19 November 2009

And another research closure: Iron Range Research Center

Well, it has actually had a name change from that before today. But that doesn't matter when the place will now be closed to the public as of Friday, 20 November 2009 at 5:00 p.m. The name change to Minnesota Discovery Center didn't help the complex which is located in Chisholm, Minnesota.

The announcement says that it will be temporarily closed to the public. Read the announcement here. Yes, finances are the reason. The place formerly known as The Iron Range Interpretive Center, and also as Ironworld, opened in 1977. It was initially funded during the administration of then Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich. Perpich was from the Iron Range area of northeastern Minnesota. The research area opened in 1980.

The core collection concentrated on the people of the Iron Range area of Northeastern Minnesota, and on the area's iron mining and logging industries. Then it took on a wider scope with the addition of statewide censuses, soundexes, and county level naturalization records for Minnesota. The IRRC also had microfilms of federal census records and soundexes for Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The collection includes governmental records, personal papers, newspapers, church records, maps, family histories, city directories, and an interesting oral history collection. I loved the index to mining accidents and deaths.

Volunteers indexed many records such as the statewide index to district court (county level) naturalizations. The indexes were on its website. The naturalization index is also available at Ancestry.com.

I have been thinking of doing a blog post to let researchers know more about this place but I certainly didn't think it would be about sad news.

1 comment:

Jane said...

Thanks for this word, Paula. A former colleague is (was) one of the staff there. Seems like it was such a unique facility, great collections. Any chance they might reorganize and come out with shorter hours, fewer staff, like some places??