MNHS and Dakota County Historical Society Announce New Partnership for Sibley Historic Site

For immediate release

Release dated: 
September 2, 2015

MNHS and Dakota County Historical Society Announce New Partnership for Sibley Historic Site

The Minnesota Historical Society has entered into a new partnership with the Dakota County Historical Society to operate Sibley Historic Site in Mendota. MNHS programs will continue to be offered through the fall, with DCHS taking over programming in 2016.

Under this new partnership, MNHS will continue to preserve and maintain Sibley Historic Site and its collections while DCHS will staff, interpret and program the site. After examining several factors, including current site operations, public benefit, costs and DCHS’ record of producing high-quality programming, MNHS found that transforming Sibley Historic Site into a partnership site will create more opportunities for increased public access and expanded programming to explore the site’s history.

“I’m very excited for our partnership with the Dakota County Historical Society; their expertise, enthusiasm and local connections will be fantastic,” says Ben Leonard, manager of community outreach and partnerships at MNHS. “Through this partnership, the public will see more open hours, programs and chances to learn the many-layered history of Sibley Historic Site.”

The last MNHS-programmed event at Sibley Historic Site will be Oct. 9, and in 2016, DCHS will offer new site hours—opening the site Saturdays and Sundays from 1 pm to 4 pm Memorial Day through Labor Day—as well as additional programming.

Sibley Historic Site serves an important role exploring Mendota’s place as a major center for fur trade in the early 1800s, as well as the history of Henry Sibley, Minnesota’s first state governor, in business, politics and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. The four restored buildings at the site, including Sibley’s home, are among the oldest still-standing structures in Minnesota.

Sibley Historic Site will become MNHS’ 12th partnership site, adding DCHS to a robust network of partner organizations, which includes Nicollet County Historical Society, Lower Sioux Indian Community and the City of Marine on St. Croix, among others. DCHS has hired Andrew Fox as interim site manager for Sibley Historic Site. Fox has worked for DCHS in several roles, including as a project manager and educator, and also serves as an interpreter at MNHS’ James J. Hill House.

About Sibley Historic Site

The Minnesota Historical Society site is in Mendota at 1357 Sibley Memorial Hwy. (Hwy. 13). It features four original limestone buildings from the era when the American Fur Company operated a regional trade with the Dakota, between 1825 and 1853. The home of Henry Hastings Sibley is on the site, as is his office as first state governor. Call 651-452-1596 for more information.

MNHS is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS 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, MNHS 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.