The Dorothy Molter Museum preserves and interprets Northwoods wilderness heritage through learning opportunities inspired by Dorothy Molter, the last non-indigenous resident of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

As a private, non-profit organization representing part of the unique and rich history of northeastern Minnesota, the Dorothy Molter Museum strives to not only honor the legacy of its namesake but also, be an active and positive member of the Ely Area community and family of Minnesota museums.

For information about visiting the museum, please click here.

Community Benefits Statement

Professional Credibility

  • Partner with the Minnesota Historical Society and Women in History Interest Affinity Group and the American Association for State and Local History
  • Member of the Minnesota Alliance of Local History Museums, the Northland History Coalition, the Minnesota Association of Museums and the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites
  • Provides an internship opportunity annually for students interested in small museum management, collections care and historical interpretation
  • Recipient of 2013 AMM Promising Leadership Award

Promoting Our Heritage

  • Promotes and preserves Ely’s rich cultural and natural history in-person and virtually (
  • Secured Dorothy Molter as a “Woman of History” on Google, Inc’s Field Trip application for smart phones and tablets
  • Secured an oral history grant through the Minnesota Historical Society Legacy Grant Program to capture and preserve the stories of Dorothy’s friends and supporters
  • Secured grants for photo and archival collections preservation through the Minnesota Historical Society
  • Secured grants from Iron Range Resource & Rehabilitation Board grants to develop Creating the Boundary Waters: 25 objects, 25 Stories and Birds’ Landing at Dorothy’s

Economic Stimulation

  • Instrumental in bringing the 2017 Minnesota Association of Museums Annual Conference to Ely
  • Is a producer/wholesale distributor of nationally-known Ely-centric product Dorothy’s Isle of Pines Root Beer to over 20 Ely Area businesses as well as around the State of Minnesota, eastern North Dakota, northwestern Wisconsin and Sandpoint, Idaho
  • Promotes Ely tourism through advertising in regional outlets
  • Hosts a minimum of three free community events & weekly root beer making programming during peak tourist season
  • Hosts annual fundraising dinner at the Grand Ely Lodge
  • Proud to provide donation items for local and regional youth and organizational fundraisers and events


  • Collaborates with the Ely Winter Festival and Vermilion Community College’s Wilderness & Park Mgmt Program for Whirlwind!, an annual free community event
  • Partners with the Ely-Winton Historical Society for special events and exhibits
  • Collaborated with the Ely Igloo Snowmobile Club for a 30th anniversary Dorothy Molter Memorial Snowmobile Ride
  • Partners with the Ely Marathon to provide Dorothy’s Root Beer Run Children’s Marathon
  • Coordinates volunteer projects both for museum and community improvement with organizations including Outward Bound, Eco-Club, Vermilion Community College and Northern Tier High Adventure Base

Printable Community Benefits Statement