Our exhibits explore the extraordinary and everyday stories of Olmsted County and Rochester: the founding of Mayo Clinic, pioneers homesteading the prairie, family farmers feeding the state and nation, and entrepreneurs building businesses. 

Featured Exhibit:

The Onward March of Suffrage

The nation ratified the Nineteenth Amendment 100 years ago, granting women the right to vote. The Onward March of Suffrage explores the path Olmsted County women took to fight for their rights. Meet many of the local women, hear their stories, and see how this struggle defined their lives.



Olmsted County Exhibit:

The history of Olmsted County spans thousands of years. Travel through this history with the stories and artifacts in the Olmsted County Exhibit.  Journey from the prehistoric period, with its cephalopods and woolly mammoth, to the present, learning about the native peoples, businesses, early settlers, and the founding of Mayo Clinic along the way. The Olmsted County Exhibit tells the story of our community’s land and people. 

We Are Water:

Water has always been an important part of human history. See how water impacted the lives of early settlers in Olmsted County, influencing where they lived and how they survived. Learn how the City of Rochester would later manipulate the rivers to allow the city to grow.

Origins of Olmsted County: The Land for Enterprise:

Learn how Olmsted County enticed settlers and what benefits the county offered. The exhibit includes a hands-on section where you can handle items early settlers brought with them when moving to Minnesota. Along with Olmsted County, learn about the numerous treaties that shaped the state of Minnesota.

Rochester Symphony Orchestra:

100 Years: The Rochester Symphony Orchestra formed in the 1920s with the help of Harold and Glenn Cooke. Learn how the symphony began and thrived for more than a century.

Rochester State Hospital:

With the growing need for another state-run psychiatric hospital, the state selected Rochester as the new location. Experience the early history of the Rochester State Hospital through a collection of artifacts and early photos.

I WANT YOU: Olmsted County Service During World War II:

In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, America joined the Allies in World War II to combat Germany, Japan, and Italy. Countless men either enlisted or were drafted into the armed forces. The exhibit features the stories of men and women from Olmsted County who served their country.

Farmington Township:

In our township section, we have the unique story of Farmington Township, which was founded in 1855. Discover the beginning of the township and how the unique story blends into Olmsted County’s overall story.

Traveling Exhibits:

The History Center schedules a range of traveling exhibits. Each one will be exhibited for several weeks to several months at a time. Check back to see any upcoming traveling exhibits.