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

Ukrainian Easter Eggs

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

This photo from the Norton & Peel collection shows a woman painting Ukrainian Easter eggs, 1968.

See it in Collections Online.

Maude Kegg, basketmaker and author

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 29, 2018

This photo is of Maude Kegg with wiigob for basketmaking, Mille Lacs, 1947. It was taken by Monroe Killy.

Maude Kegg, or Naawakamigookwe (Middle of the Earth Lady), was a renowned Ojibwe artist, writer, and cultural preservationist. She was born near Portage Lake in 1904 and was an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. She wrote several books recounting Ojibwe life and stories and, in later years, she worked as an interpreter at the Mille Lacs Indian Museum & Trading Post. Kegg is perhaps best known for her beautiful beadwork.

Learn more about her and Ojibwe history.

Minneapolis Promotional Postcard

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 28, 2018

"Minneapolis, Minn., where I'm located you can easily see. Now please get busy and write to me."

While it's a cute rhyme, it doesn't look much like Minneapolis except for the word...

This card is from 1913.

See it in Collections Online.

Night Watchman

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 27, 2018

This lithograph is called "Night Watchman;" it was created by Mike Lynch and is undated.

See it in Collections Online.

Student Activism

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 23, 2018

This photo is of students urging voters to vote for the school funding issue in February 25, 1964 election.

Frances Densmore

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 22, 2018

Ethnologist, musician, and author Frances Densmore was born in Red Wing, Minnesota in 1867. Her professional interest was in Native American music; she spent her life traveling the country and recording on wax cylinders nearly 2,500 songs of the Dakota, Ojibwe, and other tribes. Her recordings are preserved at the Smithsonian; her papers are at MNHS. These images are of one of the books she authored and a gramophone she used to make recordings dated 1897.

See her papers in the Library.

Ojibwe Birchbark Flower

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 21, 2018

This flower is made of thread and birchbark. It was made by Dawn Norton-DeVeau of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, circa 2010. 

See it in Collections Online.

Wild Flowers

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 20, 2018

This is a photo of wild flowers, taken by C.J. Hibbard in 1922. It is part of the Norton & Peel archive. 
Happy Spring!

Echoes of Erin Dance Costume

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 16, 2018

This is a women's dance costume for "Echoes of Erin: To Henry Cowell", which premiered May 7, 1955, at the Minneapolis Young Women's Christian Association. It was designed and made by Robert Moulton, and worn by Gertrude Lippincott of Minnesota. Lippincott was a prominent dancer, choreographer and teacher.

Watch the video to learn more about the Lippincott collection, its conservation, and associated manuscript collection here at MNHS.

And Happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow!

Sister Elizabeth Kenny and Treatment for Polio

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 15, 2018

Sister Elizabeth Kenny discovered a revolutionary treatment for infantile paralysis and devoted her life to its dissemination. After her ideas were rejected on the coasts, she came to Minnesota in 1940 and worked with doctors at the Mayo Clinic, opening her own Sister Kenny Institute in 1942. Her revolutionary methods went against traditional treatments for polio and urged that the stricken limbs be exercised; this procedure opened the modern-day era of physical therapy.

This photo of Sister Kenny at work is from 1945.

Learn more in MNHS Library.


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