Based out of Stillwater, “The Birthplace of Minnesota”, the Washington County Historical Society collects, preserves, and disseminates the history of Washington County and its communities.  Join us on our journey through the Gateway to Minnesota History!

Upcoming Events

Sun. May 17th @ 2PM – “Inside With Interesting Inmates” - Warden’s House Museum

Join Warden’s House Site Manager Sean Pallas on Sunday, May 17th, 2015 at 2:00 PM at the Warden’s House Museum for a discussion of the lives and misfortunes of a few interesting convicts of the Old Stillwater Prison.

The Minnesota Territorial and later State Prison was operated from 1853 until 1914 just north of downtown Stillwater. Throughout six decades, the Prison served as a “melting-pot” for Minnesota’s worst of the worst. Behind every inmate was a crime and behind every crime a story.

The tale of a spurned lover resorting to murder, a vicious conspiracy against a prison guard, and other harrowing but mostly forgotten prison tales will be shared at this free and open to the public presentation hosted by the Washington County Historical Society.

Sun. May 31st @ 2PM – “A Dazzle of Dragonflies” – Hay Lake School Museum

Minnesota is home to more than 100 species of dragonflies, and almost 50 species of their cousins the damselflies. Late May and early June is the best time to see the largest numbers, and species, of these beautiful creatures cruising over our lakes and meadows.

Come and enjoy a close up encounter with these fascinating creatures at the Hay Lake School on Sunday, May 31st with Ron Lawrenz, Director of the Lee and Rose Warner Nature Center. The day will begin with a short presentation about the biology of the butterfly, including some beautiful photographs and fun facts that are sure to make you the hit of your next party.

The presentation will be followed by a demonstration on how to capture and handle dragonflies, and then we’ll venture out on the grounds to see what we find. Aerial nets and field guides for catching and identifying dragonflies will be provided, but bring your own if you have them. This is the perfect family outing for this beautiful time of the year.



 Paranormal Raffle Information

 Want to know what’s going at WCHS? Read our Historical Messenger for updates, Photos of the Week, and a Featured Article

 Museum and Research Center Hours

Warden’s House Museum: May 1st – October 31st, Thursdays – Sundays 1:00-5:00 PM

Hay Lake School and Johannes Erickson Log Home: May, September, October, Saturdays & Sundays 1:00-4:00 PM / June-August, Fridays – Sundays 1:00-4:00 PM

Research Center: January 1st – December 31st, Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays 12:00-5:00 PM / Wednesdays 3:00-9:00 PM

Please call ahead (651.439.5956) or email ( to confirm Research Center availability.