Sleepy Eye Depot Museum open for the season

Deb Moldaschel
Depot Museum Director Deb Joramo is ready for visitors with masks and gloves available and guidelines to allow for social distancing. (Right) The Museum Gift Shop has a new item this summer -- pottery mugs designed with a Sleepy Eye Milling Co. Sleepy Eye Cream label.

Museums were one of the venues allowed to open, with guidelines, by the most recent state announcement on reopening. The Depot Museum open for the season on Wednesday, June 17 and is ready to welcome visitors. Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Museum Director Deb Joramo said visitors must wear a mask and gloves — supplied by the museum for those who do not have them.

There is 10 person limit inside the museum, however Joramo said the normal flow of visitors is generally a family or two at a time, so she doesn’t expect to ask many to wait to come in.

“The research library is closed this summer,” Joramo said. “But people can call with their requests and make an appointment to get copies of the information they want.” Joramo said to contact her at the museum at 794-5053 or by email at

For the last several years, the opening of the museum also meant the “unveiling” of the Sleepy Eye ornament. This year, with production delays due to the pandemic, the new ornaments have not been received yet.

This year’s ornament features Golden Gate and depicts a photograph titled, “The Old Mill Wheel at Ruhe Heim.” It is a companion to a new book coming to the museum’s gift shop, which the historical society had re-published, “Golden Gate, A Landmark of the Past.” Joramo said anyone wanting to reserve an ornament and/or a book can call the museum. The books are expected to be in stock this week.

Also new in the museum gift shop this summer are coffee mugs, created by Deneen Pottery and featuring the likeness of a Sleepy Eye Milling Co. Sleepy Eye Cream label.

The mugs, available in the blue and cream, were donated to the Sleepy Eye Area Historical Society, for sale in the museum, by David, Gayle, and Brenda Trebesch in honor of their parents, Mary Ann and Wally Trebesch, who were very active and instrumental in the historical society and museum development for many years.

The first day the Depot Museum was open, a couple FFA members came to set up a display of FFA pictures and awards that were in storage at school. Anyone who was in FFA during the 1950s and 60s could lend a hand by providing names for some of the people pictured. The display is sure to bring back fond memories.