Summer News

Can you believe it’s already July?!  [PDF Version]

This season seems to be flying by. From the unknown of whether we’d be able to open, to the rush to prepare physically and mentally once we got word we could open, to the organized chaos of opening and implementing new protocols – we have finally hit a steady stride with this new system for operations.

So, here we are, the second week of July.

It seems like everything has revolved around getting used to the updates and changes to the Museum as they relate to Covid-19. As we have become more comfortable with the work-flow, we’ve been able to make appropriate changes to the operations plan for greater efficiency and better customer service. We are truly grateful for the grace and patience that our visitors have extended to us and appreciate their cooperation with our new safety policies.

However, other things HAVE been happening since we last updated you on Museum business.

Canoe Raffle

Visitor Judy Petty from Tennessee bought a Canoe Raffle ticket on a whim last year at the Blueberry Arts Festival, little did she know she would be the 2019 raffle winner! Tennessee is quite the haul from Minnesota, let alone the far northeastern tip of the state, so after much consideration Judy and her husband decided to donate their prize back to the Museum! This incredibly generous gesture could not have come at a better time. With the uncertainty of how the pandemic would influence the Museum opening for the 2020 season and its affect on tourism to Ely, taking the cost of a 2020 raffle canoe off the expense budget for our annual fundraiser was a much-needed break from the stress caused by all of the uncertainty.  Additionally, we also have Spirit of the Wilderness to thank for generously agreeing to take back the new canoe we already had agreed to purchase for this year’s raffle. We are relieved and thankful.

We cannot thank Judy and her husband, or Spirit of the Wilderness enough for their significant contributions to the success of the Dorothy Molter Museum this year.


Northern Tier BSA High Adventure Base has offered the Museum an opportunity to partner on a retail package through the Base that includes a virtual tour of Dorothy’s! Base staff visited the Museum and took hours of video with staff that they are currently editing and cutting to create a cohesive online opportunity for troops who could not make it to Moose Lake for their wilderness trip through the Base. We look forward to sharing the final product with you!

So what does a visit to Dorothy’s look like right now?

If you’re planning a visit to the Museum now or into the future, you will need to make a reservation. Our new online reservation system through FareHarbor (the “Get Admission” button floating in the lower left) has proven to be very user-friendly for visitor and staff alike. We do have tour options earlier in the morning or later in the evening for those with health or travel restrictions.

Upon arrival (up to 5 minutes prior to your reservation) you’ll don your face mask and follow the signage to enter the Interpretive Center & Gift Shop on the south side, using the provided hand-sanitizer upon entering – 30-100 year old wood is impossible to sanitize as are the many retail items in our gift shop. Starting with freshly sanitized hands helps minimize potential touch transfer of the virus.

Staff will check you in and go over the exhibits on our reusable Visitor Guides (sanitized after each use) and instruct family/group units on how to ensure physical distancing while exploring the cabins if there are more than one at that time (we are able to accommodate up to 10 visitors at one time on-site).

You will head out the north door and have the hour to learn about the life and legacy of Dorothy Molter – and come back in the gift shop for that special something and ice cold root beer, of course. You may choose to enhance your experience by using our own online tour guide available via

The public restroom is cleaned after use and a systematic cleaning protocol is in place for high-touch surfaces such as door knobs/handles.

We do have an FAQ page with more details and commonly asked questions answered here.

Events & Programs

Unfortunately, due to the restrictions on public gatherings and our limited space on-site, we are unable to offer the slate of community events and programming you’ve become accustomed to enjoying. We miss hearing the boisterous laughter during Camp KWITCHURBELIAKIN and meeting new friends during our

annual Dorothy Day. Let’s all do our part to help minimize the impact that Covid-19 will have on our respective communities so we can return to meeting together to honor and celebrate Dorothy in the future.


We hesitated on including a branded face mask in the Gift Shop. However, we recognized a practical need for them (increasing daily) as well as an opportunity to generate revenue during this truncated season. So, we started with a modest order of 25 to the local screen-printers at Hand Done T-shirts here in Ely and have sold 15 in two weeks! That is a big percentage in such a short time for our small retail operation so we’ve reordered and will have the same design on both a 100% cotton and a 100% polyester mask for your consideration.

We also offer a disposable face mask for $1.00 for visitors who decide to visit last-minute or misplaced their own.


Like other Museum and Cultural Organizations, the pandemic has resulted in challenges restricting options on generating revenue for keeping the doors open. As a private, non-profit, renewing your membership or gifting someone else a membership is one way that you can help us through these challenges. You will be an active part of helping us be able to develop new tools, resources and options for funding our mission of preserving and interpreting Northwoods Wilderness heritage through learning.

Thank you,

Jess Edberg, Executive Director

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