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

March Kites

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

This watercolor called "March Kites" was created by Minnesota artist Faith Miriam McNaughton Lowell between 1970 and 1975.
Hooray Spring!

Spring Coat

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 22, 2019

There are several surprising things about this woman's spring coat. It's made of bark cloth (which is exactly what you'd guess) and dates to between 1920 - 1930, not the 1960s! The coat retailed at J.M. Gidding & Company of Duluth. 

Spring Waterfall

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

This photo shows the spring thaw at St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, 1956.

"Spring Thaw"

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

This oil painting by Fred C. Anderson is called "Spring Thaw." It was created in 2009.

Ojibwe "snake game" pieces

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 19, 2019

These two groups of sticks, four long and nine short, were used for playing the snake game, an Ojibwe game of chance. The game was played by dropping the four long sticks on a blanket and awarding points based on how they landed. The short sticks were used to keep score. This particular set was used between 1900 – 1932.

Margaret Culkin Banninng

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 18, 2019

Margaret Culkin Banning was born on this day in 1891 in Buffalo, MN. She would move to Duluth and become an author of over 30 books, largely dealing with women's roles, early feminism, and politics in novel form. This book "Spellbinders" was published in 1922; the four "spellbinders" in the book are women who undertake to organize other women to participate in politics.

Badge of the Irish

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 15, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day Weekend! 
This is a ribbon badge from the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Minnesota. It consists of a gold framed pin showing the American and Irish flags along with green cloth backing that has been folded to resemble a shamrock. The Ancient Order of Hibernians is an Irish Catholic fraternal organization. It was used between 1900 - 1950.

Sawyer House, Stillwater, 1905

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 14, 2019

On this day in 1924 the last guest checks out of Stillwater's historic Sawyer House, which had operated as a hotel for sixty-seven years. The Lowell Inn was later built on the same site. This postcard is from 1905.

Dress, circa 1900 - 1902

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 13, 2019

This two-piece dress of black floral lace over white silk taffeta was professionally made by unknown dressmaker in Saint Paul, sometime between 1900 - 1902.

ERA Button

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 12, 2019

This button was created in support of the proposed ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1982. The ERA's goal was to ensure equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex. At one point in 1977 the amendment had 35 of the necessary 38 state's ratification, but it failed to become law due to some states withdrawing support and then the passing of deadlines. This issue has come up again in the 2019 Minnesota Legislature, but not on the federal level.


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