Dakota City Heritage Village, Inc.
In 1859 when Minnesota was a new state, a village named Dakota City was platted on the south banks of the Vermillion River, along the stagecoach road (currently Highway 3) that connected St. Paul to Faribault, MN. Some homes, businesses and even a school were built in Dakota City, but the promoters of the little village were sadly disappointed in 1864 when the Minnesota Central Railroad tracks were laid a mile to the west.
Not only was the rail line a mile away, the railroad also built a little station house beside its tracks and named it Farmington. Dakota City was soon abandoned and the buildings were relocated near the railroad station as part of the new town.
Dakota City Heritage Village was established by the Dakota County Agricultural Society in 1978 and named for this first Dakota City. For more than thirty years, historic structures from communities throughout the county have been relocated to our re-created Dakota City, restored, and found new life, providing historical and educational programs for children, families and senior citizens.
Dakota City currently has three part-time personnel: an Education Coordinator, Exhibit Coordinator, and Maintenance man. Our office administration, bookkeeping, marketing, fund-raising, event and curatorial services are provided by full time volunteers and Dakota City board members. Some 248 other volunteers serve in a wide range of duties, from guides and historical interpreters of living history, to food service workers to the Machinery Men who keep the vintage tractors in peak condition.
In 2013, Dakota City was host to 3,860 students participating in our educational programs. About half of the children come from public and private Dakota County schools. The other half come from communities in the southern half of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area and from as far south as Red Wing and Wanamingo. We have drawn 11,421 visitors to our public events, such as our Victorian Tea, our World War II Re-enactment, the County Fair, Harvest Moon Festival and our Christmas in the Village (2012 attendance).
As an historical repository, the public continues to donate historical objects that reveal how people lived, as well as their time and money to our preservation efforts. Ahlberg Heritage Center, our on-site museum, houses more than 10,000 artifacts depicting social and rural history, with an emphasis on agriculture.
In 1994 Dakota City Heritage Village, Inc. was incorporated as a volunteer organization to operate educational programs to the public. This organization has obtained IRS Non-profit 501 Â© (3) status for historic educational service.
What new functionality we are looking for
Besides having a professional looking and easily navigable website, the following items are things we would want to have in a new website:
- Provide clear and interesting information about Dakota City that will that will drive (motivate) attendance at events and programs, as well as entice people to become volunteers.
- Ability to have people complete an online volunteer application.
- Ability to post volunteer openings and to sign up volunteers online.
- Secure payment system with minimal fees to accept online donations.
- Program and event registration integrated with payment system.
- Social media links.
- Links to partners (i.e., Master Gardeners, Dakota County Historical Society).
- Ability to include videos (virtual tours, event teasers).
In addition, we want to engage children with interactive games, such as dressing in the 1900 era styles, finding hidden objects, word games and mazes.
How the new functionality will help
Our mission â€œto connect current generationsâ€ means we must reach out to people where they're at, and today that is electronic media. We need to engage with them online, helping them visually â€œstep back in timeâ€ via technology and motivate them to experience Dakota City Heritage Village in person. We know we've an excellent historical resource here; we've only to make the connection to the current generations. The Nerdery can make that happen for us.
How our organization will use the technology
Who will use the technology
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