Interpretive Center & Gift Shop

The first building you encounter during your visit. Friendly staff are waiting to provide admission sales as well as a wide variety of merchandise related to Dorothy Molter (can you say KWITCHURBELIAKIN™?), the Northwoods and our very own Isle of Pines Root Beer served ice cold!  Local and regional artisans, authors and artists are featured through our selection of products including art, books, apparel, decor, gifts and souvenirs.

Small, rotating interpretive displays on the life of Dorothy can also be viewed here free of charge.

Also inside is a spacious restroom with potable water.

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Guided Tours

Optional guided tours are approximately 30-minutes and are offered at the top of every hour starting at 12pm and ending with the final tour at 4pm.

Reservations are not required but we request groups of eight (8) or more call ahead.

Large families or tour groups are encouraged to call ahead and schedule a group tour so we may provide the best service possible.

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Dorothy’s Winter Cabin

Step back in time as you enter Dorothy’s home during the winter. In the porch, the original root beer making equipment she used is displayed to help you envision the process of providing thousands of bottles of root beer to Isle of Pines visitors each summer.

As you continue into her kitchen and dining area, imagine stoking the wood stove, entertaining visitors with piping hot coffee, and crafting her famous Christmas ornaments by lamplight. This cabin features personal items, memorabilia and clothing of Dorothy’s as well as pictures of Dorothy with friends, family and visitors to Knife Lake. Join a guided tour for a comprehensive story of Dorothy’s life.

Winter Cabin


Point Cabin Exhibit – Dorothy Molter: Living in the Boundary Waters

This permanent exhibit illustrates how Dorothy Molter lived at the pace of the seasons and embodied the spirit and inspiration of the Northwoods wilderness.  It features a combination of objects and photographs from the museum’s collection and a 15-minute video compilation from the 1987 documentary film Dorothy Molter: Living in the Boundary Waters.

Funding for the exhibit was provided through a grant from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB), as well as through generous private donations.

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Cady Cabin – Bob Cary Exhibit

The office of Jackpine Bob Cary (1921 – 2006) is replicated here in a salvaged portion of the Cady Cabin, one of the buildings originally located at the Isle of Pines.

Bob moved to Ely, MN from Illinois in 1966 and co-founded Canadian Border Outfitters, a canoe trip outfitter situated on Moose Lake, 17 miles northeast of town.  While working for the Chicago Daily News in 1962, Bob became friends with Dorothy Molter, eventually chronicling her 56 years of living in the Boundary Waters with his well-known book The Root Beer Lady. Bob also published an article for the International Press Association, which was instrumental in garnering support for Dorothy to stay on her property after the Wilderness Act of 1948.

In addition to The Root Beer Lady, Bob Cary wrote, illustrated and published several other books and was the host of the WELY radio show “Camp Talk.”

More information on Bob Cary.

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Birds’ Landing at Dorothy’s – Available year-round

Dorothy Molter was famous for much more than just making root beer; she was also known for her love of birds.  In her 1955 bird essay, Dorothy wrote

Bird-watching is a fascinating hobby. There is always something new to see and something new to learn, and never a dull moment. I don’t envy city dwellers who miss all this.

A remarkable assortment of birds visited the feeders around Dorothy’s home on Knife Lake, and she easily went through 1,000 pounds of seed each season. Dorothy particularly enjoyed sharing her passion for birds with the many people that visited her.

With its location between the tall red pines of the Jon Rozman Memorial Forest and the meadow-like environment of the Ely Cemetery, the Museum is ideally situated to attract a wide range of birds throughout the year.

The museum also offers a selection of field guides for on-site reference and a free, take-home brochure featuring bird food recipes.

Bird Feeder Hub

 


Dorothy’s Discovery Trail – Available year-round

This 1/4-mile nature trail is available to museum visitors at any time. Although short, it meanders through a variety of eco-types common in the Northwoods starting in a red pine stand, meandering through a mixed conifer-deciduous patch and skirting a wetland. Interpretive signs highlight flora and fauna found in northern Minnesota such as the pileated woodpecker, sphagnum moss and the tamarack tree.

A nature guide is available free of charge, which provides information about the coniferous biome of the Northwoods by pointing out specific features of the landscape along the trail. Pick up the trail guide on the north side of the Interpretive Center, next to the door.

Dorothy’s Discovery Trail Backpack is also available for use with admission and includes a variety of field guides, tools and suggested activities to help you learn more about the natural world.

The trail is on natural soil with some rocks and roots exposed. Pets are welcome if leashed, well-behaved and deposits are picked up.

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Off-site Exhibit

 

 

Dorothy Molter – USFS Kawishiwi Ranger Station (Ely)

Dorothy Molter’s life in what is now the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is highlighted in this kiosk located inside the U.S. Forest Service Kawishiwi Ranger Station’s Northwoods history and ecology exhibit. This exhibit is free and offers a wide range of Superior National Forest/BWCAW information with staff available to answer questions about this unique area of the country.

Located just east of the Dorothy Molter Museum, across the street from the International Wolf Center, in a gorgeous LEED building.

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COMING SOON!

Creating the Boundary Waters: 25 Objects, 25 Stories

This exhibit-in-process will be installed in the Cady Cabin in 2018 to highlight the decades-long, controversial process of how the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness came to be, and how it affected not only Dorothy, but residents and visitors to the area as well as to help celebrate the 3oth anniversary of the museum being open.

Support this project

Donuts at Dorothy’s & ‘Beers with Bob will be held on August 6, 2017 to honor the current exhibit, Bob Cary’s Office. Learn more

25 in 25

Admission includes access to all of the museum’s historic cabins and optional guided tours.