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

Improve this listing
Sponsored by:
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Your filters are still active.
There are no pins in your viewport. Try moving the map or changing your filters.
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: 540 West Hills Circle, Owatonna, MN
Phone Number: +1 507-774-7369
Website
Description: Experience what life was like at this state-run school for orphaned or...
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.
read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 21 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 17
    Excellent
  • 4
    Very good
  • 0
    Average
  • 0
    Poor
  • 0
    Terrible
Interesting History

Great exhibit, very interesting information on Minnesota history and the lives of orphans in the early to mid 1900's.

5 of 5 starsReviewed June 30, 2015
MNGTO
,
Minnesota
Add Photo Write a Review

21 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Rate and write a review
Roll over, then click to rate
  Click to rate
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Minnesota
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2015

Great exhibit, very interesting information on Minnesota history and the lives of orphans in the early to mid 1900's.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Museum540, Museum Director at State School Orphanage Museum, responded to this review

Thank you for visiting our Museum and for taking the time to share your thoughts with others. We appreciate it so much! More 

Owatonna, Minnesota
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2014

Self guided tour for the most part. You will see what life was like for the children who were left here. It is emotional and thought provoking. Tour the main building which houses the museum and a local art gallery. Then visit the boys cabin, cemetery and grounds. One of the last surviving boys lends his voice and stories through... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Owatonna, MN
Level Contributor
19 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2014

I have a relative that lived in the orphanage and this is a very, very good tribute to the people that have lived there.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Lake City, Minnesota
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
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 1
Owatonna, Minnesota
Level Contributor
53 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 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 1
Alpena, MI
Level Contributor
73 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 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 1
La Jolla
Level Contributor
22 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 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 3
Farmington, Minnesota
Level Contributor
22 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 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 2
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
58 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 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 3
Iowa
Level Contributor
23 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 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 4

Travelers who viewed State School Orphanage Museum also viewed

 

Been to State School Orphanage Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about State School Orphanage Museum

Address: 540 West Hills Circle, Owatonna, MN
Phone Number: +1 507-774-7369
Location: United States  >  Minnesota (MN)  >  Owatonna

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

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from State School Orphanage Museum staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?