Minnesota MECC's Memorabilia Is Museum Bound!


Susan Schilling

We are very proud to present guest blogger, Susan Schilling, President, RE@L Institute, and read her timely announcement of another feather in Minnesota’s cap. MECC’s famed memorabilia of award-winning software, and all that goes with it, has found a new home!

Here’s Susan’s good news:

The Strong National Museum of Play has had Oregon Trail on their collective minds for some time now. (Click on the graphic below to learn more about The Strong Museum)

TheStrongIn 2016, as The Strong was preparing for the 2016 World Video Game Hall of Fame selections (click the red text for more information on the selection process), the Executive Directorof the Museum reached out to Don Rawitsch, the originator and co-creator of the game, and wondered if there were basic design documents, prior versions or other documentation still around that captured the decades long continued evolution of this American classic.

Don was interested in helping to protect that legacy and offered to curate a collection of Oregon Trail documents and product versions over the years.


Don Rawitsch

So, Don responded that it was entirely possible that such a set of documents and products existed, however, not specifically in his closet and attic! He broadened the request by suggesting The Strong Natonal Museum of Play might wish to curate a MECC collection. Agreement was reached and the true value of social media came into play as Don, Susan Schilling and other former MECC colleagues scoured the internet to find former co-workers and co-creators who had not only held onto MECC items but who were willing to contribute them.

The search was aided by the fact many former MECC employees have kept in touch with each other over the decades and we all KNEW who had the goods!

MECC.15As an initial start to the collection, seven MECC colleagues agreed to capture, document and box up their favorite mementos from MECC and send them to Rochester, New York, for potential inclusion in the MECC Collection. The list included items from former human resource directors, software engineers, executives and instructional designers.

Each of them had held onto the key products and documents that spoke to that “golden era” of educational software design and creation, as well as items that reflected the development of the organizational concepts and culture that knit it all together.

Each of us former MECC-ers has since gone on to continue his/her contributions to the world, but all remembered – with the kind of clarity that only time can bring – the heyday of MECC and the legacy it left behind.

Kudos to one and all, and special thanks to The National Strong Museum of Play for preserving many key elements of this phase of digital learning and innovation.”


We at REAL hope future game-makers will find our MECC legacy instructive and that new learning software captures more young learners everywhere. RE@L is pledged to the very same goals: more creative, tested, resource-rich software and more kids learning more.

What more could we ask?

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Tom King & Dale LaFrenz

Dr. Tom King has served for over 40 years as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Saint Thomas in the School of Education. The Saturn School of Tomorrow, formerly a St. Paul Public School, and his visionary response to educational reform, was a lighthouse on the frontier of school change. Tom was an experienced high school teacher of mathematics, a school administrator, and Director of Technology for the St. Paul MN Public Schools. He is also a member of the RE@L Team. Dr. Dale LaFrenz is Chairman of RE@L and one of the founders of MECC Software who brought “Oregon Trail” to millions of K12 kids everywhere. He has written extensively on the history and evolution of Ed Tech. His work in forging new paths for MECC’S “edutainment" software was instrumental in connecting school-markets, kids, teachers and consumer-markets/kids/parents, and now serves as the new launching pad for RE@L apps and software.