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Arts & Heritage

Winona’s history comes alive

Embrace our muses

Explore Winona’s cultural roots

We were loggers, traders, farmers, immigrants and pioneering spirits whose livelihood revolved around its greatest asset, the river that still connects the Midwest to markets worldwide. Now, we’re artists, artisans and music lovers who embrace local traditions while connecting to broader cultural experiences.


Land of the Dakota Nation

Native American history

The ancient lands of the Dakota Nation, the region is rich with the history and culture of their proud heritage. Led by a succession of Chiefs Wapasha, the Dakota Indians who called Winona home prized this location for its expansive vistas, abundant wildlife, and ready river access.

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Gateway to the West

River life, logging and milling history

Since the days of steamboats and paddle wheelers, Winona has been a vital port in Mississippi River history. The town’s advanced lumber and wheat milling industries were instrumental in developing and feeding the growing nation, and thousands of riverboats each year came to our shores.

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Beautifully curated world-class exhibits

The narrative of Winona is communicated in local lore but our museums tell it best. Winona’s widely acclaimed museums house vast collections of art, artifacts and historical gems.

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Historical sites and architecture

Revel in the extravagance of days gone by

So prized is Winona’s historic architecture that 11 entire downtown blocks have been added to the National Register of Historic Districts. From its stained glass and stone masterpieces to its majestic basilica, Winona is a town that cherishes its history.

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Our stained glass tradition

Winona’s windows grace the world

A local tradition with roots in the 19th century persists today, with dozens of stained glass artists in residence around Winona.

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Art exhibits and galleries

Winona’s visual arts

A thriving community of local artists and craftsmen display their works in studio galleries and other venues. Winona also is privileged to be home to a major art museum. The Minnesota Museum of Marine Art shows traveling collections of painting, photography and other maritime and seascape art including works of well-known Hudson River and Impressionist artists.

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Performing arts

Theater and performance arts for everyone

Home to two universities and an array of independent theater and arts companies, Winona offers a vibrant mix year round of performance in every form. From children’s theater to dance companies, from visiting productions to local stars, Winona’s theater and arts offerings are unparalleled in diversity and the quality of productions.

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