Sustainability

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Introduction

Responsible stewardship is at the core of the Minnesota Historical Society’s mission. Through preserving, sharing and connecting, MNHS uses the power of history to transform lives. More for the Mission is MNHS’ innovative sustainability program that builds on the MNHS mission. By focusing on environmental data, More for the Mission helps MNHS reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve energy and reduce costs, ensuring that MNHS can continue to provide high­quality programs for future generations.

Cultural Heritage Storage

MNHS Earns Prestigious Grant to Extend Life of Cultural Heritage Collection

For immediate release

Release dated: 
August 27, 2015
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lauren Peck, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3137, lauren.peck@mnhs.org

MNHS Earns Prestigious Grant to Extend Life of Cultural Heritage Collection

Grant to improve storage for delicate film, slides and other media while reducing energy use

The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) is pleased to announce a major grant award from the National Endowment for the Humanities to implement energy-efficient ways to protect the audiovisual material in the collections.

The grant of $250,000 will be used to upgrade the mechanical equipment and optimize the temperature and humidity in the existing cold storage area, helping to preserve a large audiovisual collection, including 3.7 million feet of film, as well as thousands of oral history interviews, 200,000 photographs, 1.5 million negatives and 97,000 microfilm reels of newspapers, manuscripts and state government records. The new cold storage area will help extend the life of these delicate materials by four times their current life span. At the same time, MNHS will reduce its energy use dramatically, resulting in an expected savings of $16,000 a year.

Shengyin Xu, Sustainability & Capital Projects Manager, said “the sizable cost savings coupled with the ability to extend the life of these invaluable artifacts, makes this a very important grant.”

MNHS expects to start the upgrade in 2018.

The collections are available to researchers through the Gale Family Library and to the public through exhibits, print publications and online.

MNHS is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history. Visit us at www.mnhs.org.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.

Kelley Farm Revitalization

Kelley Farm: Lead Release

For immediate release

Release dated: 
February 18, 2014
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lory Sutton, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3140, lory.sutton@mnhs.org

Kelley Farm: Lead Release

State’s Historic Kelley Farm in Need of Renovation, Expansion
$10.5 million legislative request would help to tell Minnesota’s farm stories statewide

St. Paul, Minn. - The Minnesota Historical Society is asking the state Legislature to support a $10.5 million capital budget request to fund a much needed renovation and expansion of the Oliver H. Kelley Farm in Elk River so it can better serve students, teachers, tourists and Minnesota families with meaningful, hands-on experiences.

Located along the Mississippi River just northwest of the Twin Cities, the Kelley Farm welcomes nearly 30,000 visitors a year, including 15,000 students on field trips from more than 60 Minnesota school districts across the state. A National Historic Landmark, it operates as a working 1860s farm on the homestead of Oliver H. Kelley, founder of the first successful national farming organization, the Grange.

“The Kelley Farm provides a unique opportunity for young learners to understand first-hand what is meant by farm-to-table agriculture” said MNHS CEO and Director Steve Elliott. “The ongoing development of agriculture and its importance to the state of Minnesota and to today’s global economy is a story too few children understand.”

Each year the farm is forced to turn away field trips for 4,000 students due to space limitations and outdated facilities. The $10.5 million capital budget request will create a visitor center and help build programs to accommodate the growing number of Minnesotans coming to learn about farming and food in the past, present and future.

Oliver H. Kelley Farm Revitalization Plan

The plan includes:

  • Tripling the size of the aging visitor center to include expanded exhibit and public program space, engaging classrooms, a teaching kitchen and modern restrooms. In addition, the building will feature updated technology, including videoconferencing and internet access that will enable the farm's programming to reach schools throughout Minnesota, making the farm an extension of our state's classrooms.
  • Overhauled maintenance support areas, a "guest animal shelter" for visiting livestock, and a multi-purpose shelter to serve as a community rental space and lunch area for school children.
  • Expanded programming offered year-round to serve Minnesota's families and schools, as well as tourists.
  • Environmentally sustainable features that will keep operating and maintenance costs at nearly current levels despite the proposed expansion.

With new investment, the Kelley Farm will be able to serve even more students, teachers, tourists and Minnesota families each year as they learn about Minnesota’s leading role in the history of agriculture and how it reaches every part of our lives today, from the clothing we wear, to the fuel we use in our cars, to the food we eat.

About the Minnesota Historical Society

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. The Society collects, preserves, and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, the Society preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.

Images

Sustainability Images

For immediate release

Release dated: 
August 20, 2015

Sustainability Images

Film in the MNHS cold storage facility

Extending the life of artifacts is the goal of a cold storage project funded in part by an NEH planning grant. By restructuring and upgrading the mechanical systems, MNHS has determined ways to extend the life of very delicate film materials by four times its current expected life projection, while also saving $16,000 a year in energy costs.

Download high-res image (10.41 MB)

New LED light fixtures in "Then Now Wow" gallery at the Minnesota History Center

The Minnesota History Center in St. Paul has reduced energy usage by 50% over the six year period from 2008 to 2014,reducing annual costs by more than $300,000.

Download high-res image (11.56 MB)

Food waste from Cafe Minnesota is recycled into safe food supply for local pig farms.

Greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced across the institution through expanded use of recycling bins and innovative waste recycling programs. For example, the History Center's Cafe Minnesota partners with Barthold Recycling, which picks up food waste and processes it into a safe food supply for local pig farms. Since 2009, 150 tons of food waste has been diverted from the landfill.

Download high-res image (9.94 MB)

Rendering of new Oliver Kelley Farm visitor center

The new Oliver Kelley Farm visitor center, slated to open in spring 2017, will incorporate sustainable features that will keep the operating and maintenance costs at nearly current levels, despite plans to triple the size of the current visitor center. In addition, the new visitor center will be LEED Gold certified.

Download high-res image (5.36 MB)

Historic Fort Snelling Upper Post

"Re-use of historic and older buildings, greening the existing building stock, and reinvestment in older and historic communities, is crucial to combating climate change." National Trust for Historic Preservation

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