If you want to learn about Winona and the surrounding area this is the place you visit first. - Z. E. L. Facebook review, 2017
The Winona County History Center is the Society's main museum and is located in historic downtown Winona, Minnesota. The History Center is housed in Winona's 1915 National Guard Armory and the award-winning contemporary Laird Norton Addition.
Exhibits examine life in Winona County from early humans, the Dakota, Euro-American settlement, to the diverse communities of that make up Winona County today. The encircling balcony gallery — once an exercise track for the Guard — houses the Winona County Time Line exhibit, which begins with the area’s unique geologic formation and a history of Winona's landmark, Sugar Loaf. On the main exhibit floor there is a hands-on children’s exhibit, Walking Through Time, which received an award from the American Association for State and Local History; children are invited to explore a cave, tepee and river steamboat pilot house. The Cube is the newest addition to the exhibit galleries, featuring hands-on preschool activities based on the larger exhibits found in the History Center. (Please note that our children's areas are closed for your safety at this time.) Other exhibits include topics on architecture, industry, farming, entertainment, local businesses, wartime and more...all incorporating artifacts from our vast collections.
Many fun activities are offered throughout the year at the History Center for history fans of all ages! Check out the To Do page often for upcoming programs, events, and classes!
Hours: The Winona County History Center is currently open Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. The Laird Lucas Library & Archives is open weekdays only. Closed Sundays & Holidays.
Admission: $5 Adults, $3 Students, Free for WCHS Members, Students doing research and Children 7 and younger.
Location: 160 Johnson St., downtown Winona, Minnesota. The History Center's Parking Lot is located behind LaBoutique just off Fourth Street. If full, the farthest lot on the map is 4 blocks away, or about a 7 minute walk. Most are 3 blocks or less from the History Center. Downtown Parking - Area Parking Map
Rentals: Spaces in the Winona County History Center can be rented for your meeting or special occasion. Email: email@example.com
The Bunnell House Open June - August seasonally for guided tours The WCHS Bunnell House will not open for tours this season. To help save operational funds and due to the unknown timeframe of reopening museums and other public places we have decided to not open the Bunnell House this year. In the late 1840s, the well-known Dakota Chief, Wapasha, granted permission to fur-trader, Willard Bunnell, to build a cabin on Dakota land at what is now Homer, Minnesota. Within a few years Bunnell built another, much finer, home nearby to house his wife, Matilda, and family — the present-day Bunnell House. An outstanding example of Rural Gothic Architecture, the home is built of northern white pine, encompassing the historical period during which Native American canoes gave way to steamboats and game-trails became roads for Euro-Americans.
Admission: $5 Adults, $3 Students, Free for WCHS Members, Students doing research and Children 7 and younger. Location: Three miles down river from Winona, just off Highway 61, at Homer, Minnesota. Watch for the brown signs! Parking in lot and on street. The Bunnell House is not easily handicap accessible.
The Rural Heritage Museum Open during the Winona County Fair and St. Charles Gladiolus Days The Rural Heritage Museum is still on hold for opening. We are in contact with the Winona County Fair Board about upcoming decisions about the Winona County Fair’s schedule and if it will be changed or not.
Opened in 2017, the WCHS' newest museum is located on the Winona County Fairgrounds in St. Charles, Minnesota. Along with the museum exhibit building, visitors can explore the historic Gainey-McCarthy Schoolhouse, the Hill sisters’ log house, and an early log barn. The museum site is dedicated to the pioneer history of Winona County and our agricultural heritage. Check it out annually during the Winona County Fair and St. Charles' Gladiolus Days.
The WCHS' Pioneer School summer day camps are a long-time favorite for students 7 - 12 years old.
Admission: Free will donation.
Location: Just off Hwy 14 in St. Charles, Minnesota. Follow Fair entrance signs, we are to the far left of the main entrance, up front, where the fair parking area ends. The main museum building is red and white with a green roof and there is a large sign on the building...you can't miss it!