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“A forgotten chapter of MN history”

State School Orphanage Museum
Ranked #1 of 23 things to do in Owatonna
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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.
Chatfield, Minnesota
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“A forgotten chapter of MN history”
Reviewed April 11, 2012

The State School once was home to all of Minnesota's neglected, abused, or orhapned children. Some loved it, some hated it, but it had a significant impact on thousands of MN children. The museum and cottages are worth spending 2-3 hours to check out.

Visited October 2011
Helpful?
5 Thank Kery E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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38 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Owatonna, Minnesota
Level 6 Contributor
466 reviews
112 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 140 helpful votes
“Very interesting and informative”
Reviewed January 15, 2012

We visited when Harvey Ronglien was a tour guide. He grew up in the orphanage. He stayed late, after closing time to show us the museum and tell us the history.

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
4 Thank Carl W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Owatonna, Minnesota
Level 6 Contributor
100 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“A very sad place”
Reviewed January 2, 2012

I try and go at least once a year. It maybe sad but we need to realize how good we have it now. It is our Minnesota history that should not be forgotten.

Helpful?
2 Thank tammyb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis
Level 5 Contributor
89 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
“Very moving, informative and beautiful grounds.”
Reviewed September 26, 2011

For years I have wanted to visit the Orphanage Museum and finally were able to on a recent lovely autumn afternoon.

It was late on a Saturday afternoon but we were able to enter the museum through the Arts Center entrance. The cost is free but donations are welcome.

The exhibits cover mostly the 60 years that the acreage operated as an orphanage and tells the stories of many of the children who came there through heart wrenching situations.

This place is probably the highlight of Owatonna along with the city's beautiful parks.

Visited September 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank cecilia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chillicothe, Ohio
Level 6 Contributor
188 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 322 helpful votes
“A memorable visit”
Reviewed October 17, 2008

We visited the State School Orphanage Museum on September 24, 2008. The museum is housed in a large brick building, which apparently also contains various offices for the City of Owatonna. The museum is set up in several hallways of the building, and the exhibits do an excellent job of presenting the life that residents of the orphanage faced. Some outbuildings and a cemetery remain from the days of the orphanage. I found the exhibits to be very illuminating and well done. No charge is made for the museum, but there is an opportunity for free will offerings if one so desires. It was a memorable experience.

Helpful?
5 Thank Toofaraway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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