Winona County Historical Society

Winona County Historical Society The Winona County Historical Society operates The Winona County History Center in downtown Winona, MN; The Bunnell House in Homer; and The Rural Heritage Museum in St. Charles. We also offer a wide range of activities! Learn more at winonahistory.org
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Bring in a donation and get free admission tomorrow during Leap of Kindness Day!
02/28/2020

Bring in a donation and get free admission tomorrow during Leap of Kindness Day!

On the extra day we have this year, February 29, across the nation people will participate in Leap of Kindness Day. On Saturday bring in a donation for Winona's Warming Center and/or donate to WCHS and get free admission to the museum. The History Center is open 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturday.

WCHS Donations will go to:
-Youth AED pads ($100 goal)
-Sensory Friendly Museum Visit Kit ($50 goal)

Warming Center Donation Needs:
-Winter clothes of all sizes
-Windproof hats and gloves
-Garbage bags: 33 gallons, 13 gallons, & 2 gallons
-Cleaning supplies
-Non-perishable food
(The Warming Center does NOT need: Bedding, Appliances, Travel size hygiene products)

Join in the discussion Wednesday at 12:05 p.m.
02/25/2020

Join in the discussion Wednesday at 12:05 p.m.

On the extra day we have this year, February 29, across the nation people will participate in Leap of Kindness Day. On S...
02/24/2020

On the extra day we have this year, February 29, across the nation people will participate in Leap of Kindness Day. On Saturday bring in a donation for Winona's Warming Center and/or donate to WCHS and get free admission to the museum. The History Center is open 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturday.

WCHS Donations will go to:
-Youth AED pads ($100 goal)
-Sensory Friendly Museum Visit Kit ($50 goal)

Warming Center Donation Needs:
-Winter clothes of all sizes
-Windproof hats and gloves
-Garbage bags: 33 gallons, 13 gallons, & 2 gallons
-Cleaning supplies
-Non-perishable food
(The Warming Center does NOT need: Bedding, Appliances, Travel size hygiene products)

Emma Shelton, opened Winona’s first beauty shop at 63 West Second Street on May 13, 1909. She was born March 1, 1865 in ...
02/19/2020

Emma Shelton, opened Winona’s first beauty shop at 63 West Second Street on May 13, 1909. She was born March 1, 1865 in Hot Springs, Arkansas to a black mother who was a former slave. Her father was half black, ¼ Irish and ¼ Cherokee. At 37, Emma married Virgil Shelton and two days after their wedding Virgil reported for work in Winona for the railroad. Emma enrolled in beautician’s school in Chicago. She started out by going door to door with her bag of shampoos and lotions back in Winona. Emma already had the business of many wealthy Winona women by the time she opened her shop on Second Street. #blackhistorymonth #winonamn

Winona County Historical Society's cover photo
02/18/2020

Winona County Historical Society's cover photo

Winona County Historical Society's cover photo
02/18/2020

Winona County Historical Society's cover photo

February 14, 1933 - St. Valentine's Evening Carnival Dance Poster. Given by Winona Athletic Club Band - Corner of Fifth ...
02/13/2020

February 14, 1933 - St. Valentine's Evening Carnival Dance Poster. Given by Winona Athletic Club Band - Corner of Fifth Street and Mankato Ave. #tbt #winonamn

02/09/2020

The Open House is cancelled today due to the weather.

Winter Carnival Rhinestone Snowflake pin from 1963 and Winter Carnival Woman Ice Skater Pin from 1951. #tbt #winonamn
02/06/2020

Winter Carnival Rhinestone Snowflake pin from 1963 and Winter Carnival Woman Ice Skater Pin from 1951. #tbt #winonamn

#WelcometoWinona and our engaging history, shared stories & rich heritage. #winonamn
01/31/2020

#WelcometoWinona and our engaging history, shared stories & rich heritage. #winonamn

As a playful response to the Squarespace commercial featuring Winona Ryder, Visit Winona is inviting all Winona enthusia...
01/30/2020
Welcome to the Rest of Winona

As a playful response to the Squarespace commercial featuring Winona Ryder, Visit Winona is inviting all Winona enthusiasts to use the hashtag #WelcometoWinona and post their favorite Winona photos. They will be used to create a photo book showing other perspectives of Winona - everyone's "True Winona." Book proceeds will go to a local initiative. https://www.welcometotherestofwinona.com/

Portrait of Gertrude Hutcheson, a performer at the Winona Opera House, also pictured from 1902. #tbt #winonamn
01/30/2020

Portrait of Gertrude Hutcheson, a performer at the Winona Opera House, also pictured from 1902. #tbt #winonamn

The Laird Lucas Library and Archives got a little update this winter. Come in and check it out during our annual Museum ...
01/29/2020

The Laird Lucas Library and Archives got a little update this winter. Come in and check it out during our annual Museum Open House on Sunday, Feb. 9, 12 - 4 p.m. The archives is open weekdays 10 a.m. - 12 & 1 - 5 p.m. Walt and Andy can also help with research through phone or email. 507-454-2723 ext. 2; [email protected]

Check out the commercial that brought Winona back to Winona and her Squarespace website all about....Winona, or is it ab...
01/28/2020
Welcome to Winona

Check out the commercial that brought Winona back to Winona and her Squarespace website all about....Winona, or is it about Winona? 😉 https://www.welcometowinona.com/

Sugar Loaf is like the North Star of Winona. It’s perched above town and seemingly always visible. There’s even a spotlight shining on it at night.

