The pioneer schoolhouse housed at the former Arches Museum will soon have a new home.

The schoolhouse, gifted to Winona State University by the Winona County Historical Society, has been moved to a temporary location on WSU’s West Campus with the intent that the facility eventually will be integrated into plans for WSU’s new Education Village. The Education Village initiative, which received initial funding during the 2013-14 Minnesota legislative session, is a bold, responsive plan to renovate existing campus facilities to offer integrated, flexible, state-of-the-art learning and teaching spaces, and provide future teachers with the preparation, support and inspiration they need to be successful in the 21st century classroom.

The one-room schoolhouse will offer a connection between Winona State’s historic origin as the first teacher preparation school west of the Mississippi River and its role in transforming teacher preparation for the 21st century.

The schoolhouse at the Arches Museum was first called Hillsdale School District 81, and originally stood at the four township corners of Hillsdale, Warren, Utica and Norton. It was also known as the Prigge School, with the school sharing the same section (in Hillsdale Township) as the Prigge Farm.

The school was built in 1862, operated as a school until 1917, and then briefly reopened again from 1927-1929. The Winona County Historical Society (WCHS) moved the Prigge School to the Arches Museum, 11 miles west of Winona, in 1966 after Lewiston Independent District 857 presented it to the Society.

The Arches Museum was temporarily closed in the early 1980s. After the closing, a group of Winona residents joined to convince WCHS to revamp the museum. The Arches Museum was successfully reopened, but over the years attendance declined steadily. The lack of attendance, combined with lingering damages from the 2007 flood, caused the property to be closed for repairs.

For more information, call the WSU Communications Office at 507-457-5024.

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Andrea Northam

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