When Josh and I went to see the Spam Museum I also stumbled upon another museum that happened to be on the same route and it ended up being one of the best museum visits I’ve had. We went to the Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children in Owatonna, MN.
The orphanage was open from 1886 to 1945 in which time 10,635 children passed through the doors. It was a fascinating and eye-opening experience, and we happened to very lucky because we arrived on a day when a tour group had arranged to be there, so we were able to take advantage of that and there was a willing volunteer around every corner – all of them connected to the school in some way. While we were there a gentleman by the name of Harvey stopped us and we found out he had written a book about his own personal experience in the school. He actually lived there for 11 years and wrote a very interesting memoir (that we bought). His voice is an honest one throughout the book, though it may not be poetic or win any awards. It definitely gives you a look into what orphanage life might have been like, and it wasn’t an easy one. The hardest thing many of the children had to overcome was the institutionalization. He spoke about his trouble fitting in outside of the school and how hard it was to be in a family and to have his own after.
I could really go on and on about what we learned that day, but I’ll stop and leave you with some of the pictures that we took instead. :p