Runestone Museum is at 206 Broadway St. The Kensington Runestone on display was found on the farm of Olaf Ohman in 1898; runic carvings on the stone depict the tragic journey of a band of medieval Norsemen in 1362. Scholars have both affirmed and recanted the stone's authenticity, and controversy persists over who created the artifact as well as when it was carved.
Among the numerous exhibits are a Viking age home inhabited by realistic-looking figures wearing authentic clothing; adjacent to it is a life-size oil painting of a Viking family. Wooden objects used by Scandinavian pioneers reflect the tough living conditions of that era. In the annex is a 40-foot replica of a Viking age ocean-going ship. The museum also has a comprehensive display of Minnesota wildlife, a collection of Ojibwe and Dakota Indian beaded clothing and accessories, a Cheyenne-style tipi and an interactive play area for children.
Fort Alexandria is a replica of the 1862 stockade built to protect settlers after the Dakota Conflict. The fort includes a church and stagecoach stop, a trading post, a blacksmith shop, a one-room schoolhouse and a Norwegian immigrant log home, all furnished to reflect 19th-century pioneer life. Across the street stands a huge statue of Big Ole the Viking.