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This is a contributing entry for Dorothy Molter Museum - The Root Beer Lady and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.

The first building you encounter during your visit to the Dorothy Molter Museum is free to explore. Friendly staff are waiting to process Museum admission sales (free for members!) as well as offer a wide variety of merchandise related to Dorothy Molter (can you say KWITCHURBELIAKIN™?), the Northwoods and our very own Isle of Pines Root Beer served ice cold! Local and regional artisans, authors and artists are featured through our selection of products including art, books, apparel, decor, gifts and souvenirs. Copies of Dorothy's original guest registries (1955-1986) are available to look through along with rotating mini-exhibits and interpretive displays on the life of Dorothy. Currently, a photo/object mini-exhibit on Knife Lake Fisheries and a handicrafts display are available. This building also houses the Museum's spacious restroom with potable water.


  • Interpretive Center (side facing the parking lot)
  • Interpretive Center & South Deck facing Birds' Landing
  • Interpretive Center view from Parking Lot approach
  • Gift Shop - Biographical Resources
  • Gift Shop - Organizational Resources
  • Gift Shop - Root Beer Cooler
  • Dorothy's Guest Registries
  • Gift Shop - Mini-exhibits
  • Original Location on Burntside lake

The Interpretive Center & Gift Shop was not one of Dorothy’s cabins. However, it does have roots in Ely and a special connection with museum staff.

Built in the mid-1950s by Stan Levar as a family hunting cabin, it was originally located on the southwest end of Burntside Lake northwest of Ely. The cabin was dismantled by the family in 1998 and purchased by the Museum to be used as an interpretive center in 1999.

Today, it is the public-facing services building - the first stop for all visitors. Museum staff track visitation so all guests are counted either with their paid admission or free entrance for Museum Members, members of the military or children under six years old.

In addition to admission and information, this cabin houses a gift shop featuring many Museum-branded and Minnesota-made items not available elsewhere. Several mini-exhibits highlight various aspects of Dorothy's life, including copies of her original guest journals starting in 1955.

The basement of this building has a small office but most of the space is occupied by Dorothy's Isle of Pines Root Beer, the Museum's most well-known product. Up to 14 pallets of 60 cases of root beer (each case has 24 bottles) is stored to distribute to Museum patrons as well as around the Ely Area to restaurants, retail and grocery stores, outfitters, camps and resorts. Those unable to visit Ely may also find Dorothy's brew in the Duluth/North Shore, Iron Range, Brainerd lakes and Twin Cities areas or online.

Outside of this building is Bird's Landing, a community "pocket park" in honor of Dorothy's love for her feathered friends.

Dorothy Molter Museum Staff

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Dorothy Molter Museum

Dorothy Molter Museum

Dorothy Molter Museum

Dorothy Molter Museum

Dorothy Molter Museum

Dorothy Molter Museum

Dorothy Molter Museum

Dorothy Molter Museum

Levar Family