Winter 2017
Gifts at Work

Glensheen Mansion

In some ways, time stands still at Glensheen Mansion, owned by the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD): almost everything in the home is an original possession of Clara and Chester Congdon, who built the house between 1905 and 1908 and willed it to the U of M in 1968. In other ways, it’s changing fast, with 15 newly renovated spaces opening in the last three years thanks to $6 million from donors, ticket sales, and state funds.

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Collections manager Milissa Brooks-Ojibway inspects an Asian ceramic dish. Generous gifts like a recent $1.5 million estate commitment from Dennis Lamkin and Jon Niemi help preserve the property and everything in it.


Gifts to Glensheen have a ripple effect: when donor funds help renovate new spaces, ticket sales increase, allowing the historic site to hire a greater number of enthusiastic student guides like Lexi Olson and Jacob Kowalczak.


The andirons shown by student guide Jacob Kowalczak are from Robert’s Room, the third-floor bedroom of the Congdons’ youngest son. The room opened to the public for the first time in 2015, thanks in part to gifts from the Glensheen Gala fundraising event. (Photo courtesy of Glensheen Mansion)


A road outside this window leads to the Gardener’s Cottage, which was renovated in 2016 to be more historically accurate. A $100,000 lead gift from Richard and Nancy Nicholson made the renovation possible. (Photo courtesy of Glensheen Mansion)


Wearing a “Mind Your Manor” T-shirt, UMD student worker Carys Jeffrey shows a visitor the mansion’s grand piano, which is tuned and maintained thanks to gifts of all sizes to Glensheen’s preservation fund.