Item of the Day

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Collecting pieces of Minnesota's past for the future

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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

Remember

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 30, 2019

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Gerry Spiess of White Bear Lake on Friday, June 28. He built and sail the "Yankee Girl", a 10 ft. sailboat of plywood and fiberglass, for his successful one-man trip across the Atlantic in  1979. Spiess later sailed across the Pacific in the same vessel. Attached to or stored in the sailboat's interior are items including a wooden boom with mainsail and 2-part aluminum mast, radio and communication equipment. 
Spiess donated the boat to MNHS in 1984.

Locust Map, 1870s

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 29, 2019

This map of Minnesota shows where eggs were deposited by the Rocky Mountain locust in 1873 - 1876. It was published for the State Geological & Natural History Survey. 

Learn more about the Grasshopper Plagues in MNopedia.

Commemorative Stonewall "wall"

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 28, 2019

Happy Pride!

This wall is made up of twenty cardboard blocks. Each block has text that suggests some incident or event in the Minnesota LBGTQ+ community, such as "Supporting our youth", "St. Paul Referendum", or "Terry Knutson Murder."
It was created for a 1989 rally at the state capitol called: "St. Paul: Celebrating the Struggle." In addition to speeches, the program was augmented by this symbolic wall built by a woman named Pat Saltness. Members of the audience were encouraged to decorate the wall with stories of their own personal journeys.
 

Summer by the Lake

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 27, 2019

This photo taken by Charles Chamblis shows people relaxing in lawn chairs by Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun) in 1985.

Bloomers!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 26, 2019

On this day in 1851, a young woman wearing "bloomers," or Turkish-style pants, stepped onto the St. Paul levee. She created quite a sensation, with James M. Goodhue, editor of the Minnesota Pioneer, noting that "the girl looked remarkably well, as far as we could see." Thus Amelia Bloomer, who on the East Coast was attempting to reform the style of women's clothing, made her influence known in the Midwest. 

Sadly we don't have a photo from that event, but we do have this Munsingwear bloomer box, circa 1928 - 1932.

Lawn Chair

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 25, 2019

Did everyone's grandparents have these?

This is a steel lawn chair, with a a molded back resembling a seashell and curved tubular arms terminating in "U."

It dates to between 1935 - 1960.

Stonewall Means...

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 21, 2019

This button is part of our "Stonewall's Legacy" exhibit currently in the Library Lobby. The Stonewall riots, which started fifty years ago on June 28, 1969, erupted following a police raid targeting the gay community at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. While not the beginning of the LGBTQ+ Rights movement, it was a major milestone through which the rest of society finally took notice.   

This button was created sometime after 1969 and 1984, when it was donated; the exact date is unknown. 

Steamer Mississippi, 1920

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 20, 2019

This photograph is of the Steamer Mississippi, on the Mississippi River, in 1920.

Steamer Mississippi, 1920

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 20, 2019

This photograph is of the Steamer Mississippi, on the Mississippi River, in 1920.

Steamer Mississippi, 1920

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 20, 2019

This photograph is of the Steamer Mississippi, on the Mississippi River, in 1920.

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