Our History and Organization

The Olmsted County Historical Society was established in 1926 by Burton Eaton and several other founding members with the intention of collecting and preserving the history of Olmsted County. Our first museum opened in the basement of the Rochester Public Library in 1940. In 1959, we moved into what had been the Bethel English Lutheran Church but soon outgrew the space. We then built a new museum building on land purchased in southwest Rochester in 1972, where we have been collecting, preserving, and educating, ever since. In 2006, the Olmsted County Historical Society began doing business as the History Center of Olmsted County (HCOC).

The Olmsted County Historical Society dba History Center of Olmsted County is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization governed by members via a Board of Director. Each year we, together with our enthusiastic volunteers, provide presentations, educational and outreach programs, special events, museum exhibits, and more. We currently own and operate two historic buildings and two historic farmsteads in addition to operating seasonal tours of the Mayowood Historic Home.

Our Vision

To become a gathering place for the broader community that inspires and encourages the exploration of history.

Our Mission

Give people of all ages and backgrounds access and opportunity to learn about the past through interpretive programs and exhibits, research, publications and events.

Our vision and mission statements guide our efforts each and every day by outlining the History Center’s objective and purpose. We are committed to fulfilling these statements and providing the best possible value and experience to members and visitors alike.

Staff & Board Members

A strong and healthy board-staff partnership provides flexible and resilient leadership that contributes positively to the organization’s overall impact. Here at the History Center of Olmsted County we have regular check-ins between staff and board that allows for open and effective communication that promotes trust and respect. We have a strong working relationship that cultivates commitment. Our organization promotes a healthy relationship that enables growth and the ability to work through issues at every level.  


Wayne Gannaway
Executive Director
Brian Boettcher
Buildings and Grounds Manager
Darla Buss
Member Services Coordinator
Ashley Evans
Events Coordinator
Molli Funk
Interim Mayowood Historic Site Manager
Patrick Gannaway
Facilities and Grounds Coordinator
Krista Lewis
Dan Nowakowski
Collections Manager
Barb Whipple

Board Members

Dr. Paul Scanlon
Kyle Benish
Linda Willihnganz
Dave Senjem
Olmsted County Board of Commissioners Representative
Josefina Pozas
Christine Rule

Employment & Internship Opportunities

We want you! If you have an interest in history and want to work hands on with museum and archival artifacts, check out our employment and internship opportunities below. Click on the links for position descriptions. Unless otherwise noted, please complete an application and email to: services@olmstedhistory.com.

or send by mail to:
History Center of Olmsted County
1195 West Circle Drive SW  
Rochester, MN  55902

The History Center of Olmsted County provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

News & Information

Keep up-to-date with the latest news and information about the History Center of Olmsted County. Here you’ll find our newsletter and other History Center announcements, links to news articles and videos about us, as well as information about our business activities, including our annual report and transparency and financial disclosure.

News Links
Publications & Reports
Latest Posts

KTTC profile

Future of Legends Bar and Grill building in question

Executive Director Wayne Gannaway lends some historical insights.

Wax Models Doctors at Mayo Clinic Used to Practice on Will Be on a Virtual Display

Learn about Mayo Wax Models and other upcoming virtual lectures at the HCOC!

2021 Minnesota Book Award

Local author Virginia Wright-Peterson's latest book, A Woman's War, Too: Women at Work During World War II, has been selected as a finalist for a 2021 Minnesota Book Award!

Spring 2024 Newsletter

Winter 2023 Newsletter

Stoppel Farmstead Interpretive Plan

County Board Cuts 2024

Fall 2023 Newsletter

Summer 2023 Newsletter

2022 Annual Report

2022 Annual Report delivered at the Member Meeting May 18th 2023

Spring 2023 Newsletter

Winter 2022 Newsletter

Summer 2022 Newsletter

Fall 2022 Newsletter

2021 Annual Report

History Center 990 Tax Form

Even though tax-exempt nonprofits do not pay federal taxes, they do have to file an information form with the IRS. That form is called a 990. Having to file the 990 makes sure that nonprofits conduct their business in a way that is consistent with their public responsibilities.

Scribe Newsletter 2022 Spring

Scribe Newsletter 2021 Winter

Scribe Newsletter 2021 Fall

What Type of History Center Does A Growing County Deserve?

A Dispatch from the Director

Scribe Newsletter 2021 Summer

2020 Annual Report

Scribe Newsletter 2021 Spring

Scribe Newsletter 2020 Winter

Scribe Newsletter 2020 Fall

Scribe Newsletter 2020 Spring

2019 Annual Report

2018 Annual Report

Around the Home Podcast #34 ft. Abby Currier

Around the Home Podcast highlights different businesses and local stories in Rochester, MN. In this episode, they talk with Abby Currier, Community Engagement and Events Coordinator about the history of Rochester and what the History Center has been up to during COVID.