What's open, what's closed for museums and historical societies

The COVID-19 pandemic and related business shutdowns have impacted area historical societies and museums. Most have been closed since late March and are just now starting the process of reopening. While some are already open and more plan to be over the next few weeks, others are waiting a bit longer before making any decisions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the spring and summer seasons for area historical societies and museums. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

Following is a listing of what we know at this point:


Atwater Area Historical Society and Museum, 500 Pleasant Avenue West, is open by appointment; call Carol at 320-266-7626, Jon at 320-444-0337, Sue at 320-220-0970 or Jo at 320-295-1354.

The Danube Historical Society Museum is open from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Fridays in the former Danube Depot Building or by appointment, call 320-826-2274; open through Fall Festival

Dassel History Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dassel History Center, 901 First St. N.; to visit, call 320-275-3077 or email to make an appointment.

Grove City Historical Museum, open by appointment, call Dorothy 320-693-9140, Ron 320-693-2922, or Gordon 320-857-2636.


Kandiyohi County Historical Center in Willmar Closed until July 1. For more information, call 320-235-1881 or e-mail or check the website . Normal hours 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, 1 to 4 p.m. weekends and holidays; $3 adults, ages 12 and under and KCHS members admitted for free, located at the train engine on North Business Highway 71 across from Robbins Island; the KCHS museum has a number of featured exhibits; 320-235-1881.

Lac qui Parle County Museum is located in Madison, reopens with an open house, 1 to 3 p.m. June 28, with the unveiling of the 2020 exhibit. Social distancing rules will be observed, masks required (provided if needed), hand sanitizer provided, 6-foot distancing and no touching of artifacts. The exhibit, "The Women of Lac qui Parle County," celebrates the role women played in our county’s history and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. They will have a traveling exhibit "Women’s Suffrage" July 9 to Sept. 6, on loan from The League of Women Voters. Normal hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekdays; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; South Highway 75; freewill donation, 320-598-7678.

Maynard History Museum, open by appointment, call the Maynard city office at 320-367-2140.

Paynesville Historical Museum, 251 Ampe Drive, Paynesville. Exhibits include Indian artifacts, personal and household items from 1860s to 1970s, agriculture, and a one-room schoolhouse. They are open through Labor Day, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Raptor Ridge is located in New London, open by appointment, call 320-354-8820, 12050 Co. Rd. 40 N.E. Larry and Barb Levin’s natural history museum is 2.8 miles east of state Highway 23 on the north side of the road. Admission is free.

Renville County Historical Society is located in Morton, appointments only through July 3 in the main museum, opens to the public at regular hours but 25% capacity on July 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or by appointment; adults $5, ages 6-17 $3, children 5 and under free. Research library will not open until August 1. For more information or to register for an appointment call 507-697-6147, or email Adults $5, ages 6-17 $3, children 5 and under free.

Sacred Heart Area Museum, 1:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Friday, during special events or by appointment, U.S. Highway 212 in Sacred Heart; free admission, donations appreciated, contact Sonja at 320-765-2274; email .

Schwanke’s Museum is located in Willmar, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, through Oct. 31, or by appointment, 3310 Business Highway 71 S.; features roadway and farm field history, more than 300 tractors, cars, trucks and fire trucks; gift shop; adults $6, under 12 are $3, 5 and under admitted free; 320-235-4341.


Stevens County Historical Museum is located in Morris, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday weekdays, or by appointment, 116 6th St. W.; free admission; 320-589-1719.

Yellow Medicine County Museum is located in Granite Falls; plan to open July 1 through Sept. 1, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday, at the junction of Minnesota highways 23 and 67 on the Minnesota River. For more information call 320-564-4479.


Chippewa County Historical Society is closed until further notice. For more information or to make appointments call 320-269-7636. The Historical Society has three sites: Chippewa City, Lac qui Parle Mission and Olof Swensson Farm Museum.

Fagen Fighters WWII Museum is located in Granite Falls, closed until further notice; watch their Facebook page for updates.

Meeker County Museum & Research Library and G.A.R Hall in Litchfield. Both the museum and the G.A.R. Hall are presently closed due COVID-19. For more information call 320-693-8911.

Minnesota Machinery Museum located in Hanley Falls; closed until further notice. For more information call 507-768-3522.

Pope County Museum is located in Glenwood; closed through at least July 1. Updates will be available on their website or Facebook.

Redwood County Museum closed until further notice. For more information call 507-430-5781.


Swift County Historical Society closed until further notice; 320-843-4467.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email or direct 320-214-4373.

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