Gibbs Farm: Pathways to Dakota and Pioneer Life
Gibbs Farm is a historic site where visitors can learn about 1800s Dakota and early Minnesota farm life. It was originally a homestead owned by Jane and Heman Gibbs, who settled at this location in 1849. The oldest structure at the museum is the farmhouse, which was built in 1854. Other buildings include the original white barn where animals were cared for, a one-room schoolhouse moved here from western Minnesota, and a red barn used for educational programs. The farm was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It became a museum in 1954 after the Ramsey County Historical Society bought it in 1949. The museum also features a tipi and replica bark lodge that help to tell the story of the Dakota people of Cloud Man's Village. Field trips offered May through October are the primary program of this site. Summer camps, adult orientated programs, and public hours are also offered. More information can be found on their website listed below.
Gibbs Farm Logo
Backstory and Context
Jane first visited the land now known as Minnesota as a child in 1835, living with her missionary family among the Dakota of Ḣeyate Otuŋwe (Cloud Man’s Village). The friendships she built with this community endured long after her family left the village and traveled back east. In 1849, Jane and her husband decided to settle in the newly established Minnesota Territory. Shortly thereafter, the couple encountered Dakota crossing their land. It was discovered that they were Jane’s friends from Cloud Man’s Village. For years afterward, the Dakota visited the Gibbs family each fall, setting up camp at the farm before heading north to harvest wild rice.
This amicable relationship, a positive example of cross-cultural cooperation, adds a special dimension to Gibbs Farm programming. While most farm-based field trips are grounded in 19th century pioneer life and agriculture, Gibbs Farm programming centers on women’s history and Dakota culture, building on the historic connections between Jane Gibbs and the people of Cloud Man’s Village. RCHS worked with Dakota Elders and Culture Bearers to develop Gibbs Farm’s Dakota program and it continues to be guided by Dakota advisors today.
Ramsey County Historical Society, "Gibbs Farm," Accessed February 22, 2023, http://www.rchs.com/gibbs-farm.
Ramsey County Historical Society, "Gibbs Farm: Our Story," Accessed February 22, 2023, https://rchs.com/gibbs-farm/our-story/rchs-gibbs-history.
David W. Nystuen & Thomas Lutz, "Gibbs Farm," National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, April 23, 1975, https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/8edc68c1-fa01-44d7-9b62-b00b6733d723.