Minnesota History: Building A Legacy

Orphanage Walking Tour/Oral History

  • Project Overview
  • Project Details
Harvey Ronglien, sit-down interview
Vivian Manthe, sit-down interview
Peter Razor continues his grounds tour in former Library of the 1933 School.
Richard Weber explains the basement of Cottage 8.
Lucille Andrus explaining the layout of the grounds.
Harvey explains the placement of playground equipment located east of Cottage 11

Project Overview

Recipient: Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum, Inc.

This project allowed for the interview of five former Wards of the State who spent significant time at the Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children about the historic use and interrelationship of the buildings on the campus.
The primary legacy of these interviews is the understanding of how this campus functioned. Interviews discussed at some length the procedures and protocols for many of the actions taken for granted in our everyday life. Insights into this operation range from the seemingly mundane to the exceptional circumstance, however, each and every story told about the function of this campus reflects a part of a larger web of organization.

With analysis, the information uncovered in these interviews will provide insights into the way of life on the campus, a life that is looking less and less uniform and more dependent on circumstance with each review of the footage.

These interviews provide a primary resource discussing features and functions of a National Register Historic Site. In many cases the areas discussed have already been razed or severely altered. These interviews place a time-stamp for future historians of this site. These interviews will allow for discernment of future alterations, and will provide guidance for site restoration, should it become a possibility in the future.

Project Details

To document in five oral history interviews the historic use and interrelationship of the buildings on the campus of the Minnesota State School for Dependent and Neglected Children, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Fund Availability:

07/01/2012 - 06/30/2013

Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws of Minnesota for 2011 Chapter 6, Article 4, Subdivision 5, Statewide Historic and Cultural Grants.

Appropriation Language
Statewide Historic and Cultural Grants. $5,250,000 the first year and $5,250,000 the second year are for history programs and projects operated or conducted by or through local, county, regional, or other historical or cultural organizations; or for activities to preserve significant historic and cultural resources.

Funding Amount: $5,600

Direct Expenses: $5,600

Project Manager

Maxine Ronglien
Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum, Inc.
540 West Hills Circle
Owatonna, MN 55060


Administering Agency

Minnesota Historical Society

Board Members:

Minnesota Historical Society Governing Board:

William R. Stoeri, President
Missy S. Thompson, Vice President
Ruth Huss, Vice President
D. Stephen Elliott, Secretary
Dean M. Nelson, Treasurer

Suzanne Blue
Brenda J. Child
Robert Bruininks
Judith S. Corson
D. Stephen Elliott
Phyllis Rawls Goff
William D. Green
David R. Hakensen
Ruth S. Huss
Martha Kaemmer
Dennis L. Lamkin
David M. Larson
Charles Mahar
Dean M. Nelson
Elizabeth M. Nordlie
Dennis Nguyen
Peter R. Reis
Hussein Samatar
Simon Stevens
Susan Kenny Stevens
William R. Stoeri
Karen Wilson Thissen
Missy Staples Thompson
Eleanor Winston

Mark Dayton, Governor
Yvonne Prattner Solon Lieutenant Governor
Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State
Lori Swanson, Attorney General
Rebecca Otto, State Auditor

Advisory Group Members:

Historic Resources Advisory Committee

Mark Peterson, Winona (Chair)
- Executive Director, Winona County Historical Society
- Governor's appointee to Minnesota Sesquicentennial and Minnesota Humanities Commissions
- Qualified in history, historic preservation and history museum administration

Leanne Brown, Eden Prairie
- Director of Development, Carver County Library/Library Foundation
- Formerly, Executive Director, Carver County Historical Society
- Qualified in history, project management and museum studies

Jack Byers, Minneapolis
- Manager, Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Department (CPED)
- Manages CPED's Preservation and Design Section
- Qualified in historic preservation, architecture, urban geography and planning

Tamara Edevold, Bagley
- Executive Director, Clearwater County Historical Society
- Active in Minnesota's Historic Northwest, regional historical organization
- Qualified in history, archaeology, anthropology and history museum administration

Ram Gada, Eden Prairie
- Engineer
- Active in the documentation of Minnesota's East Indian community
- State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB), former member
- Qualified in engineering, energy consulting and grants administration

William Latady, Tower
- Bois Forte Deputy Tribal Historic Preservation Officer
- Curator, Bois Forte Heritage Museum
- Qualified in archaeology, anthropology, historic preservation and history museum administration

Benjamin Vander Kooi, Luverne
- Attorney practicing as Vander Kooi Law Offices, P.A., in Luverne, MN
- Active in Vote Yes! Campaign
- Past chair, MN State Arts Board
- Advisor, National Trust for Historic Preservation
- Qualified in historic preservation, nonprofit and grants administration

Brenda Child, Minneapolis
- Chair, Department of American Indian Studies, University of Minnesota
- Enrolled member, Red Lake Nation
- Qualified in history, American Studies and American Indian Studies

Nicole Foss, Bemidji
- Executive Director, Beltrami County Historical Society, Bemidji, MN
- Qualified in anthropology, historical archaeology, library and museum fields

Kris Kiesling, Roseville
- Director of Archives and Special Collections at University of MN Libraries
- State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) member
- Qualified in library and archives, digital services and history

Jan Louwagie, Marshall
- Coordinator, Southwest Minnesota Regional Research Center, Southwest Minnesota State University
- Founding member of Society for the Study of Local and Regional History
- Former member of State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB)
- Qualified in history and archival administration

Ann Meline, Saint Cloud
- Deputy Director, Stearns History Museum, St. Cloud
- Formerly Assistant Director/Public Programs managing Exhibits, Collections and Education Departments
- Former grant reviewer for Institute of Museum and Library Services
- Qualified in history, nonprofit and museum administration

Peter Reis, White Bear Lake
- President, White Bear Lake Area Historical Society
- Chair, Minnesota Historical Society's Grants Review Committee
- Qualified in history and nonprofit and grants administration

William Stoeri, Minneapolis
- Ex-officio member (president of the MHS Board)

Missy Staples Thompson, Saint Paul
- Ex-officio member (treasurer of the MHS Board)

Quick Facts

Project Type: Grants

Recipient: Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum, Inc.

Funding Amount: $5,600

Source: Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund

Appropriation Years: 2013

Recipient Type: Non-Profit Business/Entity

Counties Impacted: Steele

This site is updated regularly with descriptions and data related to Legacy projects funded through the Minnesota Historical Society by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF).
Further information about the use and impact of all Legacy Funds can be found on the Minnesota Legislative Coordinating Commission's Minnesota's Legacy site.