A newspaper called "The Informer" was the Weekly Winona High School Newspaper. This edition is from January 1942 and is ...
01/16/2020

A newspaper called "The Informer" was the Weekly Winona High School Newspaper. This edition is from January 1942 and is Volume 1, Edition 1 and Number 1. The newspaper features numerous articles and advertisements written about what is happening at the High School that week. #TBT #winonamn

Fun new items are arriving at the Museum Shop! Check out these cuties for new little Minnesota fans. The tee also comes ...
01/14/2020

Fun new items are arriving at the Museum Shop! Check out these cuties for new little Minnesota fans. The tee also comes in a onesie! Plus, MN alphabet blankets, crinkle cloths, prints, and more.

Winona County Historical Society's cover photo
01/13/2020

Winona County Historical Society's cover photo

Winona Normal School football team 1905 #TBT
01/09/2020

Winona Normal School football team 1905 #TBT

01/01/2020
12/23/2019
The Archives will be closed for Christmas Dec. 23 - 25. Museum and Gift Shop Open Dec. 23, Closed Dec. 24 - 25. Have a M...
12/21/2019

The Archives will be closed for Christmas Dec. 23 - 25. Museum and Gift Shop Open Dec. 23, Closed Dec. 24 - 25. Have a Merry Christmas!

#tbt to Christmas at The Oaks with The Jim Cronen Band in 1948. Did you ever attend Christmas at The Oaks?
12/19/2019

#tbt to Christmas at The Oaks with The Jim Cronen Band in 1948. Did you ever attend Christmas at The Oaks?

Need a few last minute gifts? There are some great locally made gifts in the Museum Shop, including all natural soaps in...
12/16/2019

Need a few last minute gifts? There are some great locally made gifts in the Museum Shop, including all natural soaps in delicious holiday scents, cozy knits and vintage toys and games make great stocking stuffers. Open weekdays 9 - 5, Saturday 10 - 4 and Sunday 12-4.

#tbt to the holiday lights in downtown Winona in the 1940s.
12/12/2019

#tbt to the holiday lights in downtown Winona in the 1940s.

Photos with Santa - Christmas Festival 2019
12/11/2019

Photos with Santa - Christmas Festival 2019

The lucky winner of the 2019 quilt is Sue Burnett of Winona. Thank you to the Winona Area Quilters Guild and Mary Nelson...
12/10/2019

The lucky winner of the 2019 quilt is Sue Burnett of Winona. Thank you to the Winona Area Quilters Guild and Mary Nelson for creating the beautiful quilt and those that purchased chances to win.

Thank you for all the fun at the Christmas Festival yesterday! Photos with Santa will be posted soon.
12/09/2019

Thank you for all the fun at the Christmas Festival yesterday! Photos with Santa will be posted soon.

Winona County Historical Society's cover photo
12/09/2019

Winona County Historical Society's cover photo

12/08/2019
We are having some Christmas fun this afternoon at the History Center! The Old Fashioned Family Christmas Festival goes ...
12/08/2019

We are having some Christmas fun this afternoon at the History Center! The Old Fashioned Family Christmas Festival goes until 4 pm today!

The Morgan block of Third Street in downtown Winona was lost to the Federal Urban Renewal Project in the 1960s. The auto...
12/04/2019

The Morgan block of Third Street in downtown Winona was lost to the Federal Urban Renewal Project in the 1960s. The automated Santa once waved to passersby in either the Choate or Bailey’s Department stores’ Christmas window display.

Winona County Historical Society's cover photo
12/04/2019

Winona County Historical Society's cover photo

This Sunday is our new event - An Old Fashioned Family Christmas Festival. There are a ton of fun activities including f...
12/04/2019

This Sunday is our new event - An Old Fashioned Family Christmas Festival. There are a ton of fun activities including favorite Christmas Stories with area educators! Hear from:
12:15 - Barb Rahn
12:30 - Carolyn Goplen
1:00 - Kristi Conway (WAPS Teacher of the Year!)
1:30 - Mary Yahnke
2:00 - Marjie Van Cleave
2:30 - Karen Skugrud
3:00 - Bonnie Kalmes
3:30 - Cheri Weaver

It is the last week to get your tickets for the Annual Quilt Raffle! Thank you to the Winona Area Quilters Guild for the...
12/02/2019

It is the last week to get your tickets for the Annual Quilt Raffle! Thank you to the Winona Area Quilters Guild for the creating the beautiful and colorful queen sized quilt for this year. The drawing will be held at the end of the Old Fashioned Family Christmas Festival this Sunday!

12/01/2019
Museum Shop WCHS Members' Sale

Hey WCHS Members! Happy Holidays! Enjoy 25% off in the Museum Shop all December. Thank you for being a part of WCHS.

