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Runestone Museum: Preserving history and providing cultural opportunities

The Runestone Museum is available to rent for special events.

Since its founding in 1958, the Runestone Museum has been dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of Douglas County and its communities and the people who make this area their home.

The museum's namesake is the Kensington Runestone, a 202-pound stone containing a runic inscription telling of a Norse crusade to Minnesota in 1362.

The story of the Runestone is still being told and retold. After 100-plus years, the Runestone is still being studied and new information presented. In October 2008 a 3D imaging was done of the Runestone. From this study, new findings and images will soon be available.

Some information is now on display, including a revised translation of the Runestone. Visit our recently updated Discovery Room.

Though the stone is the centerpiece of the museum, it is but one of the thousands of artifacts in the collection that create educational and entertaining exhibits for visitors. The diversity of this area is demonstrated through the changing displays at the museum.

The museum's Native American collection features an outstanding variety of objects for the Dakota and Ojibwe cultures, including tools, dolls and some of the best examples of beadwork in the area.

Learn of Alexandria's origins in the Pioneer Room and Fort Alexandria - the original 1860 town site. Take a step back in time. The Miltona stage stop was recently brought to the museum and is an exhibit in progress.

New exhibits are now on display. The Early Surveyors of Douglas County is on loan from the District 5 Surveyors, and the Viking Speedway will be adding to their exhibit as the season progresses.

No visit to Alexandria or the Runestone Museum would be complete without taking time to say hello to Big Ole, Alexandria's tallest resident. Standing 28 feet tall, Ole guards the north end of Broadway in Big Ole Central Park.

Here's the answer to the big question: Big Ole will be getting his wings/horns back in the near future. The repairs are done and ready to be put back on Big Ole.

Did you know that you could rent the museum? Consider renting the Fort for graduations, weddings, family/school reunions or any occasion. The Fort and even the museum proper are available to rent. Contact the museum for more information at (320) 763-3160.

The gift shop has many items by local artisans, authors and more. Be sure to stop if you are looking for that unique gift from Alexandria for friends, family or foreign visitors. New and hard-to-find books on the Kensington Runestone are also available in the gift shop. It's open seven days a week in the summer: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Be a part of what is happening at the museum. Talk to us about a membership or a business sponsorship. It is through the support of the community that we continue to maintain the integrity of the Runestone Museum.

For those of you who are members and sponsors, thank you for sharing our vision and being a part of our ongoing mission of providing cultural and educational opportunities to the community.