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About Us

Our Mission Statement

Goodhue County Historical Society serves as the steward for county history by collecting, preserving, and promoting the natural and cultural history of Goodhue County through education and outreach.

Minnesota’s oldest county historical society, the Goodhue County Historical Society was chartered in 1869. After residing for 37 years in the basement of the County Courthouse, the Society moved into the Baptist Old People’s Home building on College Hill in Red Wing in September of 1969. Between 1989 and 1992, the building was remodeled to increase storage and exhibit space.

The History Center is handicapped accessible.

Staff

Executive Director: Robin Wipperling
director@goodhistory.org

Curator of Collections & Exhibits: Afton Esson
collections@goodhistory.org

Archivist: Liz Schmidt
library@goodhistory.org

Education & Outreach Coordinator: Paul Hildebrandt
education@goodhistory.org

Board of Directors

Chair: Todd Avery, Hay Creek Township
Vice-Chair: Kate Lang Red Wing
Secretary:
Treasurer:
County Commissioner: Susan Betcher

Lindsey Langhans, Red Wing
Roseanne Grosso, Red Wing
Bruce Hemmah, Cannon Falls Township
Alyssa Riegelman, Red Wing
Margo Bellanger
Ken Cunningham, Red Wing
Lottie Aslakson, Red Wing
Rebecca Pung, Hay Creek

Newsletters

History

1869

“Old Settlers Association” was founded – the first county historical society in Minnesota. Rev. J. W. Hancock was elected president. The purpose of the organization was “preserving the memories of old times and keeping up the fond relations of the old-time boys.” (Goodhue County Republican)

1905

The Association was reorganized and added “collecting and preserving records and artifacts” to the previously stated purpose of “awakening and maintaining interest in the early history of Goodhue County.”

1906

The Association was given space in the new Carnegie-Lawther Public Library in Red Wing. It consisted of one cabinet to display artifacts along with basement storage.

1927

The name was changed to Goodhue County Historical Society

1932

The first museum was opened in the county courthouse. A two-day “white elephant” sale was held to raise funds.

1938

The Society hired its first paid employee – a curator.

1954

The Society incorporated.

1963

When county government needed more space in the courthouse, the Society relocated within the building. This prompted a search for a more permanent site for the museum.

1966

County commissioners allocated funds through 1/2 mill levy for 1967. This helped fund the Society and the position of curator.

1967

The Society started its Oral History Program in an effort to record the personal stories of county residents.

1968

The Society moved into the former Baptist Old People’s Home. Work began on preparing exhibit space and the museum opened on November 1.

1983

Planning began for a museum expansion project. After in-depth planning, the Society was able to receive the required funding through county appropriations (1987-1991), a one-time mill levy from the state legislature, and Society fund-raising.

1989

The Society moved out of the old building in preparation for museum expansion.

1991

The groundbreaking ceremony takes place on April 16 for museum expansion project.

1993

The Grand Opening of the expanded Historical Museum takes place.

1995

Museum hires first paid director.

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