New visitor center, outdoor exhibits and programming open to the public this spring
Elk River, Minn. (Feb. 24, 2017) — The Oliver Kelley Farm opens weekends in April and May, following a multimillion dollar renovation, and features new spaces and expanded programming that tell a broader story of agricultural history, spanning from the 1860s to modern day.
A new visitor center offers three times as much space as the previous one—with a learning kitchen, classrooms, indoor exhibits, museum store and updated guest amenities—for the farm’s growing attendance. In the new Farm Lab area, visitors can explore today’s agriculture through modern cropland, animals, gardens and an outdoor exhibit trail. Then head to Oliver Kelley’s historic 1860s farmstead, a National Historic Landmark, to compare how Minnesota’s agriculture has grown and changed over 150 years.
Visitors will be able to engage with not only the history of agriculture but where their food comes from today during expanded programming and special events, new workshops and field trip offerings throughout the year.
Melanie Adams, senior director of Guest Experience and Educational Services at MNHS, says, “We can’t wait to welcome visitors to the newly revitalized Oliver Kelley Farm. Our new Farm Lab area perfectly complements the Historic Farmstead, and the site now gives our growing number of visitors a fuller picture of Minnesota agriculture, both past and present.”
The farm opens for the season April 1 with expanded hours, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Oliver Kelley Farm will hold a Grand Opening Celebration May 6 and 7 with music, chef demos, food and more to officially welcome visitors to the revitalized farm. The site also offers expanded summer hours, opening Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., starting Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day.
About the Oliver Kelley Farm
Oliver Kelley and his family began farming on the banks of the Mississippi in 1850. He went on to found the first successful national farming organization, the National Grange of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry, better known as the Grange, in 1867. Today the Oliver Kelley Farm is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and “the birthplace of organized agriculture in America.” At the site, visitors can explore agricultural history from the 1860s to modern day through machinery, cropland, animals and more.
The farm is located at 15788 Kelley Farm Rd., 2.5 miles southeast of downtown Elk River on U.S. Hwy. 10. For more information, call 763-441-6896 or visit www.mnhs.org/kelleyfarm.
The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.
The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.