McLean County Museum

~~Welcome to the McLean County Museum~~

We are located in Washburn; the Grandest Little City on the Missouri River.

 In the 600 block of Main Avenue (corner of Main Ave and 6th Street).  

We are delighted that you have chosen to visit our website and hope you have an opportunity to personally visit our museums and historic sites in the Washburn area.

The McLean County Historical Society, organized in 1967, preserves the history of McLean County and North Dakota and shares it with the public in a series of museums located in Washburn, the McLean County seat.  Included in the museums is the building, the Joe Taylor Cabin, the Sioux Ferryboat and the Nettle Creek Schoolhouse.

In November 1968, the Society opened the McLean County Museum in the 1905 Courthouse.  Fred Jefferis and many others collected donated items to be displayed.

In 1969, the Society researched and built Fort Mandan (a replica of where Lewis and Clark wintered in 1804) , west of Washburn. This was the first project of the historical society. Construction of the fort was completed in 1972.  The Society owned and operated the fort until they leased Ft. Mandan to the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Foundation in 1997.  The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department took over the lease in 2015.

The Society has history on Lewis & Clark and Sakakawea, plus a fine display of Indian artifacts and Mclean County history.  The Museum also has many display about McLean County and North Dakota.

Presently the Society maintains the building on Main Avenue in Washburn.  The original museum was named after Fred Jefferis, our first curator.  This building originally was McLean County's second courthouse and it is on the National Register of Historic buildings. It was removed Oct 2021.  The main building was purchased in 1997 and is located on Main Avenue. 

The Joe Taylor Cabin is in the 1000 block of East Main Avenue. The Sioux Ferry is along the Missouri River on Boat Ramp Road as is Nettle Creek School, the one-room schoolhouse. 
Please begin your tour by visiting the main museum building for further directions.
The Mclean County Museum and the Washburn Public Library will be hosting Story hour at the Nettle Creek Schoolhouse on Mondays at 1pm until July 15th.

 Books for Sale

  • Fifty Pioneer Mothers of McLean County North Dakota by Mary A. Barnes Williams ($15.00)
  • Pioneer Days of Washburn and Vicinity (Books One and Two) by Mary A. Barnes Williams ($10.00)
  • Homestead Memories on Buffalo Paunch Creek...The Story of North Dakota Pioneers, Lorentz and Martha Lorentzen and family by Yvonne Lorentzen McGuire (15.00)
  • Daddy was an Artist...The Story of North Dakota's Pioneer Artist, Henry Lorentzen, and his wife Grace by Yvonne Lorentzen McGuire ($10.00)
  • Centennial Celebration -100 Years 1905-2005 Turtle Lake ($25.00)
  • Tracing your Dakota Roots: A Guide to Genealogical Research in the Dakotas by JoAnn B Winistorfer and Cathy A Langemo ($25.00)
 Museum Season: May-October Hours:  
Monday to Friday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Saturday: 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Nettle Creek Story hour with the Library starts in June.
Open by appointment during winter months or after hours.
Admission: Free-will Donations
Facebook: McLean County Historical Society
Curator: Rhonda Johnson 
2023-24 McLean County Historical Society Board members:
President - Cody Meadows
Vice-President - Dan Wicklander
Secretary - Val Hetletved
Treasurer - Dick Bickert
Director - Jenell Olson

Contact Info

Rhonda Johnson


McLean County Museum
602 Main AvenueWashburn, ND 58577

Please leave a message if no answer on the phone.