Travels with Children

The adventures I embark upon with my four young children.

Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum

  • 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.

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