Exhibits

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Freedom, Independence & Citizenship: The History of Voting Rights in Minnesota

Open July 4 - December 31, 2020

The right to vote and be represented in government is one of the most important universal rights of humanity. There is no other basic right that defines emancipation, liberation, and citizenship more than the ability to ballot for what you believe. Using historic artifacts, video, and photographs from local collections – including our own – this exhibit will highlight milestones of voting rights for, among others, men, women, immigrants, and people of color in Washington County and Minnesota while critically examining social and political contexts.

Free admission. Open during regular business hours. 

The Washington County Historic Courthouse Through the Years: 1870 - Today

This exhibit showcases Historic Courthouse artifacts from 1870-1975, including antique office equipment, furniture, period clothing, a judge’s office display, and much more. 

Rotating tabletop displays throughout the building feature the history of area events, Washington County and the City of Stillwater.

The Great Courthouse Debate

Within its 150-year history, the Historic Courthouse has had its share of debates, and not just in the courtroom. In the 1960’s the courthouse faced demolition during a debate on whether to build a new government center or add-on to the existing space. Saved by the community, the courthouse continued to be the focus of debates and discussion on its use, fundraising, restoration and its role as a historical landmark. 

This exhibit examines the historic and contemporary issues and highlights the key questions posed to our community about how to bring the Historic Courthouse into the future, while preserving its past.

Online Exhibits: 

Spokes & Folks: The Evolution of Bikes & Trails in Washington County
Minnesotans love bicycles. Since 2001, we’ve had more biking trails than any other U.S. state. Washington County continues to be committed to growing the cycling community with over 75 miles of trails and plans for future trails in the works. To celebrate bicycling history, the opening of the new Stillwater bike and pedestrian bridge, and to highlight the County’s network of trails and paths, we are proud to present Spokes & Folks online. From basic transportation to recreation, from the late 19th century Big Wheel to the modern fat-tire bike, this exhibit highlights how bicycles have impacted our lives for more than 150 years.

People & Places: Architecture in Washington County
Washington County has beautiful natural scenery, lovely Victorian homes, history and connections to a shared past. This online exhibition highlights the County’s rich architectural history by featuring various architectural styles found in the county from pre-1850 to 1960 in a scrolling, cascade-style format. Sections focus on Lost History (sites and buildings that are no longer); Early Peoples; Mills & Merchants; Learning & Leisure; Law & Order; Victorian & Turn of the Century; Modern. Click the link above and scroll through the different sections from beginning to end or choose your area of interest using the key in the upper right corner. 

Special thanks to Washington County’s GIS Department, including Courtney Eickhoff and David Brandt, for assisting us with this project.