ALPENA – The Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan is proud and pleased to announce the receipt of a legacy gift from the estate of Robert and Jacquelyn Granum.

The donation was entrusted to the Community Foundation of Northeast Michigan to help the museum preserve and interpret Alpena’s long and rich history.

The Community Foundation will manage the assets of the endowment fund and each year 5% of the fund will be made available to the Besser Museum to establish and enhance permanent indoor exhibits held in the main museum building depicting local history.

Robert Granum was an industrial entrepreneur from the Alpena region. He founded Panel Processing with a small group of local investors in 1971. Prior to founding Panel Processing, he was plant manager at a local hardboard manufacturer. In the late 1970s the hardboard company decided to stop all custom processing operations and it was then that Granum decided to establish its own manufacturing facility to undertake and expand the custom processing service. . In 1971 Panel Processing was incorporated and they built their own processing plant. Granum served as Senior President of Panel Processing from 1971 to 1994.

Jacquelyn Granum supported her husband throughout his career. Adopting Alpena as a home, Jacquie became involved in the community in which they lived. The couple loved the area and raised their two sons, Gregory and Robert in Alpena. Embracing all that Alpena had to offer, Bob and Jacquie enjoyed many friends and social activities throughout their lives. They were life partners for 59 years.

As Alpena was a special place for the couple, they made various significant contributions to the betterment of the community, including the Robert and Jacquelyn Granum Theater at Alpena Community College.

The donation to the Besser Museum is truly a testament to their commitment and love for Alpena.

Besser Museum Executive Director Christine Witulski said, “We are honored to receive this inherited gift from the Granum family. As a non-profit cultural institution, the Besser Museum will benefit from the generosity of the Granum family now and in the future. Their vision and commitment to the museum and the community is not only truly inspiring, but also very humble.

She added that the fund could bring in around $50,000 a year and is only to be used to establish and enhance permanent indoor exhibits held in the museum’s main building depicting local history.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, our patrons, visitors and employees, we are very grateful for this wonderful gift and thank the Granum family for their generosity and commitment to Alpena,” said Witulski.

The Besser Museum has been working on a plan to revitalize the Native American exhibit while adding more history about the Thunder Bay area.

“These endowment funds will be critical to the success of this project,” she added.

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