Permanent Exhibits:

James-Younger Gang Bank Raid

The Northfield Historical Society’s main exhibition tells the story of when the notorious James-Younger Gang attempted to raid the First National Bank of Northfield in 1876. The exhibit reveals the richer history behind Northfield’s most famous event through its display of photographs, documents, and artifacts from the time of the raid and beyond.

In this exhibit, you will learn about the outlaws Jesse and Frank James; Bob, Jim, and Cole Younger; as well as Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell; and why they came to Minnesota to rob a bank. But you will also learn about Northfield citizens who defended their bank and their town: heroes like Joseph Lee Heywood, Henry Wheeler, and A. R. Manning.

Features of the display include the bank’s ledger book, the single shot rifle Wheeler used to defend the town, reprinted photographs of the outlaws taken at death or capture, as well as saddles, firearms, and spurs

After exploring the exhibit, visit the actual site where the James-Younger Gang attempted to rob Northfield’s bank.

First National Bank of Northfield

Restored by the Northfield Historical Society in 1975, the First National Bank of Northfield historic site includes the actual bank vault from 1876 behind a replica teller’s cage. Here you can imagine what it might have been like to stand up against armed robbers and protect the city’s investments, at your own peril. Learn more about the historic bank site.


Temporary Exhibits:

Malt-O-Meal Originals…

The family of John Campbell, the founder of Malt-O-Meal, recently gave a collection of historic artifacts and archives to the Northfield Historical Society. The NHS is sharing highlights from this collection through a series of exhibitions, which will culminate in a 100th anniversary exhibition in 2019.

“Malt-O-Meal Originals” is the first Malt-O-Meal exhibition on view at the NHS. It showcases examples of original achievements from throughout the company’s history. The company is full of historic “firsts” like Campbell’s successful hot cereal.

On view are images and artifacts showing the first plants and workers, the first customers, the first sales and products, the first radio promotion, the first new products, the first famous television advertisement, and the first production facility built outside of Minnesota. These stories create a snapshot of key moments from the history of this company that has meant so much in the community of Northfield.

Thanks to the generosity of Campbell’s family, the Northfield Historical Society will ensure that the stories of Malt-O-Meal and its connection to the community of Northfield can be told for years to come.

Hometown Ties: Carleton Celebrates 150 Years with Northfield

This exhibit marks the sesquicentennial anniversary of Carleton College. Created by Carleton College Archivist Tom Lamb, the exhibit highlights ways in which Carleton College has been intertwined with Northfield since the College’s founding in 1866.

Featuring photographs, documents, and objects that reveal the connection between Carleton and Northfield, the exhibit highlights Carleton’s unique 150-year history. A subscription roll from 1866 lists Northfielders who contributed money towards the school’s first permanent building. A 1940s-era telescope used for public sky-viewing nights at Goodsell Observatory and an original costume from Carleton’s 1924 May Fete pageant illustrate Carleton events popular with Northfielders.

Hometown Ties: Carleton Celebrates 150 Years with Northfield opened at the Northfield Historical Society on October 18, 2016 and will run through June 2017.




  • $5 for Adults
  • $3 for Seniors
  • $3 for Students (Must have Student ID)
  • $2.00 for Children (6-12)
  • Free for Children under 6
  • Free for Members of NHS