The Renville County Historical Society started in 1940. At that time the Historical Society would do displays at the County Courthouse. In the early 1950s, the Society's Board decided to put down roots. The land was donated to the Society by William Buckley in Morton, Minnesota and the Society moved in two Norfolk Township schoolhouses. One schoolhouse was the Main Museum and the other put back to look like a country school.
As the organization began receiving more and more artifact donations the Museum grounds grew. The Main Museum, built-in 1989, is on the other side of the Morton City Park. The Main Museum contains the Research Library, offices, storage, and many exhibit areas. To the east of the Main Museum are the two schoolhouses. One is still a schoolhouse and the other is used for exhibits. Behind the schoolhouses is the "Machine Shed" which contains agricultural equipment, tools, transportation equipment and much more. South of the Main Museum in St. John's Church, built-in 1891 in Beaver Falls, moved to Olivia in 1909 and again in the 1980s and finally making its way home to the Museum grounds in 1997. The Heritage Building, behind the church, protects the Lerud Log Cabin, stores the 1927 Dodge Sedan & 1914 Model T and is used for events and exhibits.
Upcoming Projects for Renville County Historical Society:
o Reorganizing the Research Library adding new bookshelves & file cabinets
o Reorganizing the two storage rooms in the Main Museum due to the 2 incidences of flooding (March 2019 and July 1, 2019).
o Moving the backdoor to avoid more flooding in the future ($4000)
o Special Exhibit at the Renville County Fair including the town of Fairfax
o Special Exhibit in the Main Museum (in progress): High School Sports of Renville County & American Legion Clubs of Renville County
o Enlarge all the World War I panoramic photographs to identify them ($1000)
o Renville County in the War: 1917, 1918, 1919 book updated with obituaries, tidbits from the 10 county newspapers and more ($5,000)
o Traveling exhibit for schools and libraries
Exhibits in the Main Museum for 2019/2020
o Featured town: 2019 Fairfax, Minnesota & 2020 Danube, Minnesota
o Featured Old Village: Finn Town
o U.S.S. Renville Transport Ship (featured in the movie "In Harms Way"
o Morton Pink Granite Haupt Fountains History (continuous)
o Walking path to Church & Benches: Thank you to Bayer (previously Monsanto) for donating a bench for the Museum.
o Signage to identify the prairie flowers & grasses
o Develop additional programs to be held on the Museum Grounds
o Develop additional outreach programs to be held at libraries, nursing homes, schools, etc. (contact Nicole for a list)
o Fundraising events including a Membership Drive event to attract new members
o Add additional schools to the fall and spring tours
5-year planning committee 2020-2025
o Director is reviewing all the past 5 year plans, making recommendations to the planning committee and the committee will present ideas to the Historical Society board for approval.
Key projects: Walkways to all the buildings (getting an estimate); Fix sidewalk by the church (completed September 2017 cost $700); Air circulation in all the buildings ($5000); Pay off the EDA loan on the Heritage Building ($15,200); Fix the mold issues in the Heritage Building and Red Schoolhouse (getting estimates).