160 Johnson St.
Winona Minnesota 55987United States
Stop in at the Historical Society Museum, which recently added 12,000 square feet of space, for a peek into Winona's interesting past.
You can't really "get" a city until you understand its past. This is especially true for a city like Winona, which, despite its current modest size, was once an important logging and transportation town on the Mississippi. The local historical society museum does a great job leading you through the city's intriguing past, when steamboats plied the waters of the Mighty Mississippi, through two World Wars and into the present era.When you enter the museum, you'll step into the main lobby, part of the new $4.5 million addition. Moveable exhibits are located in this space, anchored by a rich pine floor crafted from reclaimed lumber once used in a local livery stable. (Not only that, but the boards were sawn by the Laird Norton Company, once one of Winona's most prominent businesses.) Make sure to look up; old lock and dam molds, never before displayed, are on the walls. From the lobby, you proceed up a flight of stairs and into the original museum in the city's 1915 armory. The exhibits here include a steamboat pilot house, Native American tipi and re-created streets of old Winona. These exhibits have been here awhile, and while they're interesting, the museum plans to update them in the near future. A wise move.Even if that takes a few years, it's still worth the $5 admission to see the museum today.