We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

State School Orphanage Museum

540 West Hills Circle, Owatonna, MN
+1 507-774-7369
Website
Improve this listing
100%
Ranked #1 of 12 Attractions in Owatonna
Type: Specialty Museums, Museums
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Experience what life was like at this state-run school for orphaned or neglected children. The Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children was built in 1886 and closed in 1945. The museum uses exhibits of artifacts, as well as video and audio stations to tell the story of the more than 10,000 children who came through the school.

Hotels near State School Orphanage Museum

Write a Review

19 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    15
    4
    0
    0
    0
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Lake City, Minnesota
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2014

It was so interesting. The museum is well organized. There are audio kiosks placed around the entire estate to listen to that explain what you are seeing. A must see.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Owatonna, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2014

If you are in Owatonna, MN you must visit the State School Orphanage Museum Many people are not aware of the State School Orphanage which was in Owatonna. It is very interesting and provides a glimpse into the days of the past. On certain days you can even visit an old dormitory to see where the kids slept and what... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Alpena, MI
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
3 attraction reviews
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2014

This was a blast from the past. If you are at all interested in child welfare or what a window into how things were, this is your place. It is beautiful yet haunting as you look back at how children were raised in the orphanage. I left with mixed feelings about the value of an orphanage. I found it interesting... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
La Jolla
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2014

This was such a moving experience. First you drive up to these beautiful grounds and see majestic buildings that were made to stand the test of time. You go into the main building and start reading some of the stories and see the photos and you begin to feel some emotional pain. We were fortunate to be there when the... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Farmington, Minnesota
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

Lived in Minnesota for over 30 years and had no idea this hidden gem was only an hour away. Went with a local tour group, and we all felt impacted by this visit. The volunteers are so dedicated and was fortunate to have an actual resident of the orphanage as our guide. The museum staff provided us with delightful refreshments... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
10 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2014

I've been visiting this site since I was a child. I have always been fascinated by the lives of the children who lived at this orphanage. There are a lot of artifacts to see, and stories to read. It's a somber day, but it's a good day too. They just opened a new cottage for viewing, to see where the... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
salem
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2013

We found out about this historic site merely by accident (looking for something to do as visitors to this part of Minnesota). A truly worthy, humbling place to visit, considering the history and number of children cared for here. As others have mentioned, the grounds, building architecture are excellent to behold. The Children's Cemetary deeply impacts the heart, quiets the... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Iowa
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
9 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013

I met friends here, who with me took the self-guided tour through the museum and then the walk through the grounds, where audio stations are set up. This is a high quality presentation of history. I will return to walk the grounds again with others. There is no fee, but there is an opportunity to leave a free-will donation in... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Vadnais Heights, Minnesota
Top Contributor
181 reviews 181 reviews
120 attraction reviews
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2013

The State School Orphanage has a museum, cottage, audio tour, and printed information for learning more about the history. It was my understanding that one needed to arrange a tour guide by having a group. We were fortunate to be allowed to "tag along" with a previously formed group led by Harvey Ronglien, former resident from age 5-18. It was... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 6
St. Paul, MN
Top Contributor
173 reviews 173 reviews
37 attraction reviews
218 helpful votes 218 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2013

On a recent visit to Owatonna we stopped here to visit. The grounds are impressive. The buildings have been maintained very well. Most of them are being used for different groups. The museum has nice exhibits of how the orphanage was in the past. There are many pictures and stories to read from actual people who lived there. Some of... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 5

Travelers who viewed State School Orphanage Museum also viewed

 

Been to State School Orphanage Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing