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"I live for today. I dream for tomorrow and I learn from yesterday."


Fulton's Workshop is our featured exhibit that combines area history, technology, and a hands-on makerspace in the same gallery. Museum visitors, scout groups, homeschool groups and other organizations are invited to explore science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) in the workshop.

One of the best features of Fulton's Workshop is the makerspace that inspires visitors with the question, 'What can you make?' and provides the means to do so. The work space includes stations to create with commercial products (Lego blocks, Tinker Toys, Keva Planks, Lincoln Logs and others) as well as materials and tools for the more adventurous to make take-home projects of their own design.

The gallery also features exhibits about Dunn County inventions including the Tainter Gate used in dams worldwide, the innovations of automotive genius Harry Miller, and a national award-winning Rube Goldberg machine created by UW-Stout students. Other exhibits demonstrate the principles behind basic machines that each of us encounter daily.

 

A substantial gift from the late Fulton Holtby, an inventor and teacher, helped the Historical Society develop the workshop. Holtby, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota for 41 years, pursued precision model making both as a hobby and as an expert forensic engineer. An educator first and foremost, Holtby was highly-sought for his ability to teach complex technical concepts to judges and jurors as an expert witness.

Among his many other accomplishments, Holtby designed and fabricated heart valve replacements and special suture clamps for Dr. Christiaan Barnard's pioneering heart surgery, and helped create the first 'black box' flight recorder. Approaching the age of 90 years, Holtby continued to be an innovator, perfecting a metal casting process that resulted in significant reduction in cost, weight and waste material.

Holtby was actively involved with UW-Stout's College of Technology, Engineering and Management for more than two decades. A vocal supporter of the university's technical programs, he funded scholarships for engineering students beginning in 1995. He received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the university in 2001.

 

The gallery also features a re-creation of Holtby's home shop with his original tools, as well as several models he fabricated or assembled.

Holtby constructed one of them for a courtroom exhibit. In 1979, the oil tanker Amoco Cadiz foundered and split off the coast of France. This was the largest oil spill in history to that point, and resulted in a $2 billion lawsuit for its impact on fisheries and tourism. Holtby investigated the cause of the accident, built a model of the pump room to show a prospective jury, and demonstrated his testimony to the parties involved. After hearing what his testimony would be, and seeing him demonstrate the spill through his model, Amoco settled out of court for $120 million.

The gallery also features exhibits about Dunn County inventions including the Tainter Gate used in dams worldwide, the innovations of automotive genius Harry Miller, and a national award-winning Rube Goldberg machine created by UW-Stout students. Other exhibits demonstrate the principles behind basic machines that each of us encounter daily.

 

Fulton's Workshop will help visitors understand that people of all ages, walks of life and abilities have made, and can make, amazing things.