota in the early 19th century. Through the stories of a costumed guide, visitors learn about the Ojibwe people who traded furs, bark, and other goods at the post, as well as discovering what the daily life of a voyageur was like. Our boys weren’t quite ready to sign a contract to be a voyageur, but they were more than happy to play with the children’s toys from the era.
The modern visitor center has museum exhibits about the fur trade, which include a birch bark canoe and several hands-on activities for children.
Guided tours to the post require a short walk down a level path. Other paths are also available, the longest of which is 1/2 mile, and are excellent for enjoying views of the adjacent Snake River or wildlife. We spotted various animal tracks, heard several birds, and a butterfly landed on my foot along the trail.
Special events are held throughout the year; we were there as the post was remembering the War of 1812. Day camps and field trips are also popular at the post.
We’ve learned about fur trading before at North Dakota’s Fort Union, Manitoba’s Lower Fort Garry, and the Minnesota Historical Society’s Sibley House, and although all of these sites had similar purposes, they were each set up uniquely and there is something different to learn at each of them.
More about the North West Company Fur Post at Uptake.