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

New Year's Eve Concert Handbill

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 29, 2017

This handbill is advertising the New Year's Eve concert at Goofy's Upper Deck, Minneapolis in 1981. Goofy's Upper Deck was an important punk rock club of the time. Husker Du and Replacements on the same bill is incredible; it must have been quite the show!

New Year year to all! 

Tangled Christmas lights are the worst

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 28, 2017

Oscar Fryckman (left), city electrical engineer, and Donald R. McReavy, chairman of the Minneapolis Christmas Lighting Committee, disentangling Christmas lights, 1940.

See in Collections Online.

Brown and Bigelow, 1940

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 27, 2017

Christmas itself may be over, but we can still enjoy the lights of the season for awhile longer! This is the Brown and Bigelow building in the Midway lighted for the Christmas season, St. Paul, 1922.

See it in Collections Online

Christmas and New Year's Card, 1922

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 26, 2017

Christmas card made by Rosemary Jemne. Jemne's father, Magnus Jemne, was the architect of the Women's City Club building built at the corner of Kellogg Boulevard and St. Peter Street in St. Paul, Minnesota. Text on the inside of the card reads, "Christmas greetings and every good wish for the New Year / Elsa + Magnus."

See it in Collections Online.

Bank of Good Fortune

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 22, 2017
Christmas card

This Christmas card is in the form of a check drawn from the Bank of Good Fortune. All best to you and yours for this holiday season and the year ahead!  Ca. 1900 - 1909.

Please note that Item of the Day will not be published over the upcoming holidays.

See it in Collections Online.

Mrs. Beasley, the talking doll

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 21, 2017
Mrs. Beasley

Did you know someone who had a Mrs. Beasley? She was extremely popular between 1966 – 1972, due to the TV show Family Affair. This very doll will be on view in our 1968 exhibit, which opens this Saturday, December 23!

See it in Collections Online.

Readying the tree

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 20, 2017
Photo of tree on piano

This photo of a woman happily arranging her tree is from 1954. Does anyone else get the vibe that perhaps this was taken as part of a Halvorson ad campaign? The photographer was Al Heitman, a professional photographer who worked in Minnesota from 1930s – 1970s.

See it in Collections Online.

Dayton's Christmas Windows

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 19, 2017
Crowds looking in windows
window display

Christmas window displays were an eagerly anticipated event at the Dayton's flagship downtown Minneapolis store. One photo is of the huge crowds gathered around the windows in 1923; the other is of the Twelve Days of Christmas window display in 1956. 

See more Christmas window photos in Collections Online.

Runes of the North by Sigurd Olson

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 18, 2017
book cover

Minnesota author Sigurd Olson was a passionate leader in conservation and wilderness preservation, with a particularly strong connection to the Boundary Waters. This book of essays was originally published in 1963, the same year he became vice-president of The Wilderness Society.

Runes of the North by Sigurd Olson. New York: Knopf, 1963.

Victorian Christmas Ornament

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | December 15, 2017

This ornament is made of tinsel and wire in the shape of a woman with an umbrella. She has a molded glass head; the body and umbrella are made of wire covered with tinsel. The manufacturer is unknown; it was used in Minneapolis, circa 1890.

See more ornaments in Collections Online.


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