The Ramsey County Historical Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit that presents, preserves and publishes the history of Ramsey County.
The Mission of the Ramsey County Historical Society:
Preserving our past, informing our present, inspiring our future.
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Accessibility & Inclusion
Ramsey County Historical Society (RCHS) is committed to preserving our past, informing our present, and inspiring our future. The “our” repeated three times in our mission is intentional—we exist to serve everyone in our community to the best of our abilities.
For most of its 72 years, RCHS has viewed itself as a neutral party, preserving and presenting community history. To be sure, we strive to preserve and present the facts of history without prejudice, but to pretend we do not have some biases would be disingenuous—we are humans—and flawed at that.
As an organization established, governed, and largely staffed by people of European descent for most of its history, the stories that were most accessible to the organization were Eurocentric. Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in some significant omissions in our work, omissions that we are now doing our best to avoid.
In 1998, RCHS started to address one such critical omission—the story of the Dakota people in the region. Building relationships with Dakota Elders led to the addition of tours and programs telling the stories of the people of Heyáta Othúŋwe (Cloud Man’s Village) from the perspective of the Dakota. These programs persist today with the continued guidance of Dakota advisors. The Society has also been committed to seeking out and adding programming that would not have been on its radar a decade ago. Quite frankly, we had been missing out on some extraordinary and fascinating history, and because we missed it, so did many of our members. If you have been attending History Revealed programs or read Ramsey County History magazine, you have seen the additions that are helping tell a more complete story of Ramsey County.
We are committed to moving forward and telling our community’s stories—as many of them as we can. Thank you for joining us as we explore all parts of Ramsey County.
Ramsey County Historical Society
Ramsey County Historical Society
Statement on Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion
The Ramsey County Historical Society acknowledges that the lives, pain, and accomplishments of many individuals and communities have been ignored, marginalized, or even erased throughout the history of Ramsey County. We recognize that institutionalized, systemic racism and discrimination persists today and traumatizes our fellow human beings, and that RCHS has been a part of these systems that continue to harm members of our community.
At the heart of history are the experiences of people — stories told, voices heard, and narratives recounted. Yet, RCHS has not done enough to identify and share stories from every community it serves, leaving many stories untold. RCHS has a responsibility to center the perspectives and lived experiences of Black, Indigenous, and people of color when their stories are shared.
The RCHS Board of Directors, Staff, and Volunteers are united in our commitment to fully integrating the principles of diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion in all that we do as we fulfill our mission of preserving our past, informing our present and inspiring our future.
In its governance, RCHS is committed to:
- Recruiting, engaging, and retaining a Board of Directors that is reflective of the community
- Ensuring policies and procedures are inclusive
- Fostering a culture of respect both internally and in outreach
- Implementing additional transparency in communications to better encourage and support community feedback and accountability
As an employer, RCHS is committed to:
- Fostering a workplace that respects each individual, seeks and values diverse perspectives, and ensures each employee can actively contribute to fulfilling the organization’s mission
- Ensuring that recruitment and hiring practices are inclusive and effective in attracting and hiring diverse candidates
As an economic entity, RCHS is committed to:
- Establishing and maintaining a diverse and inclusive network of vendors
As a community service organization RCHS is committed to:
- Empowering community members and organizations to control culturally specific content that prioritizes their lived experience and wisdom
- Expanding collecting and preservation activities at RCHS to incorporate more culturally diverse materials and support the preservation of collections held in trust by community
- Continuing to recruit Black, Indigenous, and other authors of color, and continuing to publish more diverse content in Ramsey County History magazine and other platforms
- Ensure RCHS facilities and programs are accessible to all audiences
We recognize that the work requires constancy of effort and is ever-changing. Mistakes made along the journey are opportunities for us to humbly learn and evolve. We authentically face and undertake the work with resolve and energy knowing that equitable and inclusive opportunities for everyone contribute to a just, vibrant community where full stories are told, every voice is heard, and history resonates with us all.
- Authenticity: We strive for historical accuracy in all our programs and activities.
- Innovation: We consciously seek new ways to educate and create unique programming.
- Inspirational: We raise awareness of our past and how that informs our understanding of our present and future.
- Integrity: We adhere to the highest standards as a nonprofit organization in all our operations.
