Field Trips: Southern Minnesota
From ancient rock carvings to an 1899 general store, southern Minnesota historic sites offer many opportunities to explore Minnesotas American Indian and European-American cultures.
Fort Ridgely, near Fairfax
Discover what life was like for soldiers and their families in a Civil War-era fort on Minnesotas frontier. Fort Ridgely played an important role in the U.S.-Dakota War. Students can heft a musket or learn artillery drills as they explore the fort grounds and exhibits in the reconstructed commissary. Call 507-426-7888 or 507-934-2160.
Historic Forestville, near Preston
Many historic places focus on the successes of the past, but at Historic Forestville, visitors learn about the demise of a 19th-century town. At Forestville, students can help residents from 1899 bring in firewood, bake bread in a wood-burning stove, plant spring crops and harvest them at the end of the year. Programs and activities vary with each season. Reserve tours through the Forestville State Park. Call 507-765-2785.
Jeffers Petroglyphs, near Windom
The prairie and the cultural and geologic records at the petroglyphs provide subject matter for cross-curricular programs in history, geology, biology and anthropology. At the rock outcrop, students search for carvings of buffalo, turtles, thunderbirds and human figures that illustrate the sophisticated cultures that inhabited this area and whose descendants still live today. Call 507-628-5591.
Lower Sioux Agency, near Morton
At the Lower Sioux Agency students discover how and why the U. S. government planned to remake traditional Dakota life in the 1850s. Hands-on activities, staff-guided programs, walking trails, the restored 1861 warehouse and new exhibits engage students in the study of traditional Dakota life and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Call 507-628-5591.