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Dunn County Historical Museum Debuts Storylords Exhibit

By Josiah McClelland and Kyra Price, UW- Stout Harvey News Service

A new exhibit will bring back some childhood memories to those who were dedicated viewers of the educational cult classic Storylords. The Dunn County Historical Society debuted the exhibit on January 22.

Storylords was developed at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in the 1980s. The series featuring the adventures of elementary student Norbert and his sister Mandy as they thwart the evil Thorzuul and his henchman Milkbreath through reading.

The exhibit has been in development for over two years and includes many props and artifacts from the show. Some of the items were donated by director and producer, Ed Jakober.

“There were so many wonderful things that Ed kept, of course the Storylords gloves are one of the most recognizable and fun artifacts, but there are also some amazing handmade props, and beautiful black and white production photos as well as original scripts,” said executive director of the Dunn County Historical Society, Melissa Kneeland.

Glove: The original gold glitter gloves used in filming. Photo by Josiah McClelland

Jakober has been reflecting on the show’s second life. “I think it’s interesting. It’s kind of amusing. At the time I didn’t think it was going to last that long…it just goes to show that it’s a good show,” Jakober said.

Story Lord’s status as a low budget classic is a shared memory of many Wisconsinites that grew up in the late 1980s and 90s. Kief Oss, a professor of video production at UW-Stout, said the show made an impact on his childhood.

Poster: Poster made to advertise the show during its initial broadcast on Wisconsin Public Television

“It was way better than some traditional classroom stuff. We got to watch these fantasy kind of stories that incorporated reading and it felt way more closer to Star Wars than reading class,” Oss said.

Kneeland was even able to find the original Story Lords computer game, the only copy that they know exists. With the help of UW-Stout professor Seth Barrier and Stout’s technical resource and productions coordinator, Trevor Ludwig, the game is now available to play in the museum’s exhibit.

Computer Game: The Story Lords computer game, playable thanks to UW-Stout professor Seth Barrier and Stout’s technical resource and productions coordinator, Trevor Ludwig

The museum staff also have a recreation of the Bike-O-Tron, a magical exercise bike that transported Story Lord’s character Norbert to the land of Mojuste.

Production Still: Ed Jakober directing actors during filming of Story Lords

The exhibit is open to the public during the museum’s business hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum plans to host Storylords themed events and a tour of filming locations.


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