Historic Cook County is a conglomeration of five historic sites in Grand Marais, MN which are owned and operated by the Cook County Historical Society. The purpose of these sites is to educate about Cook County’s material, cultural, and artistic heritage.

Cook County Historical Society Mission:

The purpose of the Historical Society shall be the collection, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge about the history of Cook County and to relate it to the history of the State of Minnesota.

Founded in 1924, the Cook County Historical Society operates five buildings: the Historical Society Museum (the 1896 Lightkeeper's House) since 1966; the Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery (JHP Art Gallery); St. Francis Xavier Chippewa City Church; Bally Blacksmith Shop; and a 1930s fish house replica. Alongside the fish house is the 35’ fishing tug, Neegee, built in 1935 in Grand Marais. All sites are free to the public serving all of Cook County as well as our visitors. Other programs include: the Passport to the Past program which is intended to educate students and visitors about local history, as well as monthly historical presentations/events. A quarterly newsletter the Overlook reaches more than 600 members.

Activities and buildings are managed by a Board of Directors with representation from the Board of County Commissioners. Funds to operate the Historical Society consist of memberships, door donations, book sales, grants, and from Cook County. The Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery (JHP Art Gallery) is funded by grants, endowments, door donations, and gift shop sales. The buildings are staffed by a large group of volunteers, many who serve year after year. Many activities within the museum and the JHP Art Gallery are also carried on by volunteers. Volunteers and board members offer to the public samples of our traditions, from lefse making, a fish cake dinner, a trout plank dinner, “small talks”, gallery openings, and many other activities.


Click here to view a list of our 2018 board members



Carrie Johnson – Executive Director

Martha Marnocha – Museum Manager

Amy Henrikson – Office Manager

Elizabeth Davis – JHP Art Gallery Manager

Doug Andrus – Facility Caretaker