Mitchell County 

Historical Museum

Museum Hours:  Wednesday - Saturday 1:00 - 5:00 

Cedar River Complex

Museum entrance in the CRC lobby

   Our collection is now searchable online!

Visit our newest exhibit in the Museum:

Print on the Prairie

Welcome to the Print on the Prairie exhibit!

Our display intends to show you some of the early history (1850s-1920s) of Mitchell County newspapers, their owners and their mission: To bring news to a new and growing Iowa population. Datus E. Coon established the first newspaper in Mitchell County in 1856 – just 10 years after Iowa became a state. Between that founding year and 1920, almost 30 newspapers began – and mostly ended – in Mitchell County. Some lasted only a year; others are still with us today.

You will be able to see the first front pages of some of the early newspapers, learn about the young men who tackled the painstaking process – most were between the ages of 25 and 30 – and the vast amount of news they served up to their communities. In the era before TV, radio or film, newspapers served as a conduit to the outside world. Amid those stories, we have chosen some of the more unusual items found in the pages – some are funny, some are incredibly sad – and we believe all are interesting.


The mission of the Historical Society is to keep alive an active interest in Mitchell County history by collecting, preserving and interpreting artifacts, books, papers, records, and other materials relative to the county’s history. The Historical Society cares for over 10,000 items at its seven different sites, including one of the largest clothing collections in Iowa.

History of MCHS  (Click)

The Mitchell County Historical Museum was established in the last remaining building of the Cedar Valley Seminary in 1966. The "Old Central" building, located at North 6th Street and Mechanic Street (Osage, IA) was leased to the Historical Society by the Osage Community Schools. The Osage Community Schools were in discussions of expanding their school on the former Seminary Campus site and Old Central was going to be demolished. Around this same time,  the Historical Society lease was about to expire, The Mitchell County Historical Society saw an opportunity to join in a 28E agreement group planning the Cedar River Recreation and Fine Arts Complex. This would be the answer to "Where do we go with the Museum"? 

The iconic "Old Central" building was rescued from destruction by a newly formed "Cedar Valley Seminary Foundation". On June 24, 2016, the Cedar Valley Seminary (Old Central) was moved to 200 North 7th Street where it stands with dignity. A full restoration and repurposing of The Cedar Valley Seminary, on this beautiful site, welcomes visitors with many gatherings and events today. 


A Grand Opening was held April 24, 2010 for the Cedar River Complex.  The Mitchell County Historical Society Museum was secure in its beautiful new home. The museum is located just inside the main entrance to the Cedar River Complex (which houses the Krapek Family Fine Arts Center and auditorium, fitness center, and swimming pool.). Their mission is collecting, preserving artifacts and telling the story of the Mitchell County lifestyle of past generations. This Accessible Museum consists of two floors full of vintage exhibits and the research library. Displays are often changed, using the local treasures from this extensive collection, to keep the experience fresh. "What you didn't see on your first visit, you may on the next". 

Cedar River Complex, 809 Sawyer Drive, Osage, IA

Museum Hours:    Wednesday -  Saturday - 1 pm to 5 pm

Phone: 641-832-2574