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

Bike Catalog, 1893

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 13, 2018

It may not be the right season for bikes, but this catalog recently came in and was such a hit with staff that we couldn't wait share it. It is from 1893.
Think warm thoughts! 

Christmas Foshay Tower, 1928

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 12, 2018

The newly finished Foshay Tower, which would be Minneapolis's tallest building for nearly fifty years, is strung with lights and lit up like a Christmas tree in 1928.

Burning of Swede Hollow, 1956

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 11, 2018

On this day in 1956 the dwellings in Swede Hollow, a St. Paul immigrant neighborhood, were burned after the city health department declares them contaminated.

Rally Towel, 2016

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 10, 2018

This Minnesota Vikings playoff rally towel was distributed to fans at the January 10, 2016, game, which was the last playoff game of the 2015 season. It was the final outdoor Vikings game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the coldest kickoff in franchise history. 
Hope the outcome is better tonight!

Holiday Lights, 1941

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 7, 2018

This images is part of the Outdoor Christmas lighting contest, Minneapolis photograph collection, from 1941. That is quite a Snow Santa!


100 Grand National Recipes

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 6, 2018

This cookbook from 1954 collects all the prize winning recipes from the previous year's Grand National Baking Competition, sponsored by Pillsbury. And it was only .25 cents! This and others are available for consultation in the MNHS Library's extensive cookbook collection.

Safety Poster

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 5, 2018

This poster, undated but likely late 1950s, encourages safety for both drivers and pedestrians.

Snowplow, 1940

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 4, 2018

This photograph shows a man operating a motorized snowplow on a sidewalk in 1940, a precursor of today's snow blowers.

Second Day of Hannaukuh

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 3, 2018

This Hanukkah menorah, or chanukiah, was purchased by Mildred Kaplan for her granddaughter Shoshana Moss. Moss continued to use this menorah during Hanukkah in Minnesota through the 1990s. The metal menorah has nine branches, differentiating it from temple menorahs which have seven. It is decorated with two central tablets flanked by lions. The tablets, with Hebrew numerals 1-10, represent the Ten Commandments. The lions represent the Lion of Judah, the symbol of the Jewish tribe of Judah.

Dakota beaded quillwork pipe bag

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | November 30, 2018

This Dakota leather tobacco pouch has an approximate date of 1900. It has vertical quilled rawhide strips attached across its base and a similar beadwork motif on the front and back. 


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