Jun 21 2008

Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum in Owatonna, MN

  • 540 West Hills Circle, Owatonna, MN
  • 800-423-6466
  • www.orphanagemuseum.com
  • Free
  • Free parking
  • Restrooms available
  • Stroller accessible

Another museum I’d read about in guidebooks was the “State School” museum in Owatonna.  Before we left for the day, we watched the WCCO “Finding Minnesota” segment about the state orphanage and its museum.

Although the museum was interesting, it wasn’t quite what I expected.  After watching the news segment, I had envisioned a large museum with guides available.  Instead, the State School now houses the Owatonna city offices, an arts center, and other organizations.  The museum is a series of display cases on the main floor, adjacent to the city offices, and there is an audio walking tour available to take you around the grounds.  A guide is available for scheduled groups, but for the general public, the museum is self-guided.

The information and artifacts were interesting to me, but it wasn’t a great place for small kids, so we did a rather quick tour.  From the comments that had been left in the guestbook, the museum holds a lot of special memories for former residents and staff, and it is an important part of Minnesota history.  But because it is not hands-on, it is probably better suited for older children and adults.

State School 2

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3 comments so far

3 Comments to “Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum in Owatonna, MN”

  1. Village of Yesteryear in Owatonna, MN on 02 Sep 2009 at 4:59 pm

    [...] The Village of Yesteryear isn’t the only thing of interest to do in Owatonna, Minnesota.  The Wells Fargo bank downtown is one of architect Louis Sullivan’s “Jewel Box” banks, and there is a small museum at the former State School Orphanage. [...]

  2. Gloria Irwin on 20 Apr 2010 at 12:01 am

    Did you ever have orphans: Luella Gorman, Viola Gorman and Louise Gorman in your orphanage? Thank you for your reply. Gloria

  3. minnemom on 20 Apr 2010 at 6:25 am


    I was a visitor to the State School Orphanage a few years ago, but I do not work there. Perhaps someone at the orphanage could help you with your question. 800-423-6466
    or http://www.orphanagemuseum.com

    Thanks for reading Travels with Children.


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