Item of the Day

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Collecting pieces of Minnesota's past for the future


The Minnesota Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of materials chronicling Minnesota's history and culture. The goals of the Collections Department are to collect and preserve; provide access and interpretation; and engage in education and outreach. This blog is a tool to share these stories and let people know what is happening in the department.

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Item of the Day

Louise Erdrich!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 27, 2020

The theme this week has been time. Given that and it's still Women's History Month, let's highlight the wonderful Louise Erdrich!
She has been writing for over 40 years and has created so many wonderful works it's hard to pick one. Since that is the case we'll default to her debut novel, "Love Medicine." It was published in 1984 and features the interconnected stories of five Ojibwe families. The book earned critical as well as public praise, and several awards.


By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 26, 2020

The theme this week is time.
This piece is titled "Time," but note what it says on the upper left side: "The Balance of Time."
It is a digital pigment print by Lou Ferreri, circa 2013.

Time for Love

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 25, 2020

Our theme for Item of the Day this week is time.

This charming bronze sculpture, of a woman cradling a child, is entitled "Time for Love." 
It stands about 16 inches high and was created by Evelyn Raymond in 1969.

Pocket Watch

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 24, 2020

The theme this week is time. What is more emblematic of time than a pocket watch?
This pocket watch and winding key was carried by E.W. Plummer during the Civil War, 1861 - 1865.


By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 23, 2020

This woodcut, created between 1966 -1969, is entitled "Spring." Indeed, it is what all of the trees around us look like now, but not for long! Also, note the vaguely greenish ground: it will come. The artist who created this is Eugene Larkin.

Emma Brock

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 20, 2020

As part of Women's History Month, we want to take a look at some important women authors. This week's author is Emma Brock. Born in Montana in 1886, she moved to Fort Snelling in 1904. She wrote and illustrated over 30 books for children over her long career. A contemporary of Wanda Gag, she explained her career choice by simply stating: “I am interested in children.”
This book, "Kristie's Buttercup," was published in 1952.

Map from Influenza Committee

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 19, 2020

This map shows the central and sectional headquarters for the Citizens' Influenza Committee. It was published in Saint Paul by McGill-Warner Co., 1917.

Influenza mask

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 18, 2020

This American Red Cross influenza mask bundles and bag were made by Saint Paul Red Cross volunteers at the request of the United States Army. They were for use in Minnesota training camps and by the general population during the Spanish influenza pandemic, 1918-1919.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 17, 2020

Although this year's holiday may not be the most festive, there's always next year! 
This button is from the 1969 Saint Patrick's Day Parade in Saint Paul. 

Teacher Strike

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 16, 2020

Saint Paul students will return to school today, now that the teachers' strike is over. This strike was the first in Saint Paul since 1946, when the fight was for equal pay for men and women. 
This photo is from the 1946 strike. It lasts over a month and was the first organized teachers’ strike in the country!
Thank you to teachers and all those who work with students!


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