By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Winfield Arneson, former longtime Dearborn Historical Museum Chief Curator, died July 1 in Dearborn. He was 86.
Arneson worked at the museum for 42 years. He began working there in 1960 as curator of research and retired in 2002 as chief curator.
During his time, the Commandant’s Quarters, 21950 Michigan Ave., was renovated, and the museum underwent multiple expansions.
“Being very interested in the signers of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, he did research on them at various locations and published a series of articles on them in the Dearborn Historian Magazine for Dearborn’s 200th anniversary celebration of the events,” his life legacy read on the Howe-Peterson Funeral Home page.
He was also an active member of the Rotary Club of Dearborn.
Museum volunteer Tara Gnau worked with Arneson from 1972 to 1983 as curator of education and said his knowledge was important.
“He was a very interesting person with lots of areas of interest,” she said. “During his period here he was very important to the history of the city.”
Gnau recalled Arneson’s distinct style that left everyone at the museum waiting each day.
“He had the best collection of ties with patriotic details,” she said. “Every morning employees would go into his office just to see what he had on.”
Born in Milwaukee on March 14, 1930, Arneson attended Beloit College where he received a degree in anthropology. He also participated in archaeological field work in Alabama for National Geographic and in Mexico for the college.
Arsenal was a longtime Green Bay Packers fan, according to the legacy page. He also enjoyed camping with the family and visiting historical and geographical locations in almost every state across the country during vacation times.
“Arneson was passionate about the telling of history will be missed by the Dearborn community,” the Dearborn Historical Museum Facebook page read.
He was the husband to wife, Karin, father to children Christine Nolan and Lincoln Arneson and grandfather to grandchildren Christopher and Kaitlyn Nolan, respectively.
The funeral will take place at the family plot in Wisconsin and an informal gathering was scheduled for July 10 at Howe-Peterson Funeral Home, 22546 Michigan Ave.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])