The WCHS’ Food For Thought program series celebrates 20 years


The Winona County Historical Society (WCHS) introduced the first Food For Thought program in February 1998. Twenty years and over 500 free programs and book chats later, the series is still going strong.

Food For Thought offers a break from your daily lunchtime routine. Bring your lunch and grab a seat to be entertained and educated over your lunch hour. Various speakers enlighten you on a wide range of topics while you enjoy a recharge and change of pace. Several are scheduled each month on Wednesdays and begin at 12:05 p.m. On every fourth Wednesday of the month is the special Food For Thought Book Chat where a book is discussed and led by Audrey Gorny and Carolyn Goplen.

Back in its early days, you could order a boxed lunch through WCHS, but without enough takers on the lunch orders that service was dropped. The quality programs kept coming, and you are still welcome to bring your own lunch while a beverage is provided. During the cold winter months WCHS offers several choices of coffee (decaf and regular), hot cocoa, and a variety of teas. As the weather warms up, cold beverages will be offered.

These free educational programs are open to all those who eat and learn. You do not have to bring a lunch along though — just feed your mind. Either way the WCHS says this fun, engaging and educational opportunity will continue for, hopefully, many more decades to come! Like its slogan says, “History never stops … nor does learning.”

Upcoming Food For Thought events
Lessons from the Back Roads: The Best of the Best, with John Weiss, on 
February 21 at 12:05 p.m.

“John Weiss was the best known name and face of the Post Bulletin outside the city limits of Rochester. John put the folks and places that we see everyday, but somehow overlook, into focus. John broadened our definition of neighbor and friend. I think it’s fair to say that we all learned a lot traveling the back roads with John. I know I did,” said former Post-Bulletin Editor and current Newspaper in Education Coordinator Randi Kallas. Attendees will hear about how Weiss compiled these local stories for this new book and his adventures along the way. He will have books to purchase.

A book chat on “Pope Joan,” by Donna Cross, on 
February 28 at 12:05 p.m. 

For a thousand years her existence has been denied. She is the legend that will not die: Pope Joan, the ninth-century woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female ever to sit on the throne of St. Peter. Now in this riveting novel, Cross paints a sweeping portrait of an unforgettable heroine who struggles against restrictions her soul cannot accept. ( book description.)

Winona Symphony Orchestra: celebrating 110 years, with Tim Hornseth, on 
March 7 at 12:05 p.m.

The Winona Symphony Orchestra was founded by Carl Ruggles in 1908. Board member Tim Hornseth will trace the history of the symphony orchestra through its 110-year history. Then, join the spring anniversary concert on March 24 at 7:30 at Somsen Hall in the Harriet Johnson Auditorium. Tickets to the concert are $15. Learn more at

Find more program schedules and learn more about the Winona County Historical Society at or call 507-454-2723. You can also stay up to date and connected to WCHS and your local history by following the Winona County Historical Society on Facebook, signing up for its e-news, and by becoming a WCHS member!


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