New Oliver Kelley Visitor Center Earns Gold LEED® Certification

For immediate release

Release dated: 
September 13, 2017
Media contacts: 

Lauren Peck, 651-259-3137,
Jessica Kohen, 651-259-3148,

New Oliver Kelley Visitor Center Earns Gold LEED® Certification

The Minnesota Historical Society is pleased to announce that Oliver Kelley Farm's new visitor center has received LEED Gold certification. 

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. 

“LEED certification at Oliver Kelley Farm is a wonderful extension of the work the Minnesota Historical Society does as a steward of Minnesota’s cultural resources: caring for those resources and preserving them for future generations,” says D. Stephen Elliott, director and CEO of MNHS.

Completed in fall 2016, the new visitor center is part of a larger renovation and revitalization project at the Oliver Kelley Farm, which allows more visitors to learn about Minnesota agriculture and farming from the 1860s to today. The building achieved LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

During construction, project staff worked to use regional materials and certified wood, as well as protect and restore the site area’s surrounding habitat. Building highlights include its geothermal heating and cool systems, fuel-efficient vehicle charging stations, and a stormwater system that captures and treats water runoff. Overall, the site was able to reduce its potable water use by 27 percent and achieve an energy cost savings of 41 percent.

About the Oliver Kelley Farm
Oliver Kelley and his family began farming on the banks of the Mississippi in 1850. He went on to found the first successful national farming organization, the National Grange of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry, better known as the Grange, in 1867. Today the Oliver Kelley Farm is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and “the birthplace of organized agriculture in America.” At the site, visitors can explore agricultural history from the 1860s to modern day through machinery, cropland, animals, and more.

The farm is located at 15788 Kelley Farm Rd., 2.5 miles southeast of downtown Elk River on U.S. Hwy. 10. For more information, call 763-441-6896 or visit

The Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit 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.