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Museum making a GIANT impression

By Staff | Feb 28, 2011

Mike Binkley

Mike Binkley and Shelly Greimann are no strangers to having cameras in their faces, but the two are familiar with the concept for very different reasons.

Binkley is a morning news anchor for WCCO TV in the Twin Cities, and he’s also a reporter for WCCO’s “Finding Minnesota” series — which recently brought him to Greimann.

Greimann has been the executive director of the Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce for 14 years, and the media has always had somewhat of a “Giant” interest in the small town.

“I remember back when I started, the first time I had a camera stuck in my face,” she says.

Whether it was a television, newspaper or magazine reporter, Greimann and others at the chamber office have been the ones to contact when members of the media wanted to learn more about the home of the Green Giant.

WCCO cameraman Tom Aviles (left) and reporter Mike Binkley (right) interview Lowell Steen on Tuesday.

“We are actively promoting Blue Earth in the state and out of the state,” Greimann says, adding that she’s even been contacted by Good Morning America and USA Today in the past.

Most recently showing interest in Blue Earth was Binkley, who decided to feature the Green Giant Museum in a segment of the “Finding Minnesota” series.

“I’m always looking for something different,” Binkley says.

The reporter often turns to Google to find interesting places spread across Minnesota that he can visit next.

He was using the search engine to learn more about the 55-foot Jolly Green Giant statue in Blue Earth when he stumbled on an article by former Register writer Judy Sabin that featured the Green Giant museum — something Binkley didn’t even realize existed.

WCCO TV reporter Mike Binkley (left) interviews Lowell Steen about the Green Giant memorabilia he donated to the Green Giant Museum in Blue Earth. The interview is a segment for a “Finding Minnesota” series that WCCO airs weekly.

“I can say it’s thanks to the Faribault County Register that I’m here,” Binkley says.

“And Google,” he quickly adds.

Tuesday morning, Binkley and cameraman Tom Aviles drove down from the Cities to meet with Greimann and Lowell Steen, the man behind most of the museum.

Steen has donated a majority of the Green Giant memorabilia featured in the museum, and spent upwards of an hour showing Binkley and Aviles all of the toys, trinkets and figurines that the museum showcases.

Despite collecting an extensive amount of footage, the final segment that ran on WCCO lasted a mere 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. It may seem short, but it’s actually much longer than most other stories that were featured on the news along with it.

“In TV news time, it’s an eternity,” Aviles explains.

The Green Giant Museum segment was aired on WCCO at 10 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27, and this morning at 5:45 a.m. and noon.