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

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.

Kuempel Clock Works advertising card

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 11, 2019

Daylight Savings Time started this weekend! Therefore we are featuring this odd advertising card for Kuempel Chime Clock Works and Studio of Excelsior, circa 1965. Are we to meant to understand that their clocks are as reliable as the sea? Or is that the North Shore?

St. Paul Political Equality Club banner

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 8, 2019

Happy International Women's Day! In honor of the day we share one of our favorite Suffrage banners from the collection. This was created and used by the St. Paul Political Equality Club circa 1920.

Hockey Stick Pamphlet

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 7, 2019

The Boys High School Hockey Tournament is underway! This folded paper pamphlet is advertising for Christian Brothers Hockey Sticks based in Warroad, 1965.

Untitled, 1957

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | March 6, 2019

Although better known for his work as a sculptor, this mixed-media collage was created by John Rood in 1957. It features clippings from newspapers, pamphlets and maps.


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