Tours, Lectures, and Family Fun Featured in Winter Events at Minnesota Historical Society Sites

With events indoors and out, all Minnesotans can engage with history this winter

For immediate release


ST. PAUL, Minn (December 13, 2023) – This winter, visitors to Minnesota Historical Society sites can hear fresh historical perspectives, celebrate the holidays, and embrace the winter with sleigh rides and snowshoeing. New events are being added regularly, so keep checking for updates. 

Oliver Kelley Farm, Elk River
Farmers’ Christmas Celebration, December 16, 10 am–4 pm
Experience how farm families of the 19th century celebrated the Christmas holiday! Take a horse-drawn trolley ride, explore the historic farmstead, and enjoy seasonal refreshments as you celebrate the holidays in style.

Split Rock Lighthouse, Two Harbors
Santa at the Lighthouse, December 16, 10 am–4 pm
Get your photo taken with Santa against the backdrop of a wintry Split Rock Lighthouse. Children under 17 receive free admission. Adults can get in free if they bring an item to donate.

Forest History Center, Grand Rapids
Winter Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides, Dates Throughout Winter
Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride around the site through the forest! Also enjoy a stop to warm up and have cocoa. The experience will be approximately one hour to include time at a bonfire and sledding hill. If there is not enough snow, a horse-drawn trolley ride may be substituted.

Winter Adventure Family Fun Day, February 17, 2024, 10 am–4 pm
Join the Forest History Center for a celebration of winter, featuring outdoor games and activities including horse-drawn sleigh rides, snow snake races, tomahawk throwing, a snowshoe scavenger hunt, and the ever-popular sliding hill.

Snake River Fur Post, Pine City
Winter Frolic, January 20, 2024, noon–4 pm
Shake off the winter blues by heading outdoors at the fur post. Learn about winter travel during the fur trade and join in activities like tossing a curling stone, playing a round of Ojibwe snow snake, snowshoeing around the site, or visiting the historic ice fishing tent.

Historic Fort Snelling, St. Paul
History Highlights, Dates Throughout Winter, 1 pm–1:45 pm
This lecture series explores the history of key aspects in Fort Snelling’s history. Topics covered this winter are Historic Fort Snelling’s round tower, the Military Intelligence Service Language School at the fort, military uniforms of Fort Snelling, medical technology before the x-ray, and Minnesota’s first team in the National Football League.

Winter Music Showcase, January 13, 2024, 11 am–11:30 am
Hear Historic Fort Snelling's music ensembles—the Saxhorn Band and the Fifes and Drums—inside the warmth of the Plank Museum and Visitor Center. The showcase will feature holiday and historic favorites.

Family Days at Historic Fort Snelling, Dates Throughout Winter, 10 am–4 pm
Create memories together with family and friends at Historic Fort Snelling at Family Days this winter. Take part in kids activities, games, and demonstrations, explore the Many Voices, Many Stories, One Place exhibit, and learn about the people who have called this place home for many thousands of years.

Lifelong Learner Coffee Chats, Dates Throughout Winter, 10:30 am–11:15 am
Join us in the warmth of the Plank Museum and Visitor Center this winter for a complimentary cup of coffee and discussion for our Lifelong Learner Coffee Chats. Topics include Minnesota’s prisoners of war camps, how and why the fort was built, and hearth and home.

Snowshoeing at Historic Fort Snelling, Dates Throughout Winter, noon–1 pm
Along the three-quarter-mile route, visitors will make stops to enjoy the view and hear from knowledgeable staff about how winter conditions were faced by the peoples of the region going back thousands of years.

James J. Hill House, St. Paul
Holidays on the Hill, Dates Throughout December
Experience Christmas, 1910—both upstairs and downstairs—in the sumptuous Gilded Age mansion of railroad titan James J. Hill. Advance online sales are sold out, so please check online or call for day-of tickets.

Nooks and Crannies Tours, Dates Throughout Winter 3:30 pm–5 pm
Get a behind-the-scenes look at areas of the James J. Hill House that are not featured on the standard house tour including the attic theater space, the gate house, and storage areas generally off-limits to visitors.

Alexander Ramsey House, St. Paul
Ramsey After Dark, Dates Throughout Winter, 6 pm–7:15 pm and 8:30 pm–9:15 pm
Explore the hidden secrets of Victorian society in this evening tour. Topics change monthly. Tours last 75 minutes and are recommended for ages 18+.

Minnesota History Center, St. Paul
History Forum, Dates Throughout Winter, 10 am–noon and 2 pm–4 pm
Since 2004, History Forum at the Minnesota History Center has explored the richness, expansiveness, and complexity of American history with some of the nation’s best scholars. That tradition continues with events highlighting the diversity and excellence of today’s historical scholarship. History Forums taking place this winter include:

History HiJinx: Winter Break, December 26–31, 11 am–3 pm
Visit the exhibit, The Life and Art of Charles M Schulz, to learn about the cartoonist's life-long connection to Minnesota winters. After exploring the exhibit, stop by the History HiJinx table to decorate your own doghouse!

Before the Mayflowers Landed, Dates Throughout Winter, 2 pm–4 pm
This series of film screenings and community discussions engage unique perspectives specific to Black America's Hip hop generation. The theme and subject matter of presented materials cover various social, cultural, political, and historical topics designed to influence critical thought about current issues impacting the human condition. Upcoming film screenings include:

Minnesota Trolleys: The Rise and Fall, January 13, 2024, 2 pm–3:30 pm
See the city as it once was and dive into the history of the trolleys that traversed Minnesota’s landscape. During this program view photographs and objects from the MNHS collections that highlight this hidden history.

State of Comics: Hate Stings, January 21, 2024 12:30 pm–2 pm
Join writer James Curry and artist Tom Nguyen for a conversation about their new comic, Hate Stings, which tells the story of Curry’s family, one of the first Black families to settle in Hastings, Minnesota.

About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society 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.