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Runestone, Knute Nelson draw history buffs to Alexandria

History buffs – or parents looking to share a piece of Minnesota’s history with their children to some of Minnesota’s many historical venues – have a couple of interesting options in Alexandria.

Runestone Museum is located at 206 Broadway where visitors will see the world famous Kensington Runestone. The slab of greywacke has been a source of controversy ever since Swedish immigrant Olof Ohman claimed to have discovered it in 1898. The inscription purports to be a record left by Scandinavian explorers in 1362, 130 years before Columbus claimed to “discover” America. Others have asserted it was a hoax. Was it? Come see for yourself.

Visitors can step into the past, walk a little slower, talk a little slower, and enjoy the exhibit on Norse history, the Native American exhibit, the Minnesota wildlife display, the display of early pioneer life, and the hands-on children’s area.

Experience the changing of the seasons in the display of tools and farm equipment used by an earlier generation.

Winters hours are in effective now through April 30, so hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the museum is closed on Sunday. More information can be found at www.runestonemuseum.org.

Another intriguing option is the Knute Nelson house, which is the headquarters of the Douglas County Historical Society located at 1219 Nokomis Street in Alexandria.

A group of visionary citizens spearheaded what became a determined and eagerly supported effort to save former Minnesota governor and senator Knute Nelson’s house from demolition in 1985. The outcome was that the house of this revered statesman was moved to another spot, still on the original homestead land, and because of his national importance, it was kept on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Douglas County Historical Society is the home to extensive historical and genealogical resources.

Educational resources include slide show programs of each towns/villages in Douglas County, oral history interviews, a photo collection, materials for identification of significant buildings and sites in Douglas County, a vintage clothing and uniform collection, and several books on the history of Douglas County.

Guided tours are available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. week days. More information can be found at www.dchsmn.org