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 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. Get your map and take the adventure through Winona County to find fun facts and stories at each site along the way for a chance to win $500. You can go at your own pace as an individual, as a family adventure, or safely gather friends to make a team. It is up to you! You can buy as many maps as you wish for more chances to win.
Record the History Hunt facts for each location on your map(s) and bring it back to the History Center to be entered in the grand prize drawing for $500! Plus, the first 10 individuals or teams to complete their maps and turn them in receive a free Family Membership to the WCHS. The first 20 done get a copy of City Mouse County Mouse, a history of Winona County. When: August 10 - 24, 2020 Cost: $10 per Map Rules: Buy your official map(s) at theWinona County History Center starting at 10 a.m. August 10 and anytime during business hours through August 24. Collect all the Winona County History Facts and turn your map(s) in at the History Center by 4 p.m. on August 24 for a chance at $500. The first 10 maps completed and turned in get a free WCHS family membership and the first 20 receive a copy of City Mouse Country Mouse! Individuals, family or friend teams can participate, but please note that only one grand prize and one membership and/or book per team or individual entry will be awarded.
Across the County - others celebrating local history! Lewiston Auto 100th Anniversary Car Show, August 22, Noon - 6 p.m. Lewiston Auto, in conjunction with the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America’s Viking Region, will host an all-Chevrolet car show on Saturday, August 22, 2020 to celebrate 100 years in business. The feature of the show will be a special collection of Chevrolets from 1920 to 2020, showcasing the changes in technology and design over the last 100 years.
WCHS Annual Events
Museum Open House, February
WCHS Annual Meeting, March
Moonlight Revels, June (canceled for 2020)
Heritage Dinner, September (2020 postponed)
Voices From the Past: Cemetery Walk, October 10 & 11 with indoor performance of sites Oct. 8.
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.