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State School Orphanage Museum

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Address: 540 W Hills Cir, Owatonna, MN 55060-4701
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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Hidden jewel of southern Minnesota

I recently visited here with my aunt, who along with my uncle and cousins, has lived in Owatonna for over 40 years but who recently discovered this hidden gem. Turns out one of... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed May 13, 2016
2CatsMom
,
Omaha, Nebraska
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24 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 24: English reviews
Omaha, Nebraska
Level Contributor
66 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2016

I recently visited here with my aunt, who along with my uncle and cousins, has lived in Owatonna for over 40 years but who recently discovered this hidden gem. Turns out one of their former neighbors was a resident of the state home as a child in the 1930s! Being from Omaha, the facility reminds me of a scaled down... More 

Helpful?
Thank 2CatsMom
Museum540, Manager at State School Orphanage Museum, responded to this review

Thank you so much for the kind review! I love the heading you gave it. We are always happy when we make an impact on our visitors, and sharing your thoughts on TripAdvisor may help others come to plan a stop and learn the stories. Our mission is to keep alive the memory of the 10,635 children who came to... More 

Montgomery, Minnesota
Level Contributor
22 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2016

I went here after I watched a documentary of the orphanage on PBS. I was very intrigued and my family and I took a roadtrip to Owatonna. I loved seeing the actual buildings after watching it on TV. The museum was well done and we really enjoyed our visit.

Helpful?
Thank Chrisjoyy
Museum540, Manager at State School Orphanage Museum, responded to this review

Thank you for the terrific review! We appreciate you taking the time to share your opinion. We're so happy you enjoyed the visit. Anne Peterson Museum Director More 

Owatonna, Minnesota, United States
Level Contributor
32 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2016

We are personal friends with Harvey and Maxine Ronglien, who were instrumental in the founding and creating the museum. The entire city has come along side them to pull together memories and history of the State School of our countries history. Plan enough time to walk through the Art Center which is in the same building. Call ahead if you... More 

Helpful?
Thank Pat K
Museum540, Manager at State School Orphanage Museum, responded to this review

Thank you for the kind review! We are so grateful to Harvey & Maxine for their years of dedication to make sure the lives of the State School children are remembered. Anne Peterson Museum Director More 

Minnesota
Level Contributor
15 reviews
3 attraction 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.

Helpful?
Thank MNGTO
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
15 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 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 

Helpful?
4 Thank Gwen Z
Owatonna, MN
Level Contributor
45 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 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.

Helpful?
2 Thank LuvToTravel0899
Lake City, Minnesota
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 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.

Helpful?
1 Thank nagel57
Owatonna, Minnesota
Level Contributor
97 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 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 

Helpful?
1 Thank retiredguy2014
Alpena, MI
Level Contributor
88 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 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 

Helpful?
1 Thank TBTSM
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 

Helpful?
3 Thank VoddyK

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  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?