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Duluth Children's Museum records

Identifier: S6170

Scope and Contents

The collection contains articles of incorporation, by-laws, minutes, annual reports, budgets, policies, newsletters, newspaper clippings scrapbooks, photographs, Chisholm family genealogy and photographs, museum programming materials and photographs, American Alliance of Museums museum assessment, strategic plan.


  • 1901-2007
  • Majority of material found in 1930-2007


Biographical / Historical

The Duluth Children’s Museum, the fifth oldest children’s museum in the nation is a collections based organization. It was founded by Mabel Mackinney Wing in November, 1930 as a learning resource and housed in an unused classroom offered by the Board of Education, at the Salter School. Furnished with “paper-covered packing boxes and two old school tables”, Mabel Wing along with Indianola Willcutts, head of the Duluth State Teachers College art department, opened the “museum” with Wing’s objects of art and souvenirs of travel, her grandfather’s Mexican curios, nature displays from other schools, and Willcutts’ South American collection. The collection supported the curriculum of the Duluth schools and Mabel Wing was added to the Board of Education payroll in 1931 at $50 per month. Display cases from an old candy store replaced apple crates. A board of directors was formed in 1934 to promote the museum.

In 1936, Mrs. A. M. Chisholm presented her home, 1832 East Second Street in Duluth, to the Board of Education for a museum, and Wing became the curator of the A. M. Chisholm Museum. It was open year-round and two Sundays each month. Initial collections came from George S. Barnum (Oriental collection), Mrs. A. M. Miller (art), Mr. and Mrs. John A. Stephenson (Egyptian and Near East), Ward Ames (natural history), and Bertha Richards (early American furniture). Two wings were added to the house in 1960 with funds from the 1956 Duluth Centennial. Wing retired from the museum in 1965 due to ill health.


3.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Physical Location

This collection is located at the University of Minnesota Duluth Archives. For more information about this collection or to make an appointment, contact us at or 218-726-8526.
Guide to the Duluth Children's Museum records
Finding Aid Authors: P. Maus.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University of Minnesota Duluth Archives and Special Collections Collecting Area

Kathryn A. Martin Library
University of Minnesota Duluth
416 Library Drive
Duluth MN 55812-3001
(218) 726-8526