Collections Up Close

collections up close Blog

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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Blue Ribbon

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 28, 2019

Lest we forget how the State Fair started, it was about the animals.
This blue ribbon was awarded for first place for ornamental bantam, which is poultry. Sadly, we do not have a photo of the bird itself.

Milk!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 27, 2019

I don't even like milk but want it when I'm at the Minnesota State Fair!
This "Milk Stand" photo was taken by the Minneapolis Journal in 1924.

State Fair Campaign Poster

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 26, 2019

Politicians shaking hands with constituents at fairs is as old as fairs themselves.  
This poster promoting "Things to do at the Minnesota State Fair" was created by the Paul Wellstone campaign in 2002.

Pete's Food, 1978

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 23, 2019

This photo shows Pete's Food, a dining establishment at the Fair in 1978.
There are times at the Fair when one really appreciates a stool.

Souvenir, 1904

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

This polished brass souvenir badge from 1904 features a sheaf of grain surrounded by farm implements including a plow, rake, and anvil. The insignia likely refers to the Minnesota State Agricultural Society, which governed the Fair. 

Art Show, 1950

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

The Art Show at the Minnesota State Fair sure looks different from this image taken in 1950. Plus it's now in color!
One more day!

The Races!

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

In two short days we will all be off to The Races when the Minnesota State Fair opens!
This postcard show harness racing at the Grandstand during the Fair of 1910.

Longfellow Gardens

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 16, 2019

Closing out Garden Week here on Item of the Day is this postcard of Longfellow Gardens, dated 1905.
Longfellow Gardens are located near Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis.

Garden Hat

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

This women's soft garden hat was worn by Lavinia Gilfillan of Minneapolis, circa 1890s. The cloth hat features a printed design of flowers in a vase on a striped background. 

Garden Chair

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

This outdoor patio chair dates to 1958 - 1963, and boy does it show. I wonder if it's more or less comfortable than it looks?

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