The most frequent statement made upon entering Ruth Klossner's home is likely "holy cow!"
More than 15,000 cow related items decorate the house. The collection includes items such as stuffed animals, cookie jars, toys, Christmas tree ornaments, paintings, clothing and even a tractor painted to resemble a Holstein cow.
Last Sunday, Klossner held an open house for the accurately described "Moo-seum." The event marked the 16th open house held in her home, which traditionally takes place on the first weekend in December, The (New Ulm) Journal reported.
Klossner's passion for collecting all things cow has been well documented. Articles written on her collection have appeared in Polish and Danish publications. Friends and family often help grow the collection.
Klossner estimates that anywhere from a quarter to a third of the collection were gifts. One of Klossner's most prized cow statues is named "Tippifina," and it is a gift from actress Tippi Hedren, who grew up in Lafayette and visited Klossner several years ago.
Klossner began collecting cow items in 1979. Her love of cows goes back to her childhood growing up on a dairy farm. "I've loved them since I was a kid. In 4-H my projects were always dairy related," she said.
One of Klossner's latest acquisitions is a painting of a Holstein she raised to be the 4-H Grand Champion in 1966. The cow's name was Klossner Princess Delight and is still fondly remembered decades later.
At this point, her collection of cow memorabilia is probably the largest in the world. In fact, Klossner is attempting to make the record official.
"Everything has a number," said Klossner, referring to each and every cow item in the collection. "That number is logged into a computer."
The creation of an inventory of all cow items on a computer database will allow The Guinness Book of Records to verify the record. Klossner is confident she has the record because the current recorder holder's collection is only 2,400 items.
Securing the world record would be a great feat, but Klossner said the real fun is hunting down all the bovine items and sharing them with people.
People from all over the world come to visit the Moo-seum. Last year's open house brought visitors from 17 different towns. Klossner has also received guests from as far away as the Netherlands. She welcomes everyone to visit and share her love for these animals.
The Moo-seum is located in rural Lafayette in the village of Bernadotte.--Clay Schuldt, The Journal