Search billions of records on

NCHGS<Prairie Village


Norman County Minnesota Historical  and Genealogy Society

Museums located in Ada and Shelly, Minnesota

Prairie Village Museum and Research Center
701 W Thorpe Ave., Ada, MN

Museum Hours
Tuesday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday: 9 5 p.m.
Saturday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
or by appointment: 218-784-6904

History Matters!

The Prairie Village is a living museum of preserved buildings used in early days. The Village is host to machinery, furnishings, tools, and other articles used by the pioneers. The log cabin, churches, depot, school and the machinery exhibit building all bring back to us the days of long ago. The Pioneer Village is located on the Norman County Fairgrounds on Hwy 200 on the west side of town. The Historical and Genealogy Research Center located in the Log Museum in the Prairie Village is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Log Museum
Prairie Village
Prairie Village


Prairie Village Projects 2017

Because the Norman County Historical and Genealogy Society is funded by County, townships and the city of Ada at set levels, it is necessary to apply for grants to continue archival storage projects which tend to be very costly. In order to continue the preservation work of the Society, it is critical to also be supported by individual and business donations. This year in addition to County contributions, the Society is pleased to receive $2,000 from the city of Ada. Grants have been received from Thrivent Financial Services and Minnesota Historical Society Legacy Fund.   

Legacy Grant   Minnesota Historical Society Legacy Grant-ongoing project

We have an archive of 50,000 photographic negatives that were donated by photographer Dave Johnson in the '70's. He inherited the negatives from Arne Aalgaard, a photographer in Norman County from the 1930's through the 1970's when he purchased the business.  The negatives have been improperly stored in places that are hot, cold, and humid.  Some negatives are damaged and it is the intent of this project to scan and preserve this valuable collection of photographs of people from Norman (and surrounding area) County.

A grant was written for Legacy funding from the MHS and in August 2015 we were awarded $6900.00 to purchase a computer, monitor, scanner, and external hard drives so that proper preservation could begin.   Thus far over  7,000 negatives have been scanned dating from 1928 to 1951. Each negative takes between 4 and 7 minutes to scan and enter, so we will be working most of the rest of our lives... !

The identified negatives are now stored in a locked metal file in a temperature controlled environment.  Check out the Index and see if you have family photos from Aalgaard Photography that have been scanned. We continue to work on this project as time and money allows. We hope to have the entire collection scanned and indexed in the next few years.

molly negatives file cabinet sorting
Molly Jones scanning negatives Just some of the thousands
of scanned negatives
Both cabinets will be filled
when project is complete
Loretta Johnson is just one of the
volunteers sorting negatives for scanning


This years first Thrivent grant was used to build another room in the machinery building. This room houses small implements in a more informative way.


implement room

Baseball has always been an important part of Norman County's history. This exhibit features four men: Melvin "Shorty" Dekko, Les Hoien, Erwin Warner, and Tony Sipe. All four men have been inducted into the Minnesota Amateur Hall of Fame in recognition of their work with baseball programs in their respective towns.

T Sipe 

baseball exhibit

Music A Packard pump organ is the center piece of our music exhibit. In addition to the instruments in our collection a beautiful settee and chair from the Albertson family of Twin Valley completes the display.


An old 1834 kerosene lamp rescued from the burning Wild Rice Roller Mills is the focus piece in a display case featuring five Roller Mills of Norman County. F;ower Mills


Collectibles This exhibit features pieces dating from 1906 to 2000. Custard glass, ruby glass, cobalt glass and detailed lithography are all included in the case on the left. The newer advertizing collectibles are on the right and are pottery and plastic. collectibles 2


Graphic As a follow-up to last years Thrivent grant for acetate sleeves we have displayed a number of Gary Graphic newspapers along with some wooden and lead examples of lead etched blocks that were actually used in the printing of the paper.


This site is maintained by Colleen Goltz with
the dedication and assistance of the
Norman County Historical and Genealogy Society.
Copyright NCHGS 2017