- Respect: We provide experiences that respect our collective heritage and the diverse cultures of our community.
Dakota Land Statement
Acknowledging This Sacred Dakota Land
Mnisóta Makhóčhe, the land where the waters are so clear they reflect the clouds, is the ancestral and contemporary homeland of the Dakhóta (Dakota) people. It is also home to the Anishinaabe and other Indigenous peoples. The Ramsey County Historical Society acknowledges that its sites are located on and benefit from these sacred Dakota lands.
Ramsey County Historical Society is committed to preserving our past, informing our present, and inspiring our future. Part of doing so is acknowledging the painful history and current challenges facing the Dakota people just as we celebrate the contributions of Dakota and other Indigenous peoples.
Link to full Dakota Land Acknowledgement Statement. This full statement includes actionable ways in which Ramsey County Historical Society pledges to honor the Dakota and other Indigenous peoples of Mnisóta Makhóčhe.
RCHS Celebrated Our 70th Year in 2019
The Society began in 1949 when a group of citizens moved to acquire and preserve the Heman and Jane Gibbs farm in Falcon Heights. Following five years of restoration work, the Gibbs Farm museum opened its gates in 1954. In 1974, the farm was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Society is a not-for-profit 501(c)3, donor-supported organization that depends on gifts from individuals, foundation and corporations for its support.
Ramsey County Historical Society has three primary programs.
Pathways to Dakota & Pioneer Life. Experience. Understand. Grow.
Gibbs Farm presents programs for children and adults that focus on the dual interpretation of pioneer and Dakota life.
The Gibbs Farm presents:
- Field trips for students from throughout the metro area, Greater Minnesota, and Western Wisconsin.
- Day Camps for children ages 4-15.
- Farm Fridays adult education programs.
- Special events such as Prairie Festival, Apple Festival and Gibbs Halloween.
- The Gibbs Farm is available to rent for weddings and other special events.
The Gibbs Farm is open to the public on weekends, from Memorial Day through the end of October.
For hours, directions, admission and a list of programs, camps and special events, our Gibbs Farm page has information, or feel free to contact us.
Members of RCHS receive free general admission to the Gibbs Museum, and 10% off day camps and in the gift shop.
Ramsey County History Magazine –
55 Years of Stories about Our Capital County
In 1964, Ramsey County History began a distinguished tradition of assembling original, important information and engaging stories that might otherwise be lost to time. Ramsey County History has enjoyed continuous publication and has twice received awards from the American Association for State and Local History. The magazine offers readable, high-quality local history, written by local authors, that focuses as much on the ordinary person as on extraordinary events and historic figures.
Ramsey County History is a benefit for members of RCHS. To join and receive a subscription to the magazine, please visit our Membership page.
RCHS also publishes books, several of which have won awards, and is planning more outstanding publications in the near future. RCHS is also branching out into digital publishing, including a documentary, University Avenue: One Street, A Thousand Dreams that is featured on Twin Cities Public Television, and a series of podcast interviews on a variety of historical subjects, authors, and resources.
Research Center, Collections and Exhibitions
The RCHS Research Center contains non-circulating collections documenting the history of Ramsey County and Saint Paul. The collection contains books, periodicals, city directories, maps, photographs, personal papers, business and organization records, architectural information, and materials on clubs, schools, and churches. The Research Center is in a newly-renovated space in downtown Saint Paul’s Landmark Center, a restored Federal Courts building on the National Register of Historic Places. The Research Center is open to RCHS members and to the general public, our Research Center page has hours, directions and more information about the documents collection.
RCHS also preserves a collection of over 14,000 objects to ensure the history of Ramsey County is available to current and future generations. This large collection of historical items, ranging in size from lapel pins to horse-drawn carriages and a complete farm house, provides a strong foundation for our publishing and education activities.
Exhibits developed by RCHS offer insightful and educational experiences on a wide variety of subjects, from the history of black baseball in Ramsey County, to the story of Norwegian immigrants, to artists’ works documenting the Green Line transit system. Many exhibitions are open to the public in our Exhibit Gallery on the main floor of Landmark Center, but others travel extensively. Our exhibitions in Landmark Center are open to the public without charge during its regular hours.
RCHS also offers lectures, book signings, and other programs to members and to the public on a regular basis.