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

Presidential Campaign Button

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 2, 2019

It's Hispanic Heritage Month!
This is a Presidential campaign button for Hubert H. Humphrey's 1968 run. It reads "Puerto Rico is always with" in Spanish. 

Quinceañera Decoration

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 1, 2019

It's Hispanic Heritage Month!
This is a hand-cut and decorated Styrofoam decoration for a quinceañera, which is a party held in celebration of a young woman's 15th birthday. The decoration was cut with a hot knife to include the silhouette of a crescent moon, a young woman in profile, and other floral and leaf-shaped motifs. It was sold by the artist at Our Lady Of Guadalupe Church in the West Side neighborhood of Saint Paul, Minnesota, circa 1999.

Quinceañera Decoration

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | October 1, 2019

It's Hispanic Heritage Month!
This is a hand-cut and decorated Styrofoam decoration for a quinceañera, which is a party held in celebration of a young woman's 15th birthday. The decoration was cut with a hot knife to include the silhouette of a crescent moon, a young woman in profile, and other floral and leaf-shaped motifs. It was sold by the artist at Our Lady Of Guadalupe Church in the West Side neighborhood of Saint Paul, Minnesota, circa 1999.

Lideres Latinos Oral History Project

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

It's Hispanic Heritage Month!
Today we are highlighting our Lideres Latinos Oral History Project. The Latino population of Minnesota has grown dramatically since 1980, and in particular during the period from 1990 to the present. The Latino community is one of the largest and most important in the state, and is particularly noteworthy because its growth has not been confined to the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
Learn more here.

Autumn in the Valley

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

It's autumn in art week!
I am a fan of images of hay. This watercolor was created by Henry James Bukowski in 1936 as part of the Works Progress Administration.
It (and other WPA art in the collection) has got one of the more complicated credit lines: Collection Minnesota Historical Society. Lent by the Fine Arts Collection, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration. Gift of the Ah-Gwah-Ching Archive. 

Autumn Hillside Study

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

It's autumn in art week!
This oil painting by James Burpee was created in 2003.

After Summer

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | September 24, 2019

This woodcut was made by Charles Beck, circa 1980.  The abstract autumn scene is in ochres and oranges and features a small grove of trees surrounded by the rolling hills and farm fields.

Blue Jeans Plus

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | September 23, 2019

These patchworked blue jeans include multiple fabric types including velveteen, floral printed cotton hopsacking, corduroy, cotton shirts and India prints. Some of the patches are embellished with brush-on glitter and others are pinned with safety pins. They were created and worn in Minneapolis between 1968 - 1975.

Oberholtzer's Violin

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

At the heart of all his activities, Ober loved canoe camping. He enjoyed traveling the Boundary Waters, setting up camp, cooking over the campfire, and sleeping under the canvas. Ober kept journals of all his canoe trips and the people he traveled with. He always brought his camera along, and his violin. Ober played violin into the night, singing to the wilderness, or sometimes just a short tune to remember by.  

The Ernest C. Oberholtzer exhibit in the library lobby highlights items Ober brought with him on his canoe trips, including his violin, on loan from The Oberholtzer Foundation. To see these  and other items, visit the Gale Family Reference Library Lobby display now on view!  

Oberholtzer's Oral Histories

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | September 17, 2019

The MNHS has an Ernest Oberholtzer oral history collection. In it Oberholtzer reminisces about all facets of his life and career: his explorations in northern Minnesota; his opposition to lumbering and damming operations in the Rainy Lakes area by Edward W. Backus and others; the Quetico-Superior program; the Shipstead-Newton-Nolan Bill passed by the U.S. Congress in 1930, which set aside public lands in the present Superior National Forest; other aspects of conservation in northern Minnesota and elsewhere; Ojibwe Indian culture and stories; and many related topics.  The Ediphone that belonged to Ober is now on view in the Library Lobby; Ober would use it when conducting his own interviews. 

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