Sleepy Eye's Depot Museum has been a quiet place since closing for the winter after a couple of Christmas season events.

Sleepy Eye’s Depot Museum has been a quiet place since closing for the winter after a couple of Christmas season events. The traditional first day of welcoming visitors to the museum is the first Wednesday of May — May 1 this year.

The Depot Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., from May 1 until mid-November.

The museum is operated by the Sleepy Eye Area Historical Society (SEAHS), which owns the collection of items displayed. Some items are on loan from owners.

One of the items that has been displayed outside the museum for eight years, is the baggage cart that was used when the depot was busy with trains, passengers and freight, in the early 1900s. The cart was loaded with goods and pulled by a man to make the needed deliveries—luggage to and from hotels, freight to business places, etc. The museum also has on display a large wooden box from Haas Bakery, which was filled with fresh bread and loaded onto the baggage cart, to deliver bread to homes and restaurants.

Eight years ago, Allen Schueler restored the cart for display at the museum. “It was all in pieces at that time,” Schueler said. “The axle and wheels were separated from the cart adn I rebuilt the whole bed.”

Since that time the baggage cart has spent summers on display outside of the museum. Eight summers of sun and rain had taken a toll on the old cart, and this spring the historical society called on Schueller once again — to put on a fresh coat of paint.

On Tuesday morning, the Herald-Dispatch caught up with Schueler, inside the former Overson Lumber building—currently owned by the Mark Thomas Company which generously allowed the project to take place in their building—where he was close to finishing the spruce-up job. Schueler not only re-painted the entire cart, but also replaced a few boards, to get it back to its 2011 restored look.

Schueler said the colors are true to the original. “I use very good oil-base paint,” he said. “Look how it lasted eight years outside.”

Residents and visitors are invited to visit the Depot Museum to see the spruced-up cart and other interesting items from Sleepy Eye’s history.

Another project of SEAHS is the annual Sleepy Eye Christmas ornaments. The 2019 ornament will be revealed at a museum open house on May 1, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The public is invited and snacks and refreshments will be served.

Curious about the design of the 2019 ornament? Well, here is your only hint: SEAHS decided to get in on the buzz around “downtown Sleepy Eye.” Come to the Depot Museum during the May 1 open house to see what that means!