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State School Orphanage Museum

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Address: 540 West Hills Circle, Owatonna, MN 55060-4701
Phone Number:
+1 507-774-7369
Website
Description:

Experience what life was like at this state-run school for orphaned or...

Experience what life was like at this state-run school for orphaned or neglected children. The Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children was built in 1886 and closed in 1945. The museum uses exhibits of artifacts, as well as video and audio stations to tell the story of the more than 10,000 children who came through the school.

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A Must if your visiting Owatonna!

My father has moved to Owatonna several years ago from Colorado. After he had moved here he found out that his grandmothers sisters were placed in the orphanage because at the... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
MrHappyTravels
,
Albert Lea, Minnesota, United States
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37 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 37: English reviews
Albert Lea, Minnesota, United States
Level Contributor
118 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

My father has moved to Owatonna several years ago from Colorado. After he had moved here he found out that his grandmothers sisters were placed in the orphanage because at the time the family could not support them. His grandmother somehow avoided it. The history of the orphanage is quite remarkable and you soon realize how difficult some families had... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank MrHappyTravels
Owatonna, Minnesota
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 29 March 2017

Lots of stuff there to give you a really good idea of the life the kids had at the school. Found myself in there for over an hour looking at and reading all the items displayed. My kids (11, 11 and 14) were even interested and not bored.

Helpful?
1 Thank gators58102
Wisconsin
Level Contributor
166 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 March 2017

My only visit to this museum. It was very informative, the staff member at Cottage 11 was extraordinarily helpful and obviously loved being a volunteer here. I learned a lot about orphans, abused and neglected children in MN from 1886 to 1945. For some it was a "circle of hell" and for others a "safe haven". I want to learn... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Pip18Wisconsin
Owatonna, Minnesota
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 13 February 2017 via mobile

The state school now houses a senior center, daycare, gym, art center, some city & park and rec offices to name a few. Very interesting, they have a self guided walking tour and offer other tours as well. The grounds and buildings are beautiful. Nice place to visit and learn some of Owatonna's History.

Helpful?
1 Thank MOMofMANY7
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 21 October 2016

We visited with a group (St. Cloud Antique Auto Club - Pantowners) the weekend of Oct 7-9. We had a very enjoyable visit and thank you for accommodating our large group.

Helpful?
Thank Andria S
Museum540, Manager at State School Orphanage Museum, responded to this review

Thank you for coming...and for taking the time to write the great review! The SCAAC group was terrific. More 

Amery
Level Contributor
16 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 October 2016

My sister and I visited the museum on a Thursday. The museum is full of history. We spent more than 2 hours there.

Helpful?
Thank Rosemary S
ontario
Level Contributor
20 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 October 2016 via mobile

We visited the orphanage because we have family who were put into it, so we wanted to find out more about it. It is an incredible and educational place to visit. The minnestota state did not "sugar coat" the stories, they share experiences from different people who lived in the orphanage. It gives you a look into how that children... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank coldnorth55
Minnesota
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 September 2016

My mother was raised in an orphanage so it was rather heart-breaking to look at the rooms and listen to the history and experiences of a man who was actually raised there. I was impressed that the city had kept the building in such good shape and is using part of it for city offices. Definitely worth a stop.

Helpful?
1 Thank pingsis2
Level Contributor
31 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 September 2016 via mobile

All I can say is wow! What a great experience to history of Owatonna. Must see! It will make you think of how things used to be

Helpful?
Thank Smelly1971
Rochester, Minnesota
Level Contributor
21 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 September 2016

The residence is quiet and if you listen the children will talk to you. You feel their presence here...I acted in many productions, in the Middle Building of West Hills...Many plays presented to the community. We did everything from Nunsense to, A Few Good Men... I felt we entertained them with delite...Over the course of ten years acting there, I... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank mugga49

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  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?