Governor Signs Legislation to Fund Historic Kelley Farm

For immediate release

Release dated: 
May 21, 2014

Governor Signs Legislation to Fund Historic Kelley Farm

More Minnesotans to learn about the state’s farm stories with plan for renovation and expansion

Governor Dayton signed the capital budget / bonding bill Tuesday, which includes a $10.5 million request for the Minnesota Historical Society’s Oliver H. Kelley Farm in Elk River. This project provides for expanded educational programs supported by an improved visitor center and new farm buildings that are able to accommodate the growing number of Minnesotans coming to learn about farming and food in the past, present and future.

“Students from across the state will have access to hands-on learning in state-of-the-art facilities,” said MNHS CEO and Director Steve Elliott. “But it’s even bigger than that. The new visitor center and expanded programming will help us reach families and tourists too, to share the story of Minnesota’s farm-to-table agriculture and its role in today’s global economy.”

Once complete, the renovations will allow the farm to serve th ousands of additional visitors per year. The plan will:

  • Increase the size of the visitor center, bringing visitor amenities up to current standards.
  • Develop interactive, changing exhibits and expand public program space.
  • Create engaging classrooms.
  • Add videoconferencing and internet access so the farm’s programs can reach schools throughout the metro area and Greater Minnesota.
  • Create a guest animal shelter for visiting animals from program partners where visitors can interact with and learn more about today’s farm animals.
  • Build a four-season shelter for school group lunches, additional programming and community rental space.
  • Create a teaching kitchen for demonstrations and workshops regarding cooking, food preservation and healthy eating.
  • Expand and modernize the restrooms, including adding a family restroom.
  • Expand staff support space and storage areas.
  • Overhaul and increase maintenance support areas.

Final design work will begin this summer, with construction work slated to begin in early 2015. A grand opening of the new visitor center and support buildings is planned for May 2016.

The farm plans to be open for school groups and family visitors throughout construction. Check mnhs.org for updates before visiting.

About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. The Society collects, preserves, and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, the Society preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.