RED WING -- After closing down in March for the COVID-19 restrictions, the Goodhue County Historical Society will reopen to the public on Tuesday, July 7. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The museum will be closed Sunday-Monday and all major holidays.

“We have a preparedness plan and are working to take care of the safety of all our visitors, staff, and volunteers,” said Robin Wipperling, executive director. “To keep the social distancing, we are asking that all visitors call the museum at least an hour ahead, so we can control the number of people in the building.”

The number is 651-388-6024.

Guided tours will not be offered at this time. Visits will be self-guided, and Wipperling asks that anyone interested in using the research library call at least one day in advance so that the archivists can locate materials and the museum can maintain a limit of two people in the library at any time.

The farming tradition of Goodhue County is evident in many of the displays in the museum. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia
The farming tradition of Goodhue County is evident in many of the displays in the museum. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Visitors will be asked to use hand sanitizer when entering the building and will be required to wear a face mask at all times. People, except family groups, will be asked to stay six feet apart, and the drinking fountains will not be in use.

“Our staff and volunteers are all trained on this,” Wipperling said. “We want to keep everybody safe and these are all things that most people have become accustomed to by now.”

The museum has created several activities and events for visitors. On their Facebook page, they have an event called “What is it Wednesday?” Each Wednesday morning, the curator posts a photo of an object and viewers can guess what the object is throughout the day. At the end of the day, the curator will identify the object.

Also on the Facebook page are two other activities. Visitors can find videos that give them a view of what goes on behind the scenes at the Goodhue County Historical Society, and the History Breaks, normally held in the museum, are being held online.

The museum has traditionally held a Family Fun Day each summer, but with the limitations on visitation, they are changing the format this year. In the "Not-So-Social-Ice-Cream-Social," community members will be invited to drive through the parking lot on from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 11, get an ice cream container and a packet of activities to do at home. The event is free and partially sponsored by Xcel Energy.

The city of Red Wing invites children to go to the Ready, Set, RedWing! website and print a Summer 2020 Activity Book. The Goodhue County Historical Society, as well as the YMCA, the Public Library, Community Development, and the Anderson Center, will serve as drop-off points. When kids finish the activity book, they can drop it off and pick up a prize.

The Historical Society is also trying to preserve this time in history. Staff asks community members to reflect on how COVID-19 has influenced their lives and submit stories and/or photos that demonstrate their experiences.

“We are all very excited and eager to get open again,” Wipperling said. “We wish it could go back to like it was when anybody could come in at any time, but we feel very confident that we have all of the procedures and protocols for protection for our visitors, staff, and volunteers. We miss everybody, and we are ready to open our doors.”