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State School Orphanage Museum

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Address: 540 West Hills Circle, Owatonna, MN
Phone Number: +1 507-774-7369
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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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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Wonderful visit

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.

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 21 October 2016
Andria S
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33 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 33: English reviews
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles 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
15 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles 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 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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?
Thank coldnorth55
Minnesota
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles 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?
Thank pingsis2
Level Contributor
28 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
5 of 5 bubbles 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
Santiago
Level Contributor
131 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 September 2016 via mobile

I often visit Owatonna on business and always try to make time to visit this unique, educational and moving look back at a sad part of Minnesota history. Although this state school orphanage may have been the best option available to the kids who were sent here to live it is easy to see the harsh and regimented lifestyle the... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Minneapolisdoyle
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 August 2016

Beautiful grounds. Very interesting to find out how some children were treated back in the day. Sad how they broke up families and some never have found their brothers and sisters.

Helpful?
1 Thank Julie B
Level Contributor
26 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 August 2016

What a historic great place to visit. Walk around and listen to the story at the audio statues and maps. Go inside the gym and look at the former pool, walk around and feel the energy. Try to be there when cottage 11 is open and let the vibe come to you. So much to see and don't forget to... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank 151barbarak
Omaha, Nebraska
Level Contributor
64 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 May 2016

I recently visited here with my aunt, who along with my uncle and cousins, has lived in Owatonna for over 40 years but who recently discovered this hidden gem. Turns out one of their former neighbors was a resident of the state home as a child in the 1930s! Being from Omaha, the facility reminds me of a scaled down... More 

Helpful?
Thank 2CatsMom
Museum540, Manager at State School Orphanage Museum, responded to this review

Thank you so much for the kind review! I love the heading you gave it. We are always happy when we make an impact on our visitors, and sharing your thoughts on TripAdvisor may help others come to plan a stop and learn the stories. Our mission is to keep alive the memory of the 10,635 children who came to... More 

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?