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Children’s ag museum planned for main street

Swift County Monitor
Tom and Ginger Claussen with Tuck, Jethro, Clint and Eliza harvest corn last fall. Ginger Claussen is leading an effort in the City of Benson to establish the Mini Sota Agricultural Children’s Museum. Photo provided.

By Reed Anfinson

Creative local entrepreneurs have been the heart of rural Minnesota’s efforts to grow and prosper. They’ve developed innovative products and manufacturing ideas that have been the heart of rural job creation.

Now a group of area residents is taking that innovative initiative and applying it to an essential part of what is necessary for attracting new residents – activities for families and their children.

Ginger (Breen) Claussen is leading an effort to transform the former Breen’s Pharmacy building on Pacific Avenue in downtown Benson into the Mini Sota Agricultural Children’s Museum in the coming months.

“Essentially, a children’s museum is an indoor playground with an educational focus,” Claussen told the Monitor-News in an interview last week.

“Nobody knows that building better than I do,” she said of the Breen’s building. While she acknowledges that her father, pharmacist Vyke Breen, worked there longer, “but I don’t think he played in it quite as much as I did.”

After 70 years as a main street Benson business owned by the Breen family, Breen’s Pharmacy was sold to Thrifty White in September 2021. The Breen’s business was consolidated with Lewis Drug into the new Thrifty White business at Do-Mat’s.

Since late 2021, the Breen’s building in downtown Benson has sat empty. It won’t sit empty any  longer if the Mini Sota board of directors moves forward with its children’s museum plans.

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