The City of Renville was first established in 1878. The city (and the county) were named for Joseph Renville. Renville was officially incorporated in February 1881.
The Historic Renville Preservation Commission was established in 1977 in order to “discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge about the history of the area of the city of Renville, Minnesota.” The HRPC established the Renville Museum in the town’s first schoolhouse, built in 1879.
As the Museum’s collection and interest grew, the HRPC saw a need for more space. The first of several fundraising Vaudeville shows took place in 1982 to raise money to add a basement to the Museum. Other updates to the Museum include the addition of a new belltower cupola in 1988, the acquisition and restoration of the historical City Jail in 1991, and the dedication of the belltower in 1998.
The Renville Museum has held many events over the years, including:
- Old Tyme Vaudeville Shows: Held annually from 1982 – 1985, these “hysterical historical” shows were put together by community members and helped raise money for the Museum. Another was held in 2003 to celebrate the City of Renville’s 125th anniversary.
- Good Ol’ Days: A former annual fall celebration put on by the Museum. Activities included a “Country Bazaar” farmers market, craft sales, demonstrations, and more.
- Sugar Beet Days: a celebration of the town of Renville held every year in June. Special exhibits are on display at the Museum throughout the week along with special events.
- Nights at the Museum: In the past, the Museum has hosted special informative lectures and demonstrations. If you are interested in presenting, please contact historicrenville@renvillemuseum
The museum is operated by the Historic Renville Preservation Commission, which is organized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Your donations to the HRPC are generally tax-deductible.
Photo: The Renville Museum building in 1902.