The Winona County Historical Society takes the health of our staff, volunteers, and visitors seriously. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak we are taking actions based on orders of Minnesota Governor Walz, and recommendations by the Center of Disease Control, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Minnesota Historical Society. WCHS programs and events are adapting to these guidelines and our own to provide a safe environment for you to continue to enjoy learning about Winona County’s past during these uncertain and challenging times.
We also invite you to stay connected and experience local history at home through our ever growing online content.
The Great Winona County History Hunt August 10 - 24, 2020 A new fundraiser for the Winona County Historical Society, the Great Winona County History Hunt, takes you out into our county on a fun filled scavenger hunt at historic sites.
This event is over, but you can still get a map for $10 at the History Center and check out the fun locations. Thank you for your support!
The big winner of the $500 grand prize is Amanda Shields of Winona!
Voices From the Past Cemetery Walk 2020: History at a Distance Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11, Noon - 5 p.m., Woodlawn Cemetery + Accessible Performance, Thursday, October 8 at 7 p.m., History Center, Limited Reservation Only, Call 507.454.2723 ext. 0 Voices From the Past Cemetery Walk is adapting to make a safe event for all. Join the Winona County Historical Society in beautiful Woodlawn Cemetery for some history at a distance as we explore the lives of past Winonans. Take a safe self-guided walk to as many of the sites as you wish, in any order you choose, to learn about people from Winona's history with community actors portraying past Winonans. Voices from the Past will start at 12 p.m. and end at 5 p.m. (plan on about 90 minutes at the event to see all the sites) on Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11 in Woodlawn Cemetery. Admission is $10 adults, $5 Students and $3 for children 12 and younger and is taken at the gate when you arrive. Click below for event details, sponsor a character and more information.
Voices From the Past: Cemetery Walk, October 10 & 11 at Woodlawn Cemetery; October 8 seated indoor performance at History Center
Handmade Neighborhood, November 21
Christmas House Tour and Family Christmas Festival alternate each year in December (2020 TBD)
Programs & Classes
Food For Thought: A Lunchtime Learning Series Learn on your lunch hour! The Food For Thought learning series takes place at the Winona County History Center. Programs begin at 12:05 p.m. and last approximately one hour (unless otherwise noted). Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch. A beverage is served.
We hope to see you soon!
Book Chat Book Chat is free and open to the public. Participate in great discussions about the themes in each month’s book. All books selected are available in paperback or at the Winona Public Library. Held monthly on the 4th Wednesday in the Briarcombe Room at the History Center. We hope to see you soon!
Pioneer School Students step back in time to experience life in a one room schoolhouse. This popular summer day camp is offered at the Rural Heritage Museum annually. Check out more on the Pioneer School page to learn about this fun experience.
With the continued increase of cases in the area, uncertainty surrounding safe gatherings with COVID-19, and in consideration of our largest demographic being some of the most vulnerable, we have made the hard decision to cancel the 2020 season of History on the River. We are looking forward to the 2021 season and hope for the best in the coming months. Thank you for your continued support in other ways.
The WCHS’ History on the River cruises offer educational experiences with a different topic each week that celebrate Winona County’s community with music, culture, story, and history. Cruises are aboard either The Cal Fremling or Winona Tour Boat on Thursday evenings during the summer season. Each cruise is 90 minutes long with a program and sightseeing time. Light refreshments are included with each cruise as well. Boarding begins 15 minutes prior to the listed departure time. Please note the earlier departure times as we near the end of the season when the days get shorter.
Parking is available near the Levee off of Johnson and Walnut Streets, as well as on Cal Fremling Drive. The Cal Fremling is docked near Johnson Street., and the Winona Tour Boat is near Walnut Street. If Cal Fremling Drive is closed due to flooding, access is usually still available to the docks at either end.
Tickets are sold in advance at the History Center or by calling 507.454.2723 ext. 0. They are $27 or $22 for members; Pick 3 for $75 or $60 for members. Tickets are not refundable unless a cruise is canceled by WCHS*.
2021 Season Information will be posted in the Spring!
*Any cancellations will be determined 4 hours prior to departure time and are decided by the captain. We will go in rain. With these safe larger vessels river levels do not normally affect the cruise schedule, but we will announce any cancellations if needed. Plan that the cruise will go unless you get a call from us. If a cruise is canceled due to weather or river conditions, ticket holders can choose another cruise or can be issued a refund, otherwise cruise tickets are non-refundable. Unfortunately any cancelled cruise topics are not rescheduled.