The three-level building was originally used as the Elysian Public School in 1895. The building housed the students of the area until 1963 however not a single student graduated from the institution. Those that did graduate from the area were sent to another nearby school.
In 1965, the building was bought by the county historical society for $14.50. The building at this time was discussed as possibly being tore down as it no longer served a purpose after sitting dorment for two years. At a city meeting, the historical society proposed that it could be used as a museum and after a much heated debate, a local stood up and cried out, "Here just buy it for them already!" and pulled out the cash he had in his pocket; $14.50.
After two years of being modeled into a museum, it was officially opened as the Le Sueur County Historical Museum.
The building currently sits as a seasonal museum with it's doors being open free of charge to the public from May to October. The museum is open from 1 PM to 5 PM, Wednesday through Sunday, on during June through the month of August. The museum then operates on a weekend schedule during the months of May and September, hours are 1 PM to 5 PM.
The current care taker, Nancy Burhop, has run the museum for almost the last decade. She provides the clustered museum with a very welcoming and warm personality. Over the years, Nancy has had her fair share with those that call the museum home.
The Le Sueur County Museum's exterior of brick and white.
Nancy claims to have heard unexplainable noises coming from the museum during her time working there. One such story depicts when she and another museum volunteer were working on the museum newsletter and heard the hand bell outside the upstairs office door. When they opened the door, they were startled to see that there was no one in the museum and the hand bell sitting where it was left on the ground level reception desk.
One day, a volunteer entered the museum and heard the giggling of a small child coming from the grand red staircase. When she went upstairs to ask Nancy if she had her grand daughter with her for the day, she was suprised to find out that there was not a child in the building all day.
The ground level bathroom has it's own story behind it as well. Many who enter to use the restroom always will be a little uneasy after one young girl had a run in with a mischievious spirit.
The young girl was listening to the stories of the musuem's supernatural inhabitants and she thought it would be appropriate to stick out her tongue to mock the spirits. When she entered to use the restroom and as she tried to leave, the door was held shut by an unseen force. The young lady described it as if someone was playing tug of war on the other end with her. After many attempts to pull the door open, the girl stopped for a while and when she tried again, the door opened without a problem.
While talking to a few visitors in the lobby, Nancy had heard large crashing noises coming from the basement. She was afraid that it was her other guests breaking museum pieces and she rushed down there to investigate. When she asked the guests in the basement what they were doing and explained the noises she had heard, the visitors were just as confused. They too had heard the noises but thought it was coming from the ground level floor above them.
In the room that is named the 1900's Room, there sits an old Edison phonograph. One day, Nancy was cleaning a nearby artifact room when she heard music playing out of the old phonograph. She was baffled by this as she knew that she stuck a pencil in there that would prevent the needle from touching the cylinder. When she reached the phonograph, she say that there were no moving parts in motion and the pencil was still in its place, however the music still echoed from the machine. Startled and scared, Nancy ran away from that room.
The 1900's Room also has a barrel with dominos set upon it. A psychic had pointed out the dominos as a very loud distraction during his time at the museum. He claimed that the black bricks were constantly clacking together and drawing his attention away from what he was trying to perceive. Curious, Nancy had did a test with Ajax powder and set up the dominos. After a week of having this powder on the top of the barrel, she noticed that the dominos did indeed move on their own slightly.
One of the strangest parts of the museum has to be in the basement area. The basement area is used for storage and three display rooms. These rooms include a tool room, a loom room, and a jug room.
In the tool room, there is a male entity that is said to rush up in the face of visitors. This of course startles those that come face to face with the man. This entity also has removed all the wooden planes off the peg board wall and laid them out for Nancy to pick up. When she saw this, she got irritated by the spirit's hijinks and let him verbally have it.
Various other objects have been moved out of place in this room such as a pair of large black mittens that usually are on a red sled.
During a 2005 investigation by the Minnesota Paranormal Study Group in collaboration with the Minnesota Paranormal Investigators, the teams placed a name to this male who haunts the tool room. His name is Willie and claims to be a former caretaker of the school. Through the teams, he let Nancy know that he wanted the planes rearranged and thus made himself known to her. He was not happy with the way things were arranged in his room and often competes with Nancy for the placement of artifacts.
The loom room has it's fair share of spirits as well. Many visitors have reported seeing the apparitions of small children in the room. On several encounters, visitors have reported feeling being pushed in the back by an unseen force while facing the support pole in the room.
One visitor reported seeing a small child in a while night gown playing hide and go seek behind the large tin cans that are in the room.
The three year old girl seemed to be talking and playing with someone in the loom room, near the large glass cabinet. When her mom asked her about who she was talking to, the daughter replied, "I am talking to the little girl."
During one tour, Nancy had been explaining to the public tour that the loom room had been repoted to have a lot of paranormal activity by a psychic. While she talking about what the psychic said, she noticed the group was looking at something over her shoulder. When she turned around, she noticed the door behind her was swinging on it's own.
On the main level of the museum, there is an old bedroom set up. In this bedroom, Nancy reports having to constantly straighten up the bed sheets. During the joint investigation of the MNPSG and MNPIG in 2005, the MNPSG had found evidence of the spirit children of the museum making a playing trail from down the red stair case to the bedroom area. What is interesting about this is that during the MNPIG's investigation of Willie, the basement entity, they were told that Willie would often get angry because "those damn kids keep running upstairs and make too much noise."
The top floor of the museum is just as active as any area of the museum. In the Hall of Memories, a hall way that shows the different occupations of the past eras, an MNPSG member had reported being touched by an unseen hand that tugged on his pants during an EVP session. When he looked down, he saw the face of a young boy who asked him, "Can you help us then?" The interesting part about this experience is that the investigation had caught this question on the audio file of the EVP.
The top floor also houses the school room, which is a mock up of what the classrooms in the museum used to look like when it was used as an educational facility. In this room, the lights have been turned off on Nancy and won't be turned back on until she yells at the spirits to "stop making her job harder." Visitors have noticed hearing a loud banging noise such as that of a book slamming on the floor but upon investigation have found nothing to be out of place.
The Le Sueur County Historical Musuem is definitely one of the most interesting places that the state of Minnesota has to offer from both a history standpoint and a paranormal stand point. The strange happenings that occur at the museum during the summer months often leave those that the building draws in to wonder what happens when the museum doors are closed for the winter.
The building and grounds have been found to have a handful of spirits roaming about. There are two children that run about the museum floors from the 2nd floor landing to the bedroom on the main level. These two spirits are believed to be both a young boy and a young girl. The basement is the home for the grumpy caretaker Willie who will put those who are curious enough to invade his space. Several unidentified spirits have been found by the MNPIG on the outside grounds.
Why these spirits roam the museum is not answered yet. The building has no deaths or tragedies tied to it however the museum's charm will work its way into any visitor's heart. This charming effect is thought to act as a beacon to bring back all of those who had ventured to this location and fell in love with it.
If you do decide to venture to visit Nancy and the spirits that inhabit this location, please remember that this location is not only a museum but a home for many. Please be respectful of those that spend their time here and perhaps you will be welcomed very warmly by those that you may bump into.
If you do decide to visit the Le Sueur County Historical Society Museum, the staff at the museum as well as the staff here at MinnesotaGhosts.com kindly ask you to respect the spirits that call this place home as well as the original purpose behind the museum. It's all about education and being able to appreciate the history of the area that the museum holds within it's interior!