The Kandiyohi County Historical Society is located on the North edge of Willmar, Minnesota and across from Willmar Lake and Robbins Island.

The Kandiyohi County Historical Society is proud to announce the Class of 2021 inductees into the West Central Minnesota Hall of Fame.  This year's inductees include: read more

COVID-19 Update

The Kandiyohi County Historical Society will be closed to the public until December 20, 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Governor's orders.

The Museum's Online Gift Shop will be open with curbside pickup.

All research requests will be done by phone or email. Call 320-235-1881 or email

The MinnWest Podcast: 🎙 Ep. 4 The History Of MinnWest & Willmar!

Jill Wohnoutka and Joanna sat down to recap the long history of the campus which started as a farm
đźšś owned by Leon Willmar..ya know, the guy our lovely town is named after!

If you’re a fan of history you N E E D to listen to this one!

Apple Podcasts:
Google Play:

Special thanks to the
Kandiyohi County Historical Society


Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-4pm
Saturday & Sunday 1pm-4pm
(Memorial Day –Labor Day) 
Admission: $3.00 / 12 & under free
Kandiyohi County Historical Society Members  Free
Location: MAP 610 NE Hwy 71
Willmar, MN  56201
Contact Us


General Inquires
 Research Questions

The Kandiyohi County Historical Society is a non-profit 501 (c)3 dedicated to "discovering, preserving, and sharing the story of Kandiyohi County and its people.


Photo by Greg Harp

How the Great War Hit Home in West Central Minnesota:

World War I Traveling Exhibit

Wins 2020 AASLH Award of Excellence

NASHVILLE, TN—May 2020—The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announces that the West Central Minnesota Historical Association is the recipient of an Award of Excellence for How the Great War Hit Home in West Central Minnesota: World War I Traveling Exhibit. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 75th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.

The WCMHA traveling exhibit project use of primary sources collectively in the 10 county west central region in Minnesota demonstrated the use of good history. The counties include Big Stone, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Redwood, Renville, Swift and Yellow Medicine. The primary sources used in this exhibit showcased each county and at the same time show the connection of the World War I story throughout the west central Minnesota region. This was a new approach for the WCMHA to tackle and we were able to collaborate with our neighbors and create new resources for each organization to learn from and lean on. This exhibit demonstrates the relevance of local history by showcasing the local stories in the greater context of World War I history. The WCMHA wanted the exhibit to help our communities to understand how west central Minnesota had an important role in such a large event in the nation and world's history. The WCMHA wanted visitors to the exhibit to go home with a sense of how their own history fit into a larger picture and hopefully would understand more in depth about World War I history. This year, AASLH is proud to confer fifty-seven national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, and publications. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history.

The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena. For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or go to

The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful to all people. AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, and maintains numerous affinity communities and committees serving a broad range of constituents across the historical community. The association also sponsors an annual meeting, regional and national training in-person workshops, and online training.


Current News



Help support the Kandiyohi County Historical Society and keep your heritage alive by becoming a member!  

Benefits include free admission to entire facility, subscription to quarterly newsletter, reduced rates to KCHS programs!

Connect With Us


Share your photos and posts related to the history of Kandiyohi County on social media with the hashtag #kandiyohihistory

Supporting Memberships

Thank you for providing support for preservation of our heritage! These supportive levels provide support beyond the basic membership dues.  This support enables the KCHS to maintain professional level standards for preservation, exhibits, programs and other services


Corneil-Elkjer Agency North Risk Partners
Lyle Stai
Dr. Roger & Kay Strand
Rand & Donna Middleton
Todd Erickson
Rolf & Joyce Standfuss
Peterson Brothers Funeral Home
Dick & Delores Olson
Don & Janet Dokken
Doris Hennen
Curt Engstrom
Mary Schnell
Bea Ourada
Louise Thoma
Sam Nelson
Gayle & Linda Larson
Gerri Ekblad
Richard & Sheila Bosch
Craig & Renee Johnson
Yvonne Natvig
Carol & Lee Roisum
Richard Falk & Maxine Zempel
Robert Bliss
Pete & Carla Fostervold
Brenda McNichols
Dale & Judy Johnson
Rick & Darla Fagerlie
Duaine & Ann Amundson
Orial Vern & Mildred Buer
Shawn Mueske
Gary Swenson
Rollie & Judy Boll
Beckie Johnson
Wallace Gustafson
Moody Schmidt & Kleinhuzien
Jennie-O Turkey Store
Dean & Diane Shuck
Stan & Sue Malecek
Sam & Barbara Modderman
Arlen & Sheila Sjerven
Sonia Collier
Cal & Diane Miner
James Leary
Mary Norby Opheim
David & Dara Lynn Horner
Harvest Bank
Gail Nygaard Anderson


Ardell & Marilyn Johnson
Scott Nelson


Laura Rassmussen

The War Memorial Auditorium in Willmar was featured on Postcards. Watch it here.