Northfield Historical Society

Making History Matter!

Our Story

The Northfield Historical Society (NHS) grew out of the activities of the committee formed to celebrate America’s bicentennial in 1975. One goal of the committee was to establish a museum. The committee first considered Joseph Lee Heywood’s house as a possible site, but members agreed that although the house had great historical relevance, it would be hard to adapt it for use as a museum. A few months later, the Scriver Building came up for sale, and the owner accepted the group’s offer of $125,000.

The committee then began the lengthy process of developing a non-profit organization run by volunteers. The new society had no money, and with publicity help from the Northfield News and KYMN Radio, NHS started seeking contributions.

The first substantial gift the society received was from the Northfield Lions Club. This was followed by donations from FUTURE (Friends United to Undertake Restoration Efforts) and from many businesses, organizations, and individuals. Finally, NHS had enough money to feel that the building was secure. On July 4th, 1976, the Northfield Historical Society celebrated its formation and dedicated the Scriver Building to public service as a museum.



To connect individuals to the history of the Northfield area by collecting, preserving, and sharing its unique stories.


To be a best in class local history organization and a world renowned destination, discovering and sharing Northfield’s past and illuminating the present.



Demonstrate integrity with our relationships with the community and in authenticating of our collected history.


To embrace our community’s ethnic and cultural diversity, and ensure our programs, exhibits, and collections celebrate and reflect the differences and commonalities of our collective past.


To work effectively with culturally and ethnically diverse community, state, national, and international organizations in furthering our mission and outreach; to work together respectfully as an internal team comprised of board, staff, and volunteers.


To teach Northfield history through creative, inclusive programs and exhibits, that help people learn the true, meaningful uses of the past.


To serve as dedicated guardians of our local history, maintaining the highest legal, ethical and professional standards.

NHS Staff

Cathy Osterman

Cathy Osterman

Executive Director

Cathy manages the day-to-day operations of the museum as well as overseeing staff and volunteers. She plans programs and events,  raises funds for the historical society, and writes grants. Her background is in collections management. She has been with NHS since 2012.

Office Hours: 8:30 to 5pm   Monday – Friday

Stephanie Hess

Stephanie Hess

Curator of Digital Collections

Stephanie manages the digital collections held by NHS. She oversees the digital conversion of materials in the collection and makes digital materials accessible to the public. Additionally, she develops exhibits and assists with research. She also coordinates the digitization of materials for preservation and sharing online with the Northfield History Collaborative. Stephanie has been with NHS since 2015.

Office Hours: 10 to 5pm  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Stephen Barrett

Stephen Barrett

Collections and Outreach Manager

Stephen oversees the collection of 3D objects, textiles, and archives. He manages interns and volunteers engaged in collections projects. He also assists in research and program planning. He joined NHS in 2019.

Office Hours: 8:00 to 4pm  Monday, Thursday, 8:00 to 12 Friday

Board of Directors


  • President – Ron Gardner
  • Vice President – Rebecca Peterson
  • Treasurer – Mel Miller
  • Secretary – Vacant
  • Past President – Greg Kneser


      • Amy Pagel
      • Blake Abdella
      • Randy Knox
      • Cliff Clark
      • Ann Dunlap
      • Chris O’Neill
      • Clark Webster
      • Joy Riggs
      • Teri Knight
      • David Vesledahl
      • Dan Neuger

      Student Advisors

      • Clara Peterson
      • Meadow Vrtis