History & Overview

Burton Eaton, along with several other founders, established the Olmsted County Historical Society in 1926 with the intention of collecting and preserving the history of Olmsted County. The Historical Society's first museum opened in the basement of the Rochester Public Library in 1940.  The Society moved into the Bethel English Lutheran Church in 1959, but before long, the Historical Society outgrew the church. Land was purchased at our current location in southwest Rochester in 1972 where the museum building was quickly built. In 2006, the Olmsted County Historical Society began doing business as the History Center of Olmsted County. 

Now, almost 100 years later, we are still committed to collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history and heritage of the region and sharing it with our community.

The Olmsted County Historical Society dba History Center of Olmsted County is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization governed by our members via a Board of Directors. In addition, the History Center partners with several local organizations, including an auxiliary group, the Olmsted County Genealogy Society, to assist us in accomplishing our mission.

Each year the History Center of Olmsted County, together with its enthusiastic volunteers, provides presentations, educational and outreach programs, special events, museum exhibits, and more. The History Center currently owns and operates two historic buildings and two historic farmsteads. The History Center also operates seasonal tours of Mayowood Mansion.


Our Vision and Mission Statement

Our vision and mission guide the efforts of the History Center each and every day. We are committed to not only remembering the purpose of the Center, but also to aspiring to meet and exceed the goals and values transcribed within them for members and visitors alike.

Our Vision

To become a gathering place for the broader community that inspires and encourages the exploration of history.

Our Mission

Give people of all ages and backgrounds access and opportunity to learn about the past through interpretive programs and exhibits, research, publications and events.

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