The Winona County History Center will be CLOSED today due to the weather. We hope to see you all this weekend for Shop S...
11/27/2019

The Winona County History Center will be CLOSED today due to the weather. We hope to see you all this weekend for Shop Small Saturday and Museum Store Sunday!

11/27/2019
Fun new holiday and winter items are in at the Museum Shop at the History Center. Swing by and check them out! + Find mo...
11/20/2019

Fun new holiday and winter items are in at the Museum Shop at the History Center. Swing by and check them out! + Find more at the Handmade Neighborhood Sale and Winona Art Walk THIS SATURDAY, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. + Mugby Junction will be here with a pop-up cafe, so you don't drop while you shop. #winonamn #onlyinmn #localhistory #shopsmall

#tbt to the 1875 view of the Hoard and Tenney Art Emporium, this photographic studio used to be located at 18 Center Str...
11/14/2019

#tbt to the 1875 view of the Hoard and Tenney Art Emporium, this photographic studio used to be located at 18 Center Street in Winona. Stop by the History Center today and view many of Charles Tenney’s photographs in our exhibit, Victorian Winona: Through the Lens of Charles Tenney.

The “hold-up proof” bank teller cage was installed in the interior of the Lewiston Security State Bank in 1932 as a prot...
11/07/2019

The “hold-up proof” bank teller cage was installed in the interior of the Lewiston Security State Bank in 1932 as a protective measure. This photo was taken 10 years later and features Webster A. Fischer and E.A. Highum. Part of the cage is located in our main exhibit at the History Center. Stop by today to learn more about it!

11/04/2019

A huge THANK YOU to all the volunteers and those that came for the Voices From the Past "Fall Back" Performances on Sunday!

The Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940 ripped through the region stranding and even killing many duck hunters that went out ...
11/01/2019

The Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940 ripped through the region stranding and even killing many duck hunters that went out on what started as an unseasonably mild day. This duck boat was originally owned by Chancey Henry “Bud” Safranek. The boat was used by Bud Safranek during the Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940.

We love this! The Sims dressed as the first owners of their historic Winona home they are restoring – Enoch and Emma Sto...
10/31/2019

We love this! The Sims dressed as the first owners of their historic Winona home they are restoring – Enoch and Emma Stott - for Halloween. Enoch (1856-1923) owned a glove and mitten company in the Stott building on Third St. (now where Burke’s Music House is located, across from Nostallja Salon). You can see “Stott” in the masonry at the top of the building. Emma (1860-1933) frequently held meetings with a group of Winona women in our house to raise money to build local playgrounds. She was also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Address

160 Johnson St
Winona, MN
55987

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00
Sunday 12:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(507) 454-2723

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About WCHS

The Winona County Historical Society is a private non-profit educational institution, and our mission is to be dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and interpretation of materials that document the history of Winona County, Minnesota. The Society currently has over 1400 members and 60 active business supporters. The Society operates three museums. The Winona County History Center in downtown Winona houses the main museum facility, Laird Lucas Library and Archives, Society offices and program and event spaces. The Bunnell House is located in Homer and the Rural Heritage Museum is on the Winona County Fairgrounds in St. Charles.

The Winona County Historical Society was founded in June 1935 at a meeting of interested citizens in the Winona County Courthouse. The first president was William Codman, a local attorney and amateur historian. The first secretary was Mildred Sebo, a local 4-H leader in the county. The year before, Mildred organized a Winona County historical pageant in Whitewater State Park that was very successful, and it was from that event the idea of starting the Society emerged.

The Society had its first headquarters in the courthouse and later acquired space in the Arlington Club and at Phelps Hall at Winona State University. During and after WWII the Society was relatively inactive. In 1954, a group of Winona citizens sought to revitalize the Society and approached Dr. Lewis I. Younger, a local physician and well known collector. Dr. Younger eagerly took on the responsibility, and under his leadership over the next 21 years, he helped make the Society one of the most active and well-respected county organizations in the state. During his tenure the Society’s offices and collection were moved into the second floor of the Lumberman’s building across from the Winona Public Library. The Society’s current home in the former National Guard Armory building (1915) was purchased and given to the Society by the Laird-Norton Co. in 1971 and dedicated in 1973. In 2009 construction started on the 12,000 sq. ft. modern Laird Norton Addition, designed by award winning architect Joan Soranno of the firm Hammel, Green and Abrahamson. With a historic $1.5 million challenge grant from the Laird Norton Company and donations from over 1000 individuals, businesses, local governments and foundations the $4.5 million project was a great success and was dedicated July 18, 2010 to celebrate the Society’s 75th anniversary.

The Armory part of the Winona County History Center was restored the summer of 2012. Thanks to a Minnesota Cultural Heritage Grant from Minnesota’s Legacy Funds and the Elizabeth Callendar King foundation the 1915 Armory was reenforced, tuck-pointed, and its battlements and turrets are back! In 2017 WCHS opened the Rural Heritage Museum on the County Fairgrounds that includes a museum building, historic schoolhouse, log house and log barn. The Bunnell House has had various restoration projects since the Society acquired it in 1954. It stands the test of time and is a continued testament to the first Euro-American settlers that stayed in what would become Winona County.

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