State School Orphanage Museum

State School Orphanage Museum, Owatonna: Address, Phone Number, State School Orphanage Museum Reviews: 4.5/5

State School Orphanage Museum

State School Orphanage Museum
4.5
About
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.
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4.5
54 reviews
Excellent
42
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10
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1

Robin B
Phoenix, AZ1,115 contributions
Deserted museum
Sep 2021
I was really looking forward to visiting this museum was, but it was beyond disappointing. It is located in a building that states it is “city hall” over the entry door, so I’m not sure whether it originally was the orphanage or it just currently houses the display cases. And we would never find out because there was absolutely no one around to ask. The place was completely deserted at 3:00 in the afternoon. It appeared that the museum consisted of display cases of photos lining the hallways of the building. I couldn’t discern any order and frankly, reading display cases isn’t my favorite way to see a museum. And what cemetery? It would have been nice if there had been someone around to ask . . .
Written October 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Bill K
Mantorville, MN5,034 contributions
A Must for History Buffs
Oct 2019
If you take some time here you will get a very complete picture of the history of orphaned/unwanted children in America. Be prepared to be moved to tears at times. If you are a history buff, and want a fuller picture of human services in the 20th century...this is the place to visit. If your interest is further piqued by what you see they have a number of resources for further study. I found this museum to be heartbreaking, yet oh so informative.
Written January 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lydia Tuan
1 contribution
Love is paradise
Dec 2019
child live and life in this world without love and protect from their parent. I knew what they feel and feel it too. They was great and may god always bless all of you. Love you kids!
Written December 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Marilyn B
Fairfax, Minnesota, United States7 contributions
Very Interesting!
Aug 2019 • Couples
Amazing part of MN history that I never knew about before this visit. These children were taken care of but certainly did not experience 'typical family life' growing up here. Purchased the book "Boy from C-11". Wonderful read to follow this visit. Be sure to see the cottage & cemetery. Didn't have time to see the cemetery, but will return to visit that also. NOTE: This Museum is in the same building as the Owatonna Art Center. Be sure to go in there also & check out the room with the mural on the ceiling...beautiful!! And the stained glass preserved from a church.
We took our grandsons with us (ages 7 & 9). They did not totally comprehend the full impact of this school, but think it made them appreciate all that they have. Will take them back in a few years to tour this again. They really enjoyed the ceiling mural in the art center!
Written September 9, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

JoB
Ancaster, Canada1,516 contributions
Sobering story of unloved children
Sep 2019 • Couples
Children born to mothers who were unable to love them, had fathers that were often abusive, that were institutionalized into unloving environments, were used as indentured child-labour, were separated from sibling love... The painful list goes on. Sure they were fed, and clothed, and taught, but there was much wisdom in closing these institutions and offering more loving options.

I went away from this museum wishing that all children could be valued and loved, and enjoy the freedom to just be children.
Written September 3, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

AshleyBre
Elysian, MN249 contributions
Wonderful History
Jul 2019 • Family
It's free. It's history. It's interesting! Really loved seeing the displays and reading the stories throughout. Went here in the middle of the week and we were the only guests. No one bothered us, and it was nice to just go at your own pace. We even got to meet someone who was volunteering there that was in the orphanage as a child. She had such interesting things to say.
Written July 31, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kristi B
16 contributions
Unique Piece of History Done
Aug 2018 • Friends
This respectfully restored orphanage museum is a rare and poignant look at the history of The Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children, a residential and educational facility for wards of the state from 1886 to 1945. Well worth a visit!
Written February 17, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Marquisman
Owatonna MN97 contributions
It's all about the kids
Oct 2018 • Solo
Owatonna, MN, was the home of the state school for Orphans for much of the 1900's. A former resident and his wife spearheaded a committee to collect the memorabilia and display it in one of the buldings (which is now the offices for the City). They also restored some of the classrooms, placed crosses on the graves in the cemetary and promoted the progress with several open houses each year. There is a guided tour available on-line or with a printed guidebook.
Written November 6, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Curtis P
Minneapolis, MN512 contributions
Day trip
Oct 2018 • Couples
What a beautiful museum. It was free and so well done. It was sad, but also had success stories. It is worth the stop. The buildings as well as the grounds were beautiful...
Written October 23, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Clare L
Tucson12 contributions
Interesting history
Oct 2018 • Couples
The museum shows the early beginnings of the orphanage and the fate of many young children. Good presentations.
Written October 11, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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