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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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View of the Science Museum, St. Paul, 1938

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | January 11, 2018
old science museum building

The St. Paul Institute of Science and Letters was incorporated on this date in 1907, with Charles W. Ames as its first president. The institute's museum is first located in the Auditorium; then moved to the Merriam mansion on University Avenue; and now dwells in downtown St. Paul, known as the Science Museum of Minnesota. This photo is from 1938, when it was at the Merriam mansion.

See it in Collections Online.

Grant Young Gold Star Roll

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | January 10, 2018

Gold Star Roll file of Private Grant Young of Baldwin, Minnesota. An aviator for the United States Army, Young was honorably discharged prior to America's entry to the war, so he reenlisted in order to serve during World War I. His discharge paper features a stamp of reenlistement at the bottom left hand corner dated January 10th 1918. Young died from pneumonia on October 10th, 1918, exactly nine months after he reenlisted.


Citation: "Young, Grant" Minnesota Public Safety Commission. Gold Star Roll. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. 114.D.7.1B

Minnesota in 1850

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | January 10, 2018
county map

This map,  made by Thomas Cowperthwait & Company, shows the organized counties of Minnesota in 1850.

See it in Collection Online or our map page.

"French Troops Make Sudden Attack on German Lines" and "Hospital Ship is Torpedoed" - The Duluth Herald. January 9, 1918

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | January 9, 2018

Snow pants

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | January 9, 2018

These nylon snow pants were used by Ann Bancroft during the 2000-2001 Bancroft-Arnesen Expedition to Antarctica.

See them in Collections Online.


"War Aims are Stated by Wilson to Solons" and "Peace Negotiations Again Resumed" - Bemidji Daily Pioneer. January 8, 1918.

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | January 8, 2018

Voyageurs National Park

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | January 8, 2018

With support from former governor Elmer L. Andersen and Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr., President Richard Nixon signed the law creating Voyageurs National Park on this day in 1971.

See images of Voyageurs in Collections Online.

"German-American Loyalty" and "Draft Held Constitutional by U.S. Supreme Court" - Rochester Daily Post and Record. January 7, 1918

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | January 7, 2018

"Some Site"

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | January 6, 2018

William K. Fraser was a soldier in the 151st Field Artillery Regiment. In this entry he describes his visit to a vacant town that had been fired on by trench mortars, which were large caliber weapons similar to cannons that left destruction similar to an aerial attack. He describes the shells and shrapnel found at the site and how he took some of the it home with him. Shrapnel was a common souvenir brought back by soldiers.


January 6, '18
Up at 6am. Stayed in camp in morning after dinner went out on gun park. Saw a town vacant, that a trench mortar had fired on, Some site. Trench mortar shells like a aviation bomb. Has wings on. About 8in. shell. After viewing town went on range picked up some shrapnel and pieces of high explosives. Weather rather cool. Walked back at good speed, had fine apetite [sic] for supper. bed 7.30 was raining.

Citation: William K. Fraser Papers, 1917-1919, 1944. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul Minnesota. P1943

"What to Eat and How to Cook It"

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | January 5, 2018

This poster was produced to promote the Patriotic Food Show, put on by the State Council of Defense. The poster boasts the slogan "What to Eat and How to Cook It." Propaganda like this was very common and it was deemed patriotic to change ones diet in order to support the war effort. Individuals and families were advised to eat less meat and use less sugar so that more food could be sent to soldiers overseas. Because of the more limited diet, new foods and recipies were developed to keep meals from becoming boring. Eating 'patriotically' was seen as one of the best ways to support the war on the homefront.