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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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Valentine

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day!
This Valentine postcard was given to Chester Bruvold of Minneapolis, circa 1920.

Still Life With Roses

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 13, 2020

Today's Item of the Day is a gentle reminder that Valentine's Day is tomorrow. 
It is an oil on canvas painting of roses by Reathel Keppen, created in 1939 as part of the Works Progress Administration.

"The Stars and the Blackness Between Them"

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 12, 2020

Happy Black History Month! Throughout February we will feature as Item of the Day books in our collections written by African Americans across many genres.
Today's book is by Junauda Petrus, a creative activist, writer, playwright, and multi-dimensional performance artist who is Minneapolis-born, West-Indian descended, and African-sourced.

This book is up for a Minnesota Book Award this year.

Pen Wiper

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 11, 2020

Given that Valentine's Day is later this week, we've been thinking about love letters, and therefore pens. While this may not be romantic it is interesting; an American flag pen wiper used by Nancy Hall Neill during the Civil War, 1861 - 1865. Note the flag has 35 stars on a blue canton and is tied to a wooden support. Pen wipers were used to clean ink from a pen while writing so it would remain in good working order.

"Alan and his Perfectly Pointy Impossibly Perpendicular Pinky"

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 7, 2020

Happy Black History Month!
Throughout February we will feature as Item of the Day books in our collections written by African Americans across many genres.
Today's pick is the children's book "Alan and his Perfectly Pointy Impossibly Perpendicular Pinky," written by Justice Alan Page and his daughter Kamie Page in 2013.
In addition to being a children's author, Justice Page formerly served on the Minnesota Supreme Court and played for the Vikings.

Dress, 1890s

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 6, 2020

This is a pearl gray brocade satin dress, made by dressmaker Mrs. George F. Hall of St. Paul, circa 1890.
See more like this in our Minnesota Dressmakers page! 
 

1950s Coffeemaker

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 5, 2020

This is a Sunbeam Coffeemaster Model 30A vacuum drip coffee pot with electric heating element. 
It consists of two bulbous chrome aluminum pots that may be joined together, the upper for grounds and hot water, the lower to receive the coffee.
Not sure how good the coffee was, but it certainly looks classy. 

Minnesota Landmarks

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 4, 2020

This block print, titled "Minnesota Landmarks," was made by Gretchen Quie in 1982. 
Quie was both an artist and arts advocate, as well as the First Lady of Minnesota from 1979 - 1983.

How many landmarks do you recognize?

"South of Freedom"

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 3, 2020

Happy Black History Month!
Throughout February we will feature as Item of the Day books in our collections written by African Americans across many genres. 
Today is South of Freedom written by Carl Rowan in 1952.  Rowan, then a young African American journalist from Minneapolis, journeyed six thousand miles through the South to report on the reality of everyday life for blacks in the region.

 

Vulcan Coat

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | January 31, 2020

As the Saint Paul Winter Carnival comes to its end this weekend with the triumph of the Vulcans over King Boreas and winter, let's hope spring will follow before too long!
This wool 'Flame' coat was worn by Howard Christensen, who served as Vulcanus Rex XXI in 1968.

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