Find your roots at the History CenterRed Wing has always valued its roots. As far back as 1869, local residents were a part of the establishment of Minnesota's first county historical society - the Goodhue County Historical Society, chartered in 1869.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing has always valued its roots.
As far back as 1869, local residents were a part of the establishment of Minnesota's first county historical society - the Goodhue County Historical Society, chartered in 1869.
After residing for 37 years in the basement of the County Courthouse, the society moved into the Baptist Old People's Home building on College Hill in Red Wing in September 1969. Between 1989 and 1992, the building was remodeled to increase storage and exhibit space.
Inside, the Goodhue County History Center has more answers than people have questions. It is the repository of all the stories and images that have been collected over the past 140 years - stories about native settlers, early immigrants and missionaries, soldiers and farmers, athletes and school teachers, potters and shoe makers.
The museum contains more than 150,000 artifacts.
Throughout the year museum staff offers programs, tours, lectures, films and events. There are guest speakers and demonstrations of traditional crafts, holiday events, vintage film showings, and a busy schedule of programs for school children. For fall of 2009, a Harvest Festival is being planned for November.
Special exhibits focus on the history of townships in the county.
Also at the History Center:
• Permanent exhibits
On the three levels there are permanent exhibits devoted to archeology, agriculture, geology, immigration, Native Americans, the clay/pottery industry, fashions, the military, business and industry, churches, sports and leisure, medicine and law. For each topic there are displays, photographs, paintings, artifacts and interactive presentations.
The History Center has videotapes that offer an intriguing glimpse of the past. Titles include "History of Goodhue County 1996," "A History of the Heartland: Special Historic Country Churches," "Children and the Law: Tour of Goodhue County Courthouse," "This is Red Wing, 1953" and "Charles Biederman, Arts in America."
• Research materials
The Jean M. Chesley Research Library, open Tuesday through Friday, offers county censuses, phone books/directories, county newspaper obituaries, plat books, burial listings, military information and church records, plus a collection of more than 16,000 photographs. A computerized database speeds searches and keeps inventory of thousands of pieces of information.
Members can use the research library free. Nonmembers are charged $1 an hour to a maximum of $5. Staff also will do research for a fee.
• Gift shop
The gift shop is filled with educational toys, reproductions, Native American jewelry and gifts relating to county history, including a large collection of books by local authors.
Volunteers are an essential part of the museum's programming. Anyone interested in being a tour guide, museum guardian, library aide, research assistant, newsletter writer, oral history interviewers/transcribers, resource speaker or special program helper should contact the museum.
The History Center is located at 1166 Oak St. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, free to members and children under 16 with adults. For more information, call (651) 388-6024 or go online to www.goodhuehistory.mus.mn.us.
Red Wing also is home to four other museums:
• American Ski Jumping Hall of Fame
Mezzanine of St. James Hotel (exhibits)
406 Main St.
Exhibits open hotel hours
• Red Wing Collectors Society Museum
Pottery Place Mall, 2000 Old W. Main St.
Open mall hours
• Red Wing Shoe Co. Museum and Store
315 Main St.
Open seven days a week
• The Aliveo Learning Center
321 Bush St.
Artifacts including authentic weapons and uniforms from U.S. wars
Open weekends or by appointment