Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center Opening July 4, 2010 on the Gunflint Trail

Gunflint Trail, Grand Marais, MN — The new Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center on the Gunflint Trail will be open for visitors in summer of 2010. A grand opening is planned for July 4, 2010. The museum will then be open until mid-October, seven days a week, and will re-open in mid-May each year after being closed for the winter.

In just five years, the seed of an idea to create a history museum on the Gunflint Trail has become a reality, thanks to the Gunflint Trail Historical Society working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Superior National Forest, and the dedicated efforts of countless Gunflint Trail volunteers.

Chik-Wauk Lodge, which is now on the National Register of Historic Places, was a working resort from the mid-1930s until the late 1970s. It was built in 1934 using local granite and has a massive doublesided, amethyst-studded stone fireplace inside. Volunteers worked tirelessly to restore the building to its former grandeur. The museum will occupy the lodge building. The nature center, situated on the 50 acres surrounding the museum, will include interpretive trails and a picturesque ADA-accessible bay trail.

Betty Hemstad, Museum Committee Chair, and a founding member of the Gunflint Trail Historical Society said, “From the first moment I saw Chik-Wauk, I was captivated by the need to preserve this historic building, along with the history of the Gunflint Trail.”

The museum will tell the story of the seven groups of people who have passed through or lived on the Gunflint Trail — Prehistoric, Native American, Voyageurs, Miners, Loggers, Resorters, and Residents.

Using funds raised by the Gunflint Trail Historical Society, the group hired the “museum outfitters” at Split Rock Studios to help create the exhibits and interactive displays highlighting the culture and natural history of the Gunflint Trail.


February 9, 2010

Photos available upon request

Exhibits in the Chik-Wauk Museum include:

  • Artifacts from prehistoric times, Native Americans, mining, logging, and Gunflint Trail businesses past and present;
  • Videos that tell the history of the Gunflint Trail, pioneers, colorful characters, and people who have lived and worked on the Gunflint Trail;
  • Interactive displays, and hands-on discovery activities for children;
  • A reading corner (featuring books by local authors and field guides);
  • A 17’ x 7’ hand-painted mural “Springtime on the Gunflint”;
  • Graphic displays (exploring wildfire, extreme weather, the Civilian Conservation Corps, mining, the BWCAW, the Superior National Forest, geology and more)
  • A cross-section of 300-year-old white pine from the Gunflint Trail;
  • Mounted specimens of Gunflint Trail area wildlife;
  • Flip books (residents, animals, fish, birds, butterflies, moths, trees, shrubs, mushroom, and wildflowers); and more.

Each year a new temporary exhibit will be featured. The exhibit created for the opening season is “Building the Gunflint Trail.”

The museum store will feature hand-made items by Gunflint Trail artists and artisans. “The Gunflint Trail was designated a National Scenic Byway in 2009,” said Betty Hemstad. “The Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center will complement this roadway by offering an opportunity to learn the cultural and natural history of this pristine wilderness area dating back to prehistoric peoples.”

For more information on the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center go to the Gunflint Trail Historical Society web site at

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