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Darwin's Twine Ball Museum

The Darwin Museum is most commonly known as the home to the largest ball of twine made by one man, recently featured in a documentary. The museum, however, has much more to share that helps tell the story of the small town’s history.

Visitors of the museum will not only get a close-up of the twine ball, but they will also see many donated items throughout, including baseball memorabilia as part of an exhibit on Darwin town ball.

Darwin was once quite the baseball town, with nearly 1,000 fans showing their support at each hometown game.

Possibly the most legendary of Darwin’s baseball history are two of its own players – Fred “Lefty” Miller and Milt Goemer, who went off to play professional baseball.

In August of 2011, a painting titled “Lefty Miller on the Mound,” painted by Lavona Keskey, was donated to the museum and city. It portrays the July 4, 1908, double-header game when Miller pitched a four-hit shutout for the St. Paul Saints, defeating the Minneapolis Millers 3-0 at Lexington Park in St. Paul.

Pictures of the town’s teams can also be seen in an exhibit located in the museum’s new addition, along with baseball uniforms and the Goemer MVP trophy and ring.

The Largest Ball of Twine makes it on film

What truly has put Darwin on the map, bringing thousands of visitors from around the world to the town each year, has been its famous ball of twine.

Spreading the word even farther has been father/daughter filmmakers KC and Bryan Duggan, who completed a documentary based on the 8.7-ton world-renowned attraction.

The hour-and-18-minute-long documentary highlights the motivation behind Francis Johnson, the creator of the original largest ball of twine, and the two other balls of twine that have competed for the same notoriety.

As the story of the balls of twine unfolds, the documentary also portrays the grassroots values of conservation, patience, and perseverance and America’s obsession with “bigger is better,” Bryan explained.

The ball of twine can easily be viewed in a gazebo in front of the museum.

Johnson, who was the son of US congressman Magnus Johnson, wound his first piece of baler twine in March 1950.

As the ball grew, Johnson could no longer wrap the twine by hand and had to use large railroad jacks, that were built to lift boxcars, to move the ball of twine.

The ball was completed in 1979, and recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest ball of twine.

It weighs 8.7 tons, is 11 feet high, and measures 40 feet in diameter. Although this is still the largest ball of twine made by one man, it was removed from the book in 1994, by a ball of plastic twine made by several people and weighing considerably less.

Every summer, the town celebrates what it’s most famous for with Twine Ball Day, scheduled annually on the second Saturday in August.

The museum is open during the Twine Ball Day celebration, and by appointment. Contact Chris Hansen at (320) 275-4016.

The second Saturday in August, Darwin’s downtown is abuzz with visitors from near and far who came to celebrate the largest ball of twine.

The 23rd annual Darwin Twine Ball Celebration, set for Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, will feature a parade, craft fair, sand volleyball tournament, a pork chop dinner, opportunities to tour the Twine Ball Museum, and live music in the park.

The schedule includes a 5K run, called the Twine-K, a 17,400-foot (3.3 miles) run to celebrate a 17,400 pound ball of twine.

One of the top attractions during the event is the Minnesota Minn-e-Rods tractor pull, which takes place right on Main Street in Darwin. Here, competitors of all ages compete to see who has the strongest lawn tractor.

The Darwin Twine Ball Celebration also includes raffle drawings with cash prizes, food vendors, and kids’ games in the park.