MEDIA ALERT: Minnesota Historical Society's 26 Historic Sites and Museums Closed due to State Shutdown

For immediate release

Release dated: 
June 30, 2011
Media contacts: 

Lory Sutton • Marketing and Communications • 651-259-3140 •
Jessica Kohen • Marketing and Communications • 651-259-3148 •

MEDIA ALERT: Minnesota Historical Society's 26 Historic Sites and Museums Closed due to State Shutdown

The Minnesota Historical Society, its museums, historic sites and library are closed temporarily, effective July 1, 2011, and all programs and special events are suspended due to the State of Minnesota government shutdown. Funding from the state comprises more than half of the Society’s operating budget.

Many of the Society’s popular Fourth of July destinations, including Split Rock Lighthouse and Historic Forestville are closed, and Independence Day programs at Historic Fort Snelling and the Oliver Kelley Farm, are now cancelled, unless the budget issues are resolved quickly. “We are poised and ready to reopen our historic sites as soon as possible after a resolution is reached,” said Stephen Elliott, the Society’s director and CEO. “Our goal is to welcome and serve as many families as possible this summer.”

Historic sites and museums affected in the Twin Cities include: the Minnesota History Center, Historic Fort Snelling, Mill City Museum, James J. Hill House, Alexander Ramsey House and the Minnehaha Depot. Society-led tours at the Minnesota State Capitol also are suspended.

Other sites closed statewide during the shutdown are: Split Rock Lighthouse, Two Harbors; Birch Coulee Battlefield, Morton; Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site, Little Falls; Comstock House, Moorhead; Folsom House, Taylors Falls; Forest History Center, Grand Rapids; Fort Ridgely, Fairfax; Harkin Store, New Ulm; Historic Forestville, Preston; Jeffers Petroglyphs, Comfrey; Lac qui Parle Mission, Watson; Lower Sioux Agency, Morton; Marine Mill, Marine on St. Croix; Mille Lacs Indian Museum & Trading Post, Onamia; North West Company Fur Post, Pine City; Oliver H. Kelley Farm, Elk River; Sibley House Historic Site, Mendota; Traverse des Sioux, St. Peter; and the W.W. Mayo House, Le Sueur.

Information is available on the Society’s website at, which will continue to function. However, web-based services enabling the public to order historical documents, photographs, tickets and merchandise will not be operational during the shutdown. The public may still make charitable donations and membership payments through the Society’s secure website.

All historic sites and museums as well as the library at the History Center, will reopen and all programming will resume when the state government shutdown concludes and funding is available to operate the Society’s programs. Reopening information will be available at

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849 to preserve and share Minnesota history. 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. For more information, visit