The History Center of Olmsted County is providing historical content in the most 2020/2021 of ways — Zoom lectures.

The series starts Thursday, Jan. 7, with “New World Opportunities, Old World Skills: The Historic Spangenberg Farmhouse.”

Frederick and Charles Spangenberg built a limestone farmstead in Woodbury that has since been added to the National Registry of Historic Buildings. Series participants will learn about the homes and how the land the Spangenbergs lived on has changed over the years.

Abby Currier, community engagement and events coordinator for the history center, said the center saw a connection between the Stoppel Farmstead and the Spangenberg house in the Twin Cities.

“It’s creating these connections where we have this local history, but there are also these connections outside of the Rochester area,” she said.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Diane Trout-Oertel will join the Zoom call and speak about the unique architectural features of the Spangenberg house.

The Jan. 7 presentation will be the HCOC’s first Zoom lecture. Additional presentations — on historic Rochester homes, Norwegian immigration, health care, and more — are in the works.

“We were really trying to hit a diverse range of topics,” Currier said. “Not everyone’s going to be obsessed with German architecture. I wish they were. It would make my job much easier. So we’re trying to hit as many topics as we can to engage with the widest audience possible.”

Currier is particularly excited for the center’s Feb. 4 lecture on the Confederate vaccination crisis during the Civil War, which she said should be fascinating for viewers today.

Above all, she hopes the series will bring back a bit of the give-and-take between the history center, and its visitors and volunteers.

“These are very interactive-heavy events, and we want our participants to be able to interact with our presenters and learn from them,” Currier said. “We want them to use the chat functions to ask questions and continue to learn that way."

If you go

What: “New World Opportunities, Old World Skills: The Historic Spangenberg Farmhouse"

When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7

Where: Online, hosted by the History Center of Olmsted County

Cost: Free for HCOC members, $5 for non-members. Call 507-282-9447 or email services@olmstedhistory.com to register. See www.facebook.com/OlmstedHistoryCenter for a list of upcoming events.