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

Capital Campaign

washington county historical society capital campaign logo


Help us build the Heritage Center! Your gift to the capital campaign assures that the important role Washington County has played in history will be available for all to experience. Click here for more information.

Warden’s House Museum Site Manager opening

The Washington County Historical Society has part-time opening for historic site manager for the Warden’s House Museum in Stillwater.

The Warden’s House Museum was constructed in 1853 for the Warden of the Minnesota Territorial Prison. Over time there were 13 Warden’s that lived in the house until 1914 when the prison moved to South Stillwater, now Bayport, where it is today. After that the house was occupied by a deputy warden until 1941 when the Washington County Historical Society purchased the house from the state of Minnesota. It was opened as a historic house museum that year and continues as the county museum. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

The Museum is open from May through October, Thursdays through Sundays Noon-5 PM, with additional days depending on tours and scheduled events. The position also calls for scheduling tours with local and regional groups and successfully organizing and implementing seasonal events.

The position is year round, part-time with approximately 20-30 hours per week.  The application deadline is May 21, 2021. For more information please write to the Washington County Historical Society, Site Manager Position, PO Box 167, Stillwater, MN 55082-0167, email: or call 651/439-5956. To apply send a cover letter, resume and a list of references to the above address/email, previous historic site experience is preferable.


WCHS Sites and Museums Temporarily Closed Until Further Notice Due to Covid-19

The health and safety of our guests, staff, volunteers, interns, and community is our highest priority. In response to ongoing concerns over social distancing in public, we have decided to keep our historic sites, museums and research center closed and all in-person events and field trips.

Staff will still answer inquiries by phone, email or via Facebook whenever possible.

Half Minute History – Stillwater’s Grand Opera House

View All Half Minute of History Videos

Museums are Closed for the Tour Season

The Warden’s House Museum in Stillwater and The Hay Lake School Museum & Erickson Log House in Scandia are now closed. 


Museums & Research Center Hours

Nancy & Robert Goodman Research Center
602 Main Street N., Stillwater
(651) 439-5956 |

Warden’s House Museum
602 Main Street N., Stillwater 

Hay Lake School and Johannes Erickson Log Home
14020 195th St N, Marine on St Croix

Eder School House
4442 Hadley Ave N, Oakdale, 

WCHS Latest Publications

Company K in the Border War

In 1916, Company K of the Stillwater National Guard was dispatched to the Mexican Border to defend against attacks from the famous Mexican rebel, Poncho Villa. Through letters and photographs from the WCHS collection, “Company K in the Border War” details the in-glamorous reality these Stillwater men faced while stationed in Texas.

This book recently won a Minnesota History Award for publications!!

Thru the Mill

Originally published in 1915, “Thru the Mill” was written by inmate number “4342”, George Bartlett, who served ten months in the old Stillwater Prison. This book is his account of life behind the stone walls of Minnesota’s most infamous prison.

WCHS Equity Statement:

The Washington County Historical Society welcomes and serves all communities of people in Washington County in the State of Minnesota and beyond. Our facilities are located on the traditional homelands of the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations. 

We embrace the differences of our members, visitors, and staff, regardless of age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, family or marital status, and other characteristics that make them unique.

We value one another’s diverse knowledge, experience, and perspective.  This allows us to create an environment where the stories of the past, present, and future are valued.

We conduct our work to showcase the diverse history of the people, culture, history, and geographic place that is Washington County as a way to meet our mission of collecting, preserving, and disseminating the story of the land and its people.

 Want to help support your local history? Here’s your chance!

We are 100% reliant on your generosity.

Thank you for helping us save our shared stories and history!