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History buff to canoe through Brainerd

A history buff from California plans to travel the length of the Mississippi to raise awareness and support for historical societies along the route.

A history buff from California plans to travel the length of the Mississippi to raise awareness and support for historical societies along the route.

Mike Hatfield is set to arrive in Brainerd today, nearly three weeks after beginning his journey, to visit the Crow Wing County Historical Society.

"I have always been passionate about the things our ancestors left behind, the household items, simple tools, works of art and weapons," Hatfield wrote in a news release. "These artifacts allow a person today to see, touch and otherwise interact with those who came before, and to do so in a way that no history book ever could. The History River tour is simply an extension of that passion. It is my effort to explore the wondrous artifacts that our ancestors left behind and to share that awe with the rest of the world in a manner they might not otherwise have access to."

According to the release, his project has four main goals:

• To explore the rich history, people and places that the Mississippi River trail has to offer and to share that journey with the public at large.

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• To raise awareness and support for the historical societies and museums along the river trail.

• To offer support and assistance as a professional gunsmith in the appraisal, preservation and restoration of historical firearms existing in these organizations' collections if needed.

• To experience the skills and effort that go into the preservation and restoration of historic artifacts in general, through interviews and first-hand experience with the curators, preservationists and historians who labor so selflessly to maintain these collections for the public's benefit.

Hatfield began his journey Aug. 22 in Lake Itasca and intends to end in the Gulf of Mexico. As Internet access allows, he will provide trip updates at www.historyriver.com and intends to compile video and photos from his trip for a full-length video documentary.

Hatfield is a professional gunsmith and is seeking degrees in history, English and creative writing in preparation for acquiring a master's degree in museum sciences, which he intends to use to focus on the preservation and restoration of historic artifacts.

Visit www.gofundme.com/historyriver to donate to Hatfield's project. A majority of the proceeds will benefit historical societies and museums visited along the way.

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