Village of Yesteryear tour season opens May 1
The Village of Yesteryear tour season will open May 1.
Guided Village tours are held Tuesday through Sunday, May 1 through Sept. 30 at 1:30 p.m., or by appointment. Knowledgeable tour guides will lead you through the Village highlighting a wide range of items in the 19 historic buildings.
The 2019 tour season opens with a new exhibit in the Dunnell House, Six Decades of Wedding Gowns. The exhibit showcases six decades of wedding dresses. Twelve gowns dating from 1888 to 1948 display the various styles, materials and colors selected by brides for their walks down Steele County aisles. While white became a dominant color following Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840, these brides often chose cream, tan, green, and even black. Included are some familiar local names as Carrie Josten (Mrs. Otto), Mary Ressler (Mrs. Joseph), Tina Nelson (Mrs. Nels), Silvia Panzer (Mrs. Ervin), Irma Dinse (Mrs. Ewald), and Joyce Pribyl (Mrs. Silvin) among others.
In 1962, the Society was offered the Saco Church originally located seven miles southwest of Owatonna, and with the support of the Steele County Agricultural Society, the Society permanently leased a portion of the southeast section of the fairgrounds to begin a pioneer village. The village layout is similar to the center of Owatonna and its Central Park, which was originally circular. Thus was established the Village of Yesteryear. The Village has grown in the years since and become a full campus with 19 historic structures and the newly added History Center.
The History Center Exhibit Hall currently features Over Here, Over There: The Great War, students can read first-hand accounts by Steele County residents, experience warfare through sites, sounds and smells, sing along with WWI songs, and more! In addition Toys and Play, 1970 to Today, is open and allows kids of all ages to see and experience play in the 1970s. The exhibit covers childhood memories, how we learn from play, the history of marketing to children, and figuring out what exactly toys tell us about the world we live in. This exhibit is packed full of educational tidbits and there’s plenty to play with, too.
The Steele County Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1949. Its mission is to preserve and share Steele County history today for tomorrow. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Steele County’s past through museum exhibits, research, collections, tours, educational programs and book publishing. The Society is located at 1700 Austin Road, Owatonna.