New, Interactive eBook and Free Passes Make History Exciting for Minnesota 6th Graders

For immediate release

Release dated: 
August 27, 2014
Media contacts: 

Laura Weber, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3039,
Joanna Danks, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3149,

Quick facts: 

Reporter access to Northern Lights eBook and print samples through contacts above.

New, Interactive eBook and Free Passes Make History Exciting for Minnesota 6th Graders

Minnesota Historical Society’s award-winning “Northern Lights” textbook debuts as an eBook

This school year, all Minnesota sixth graders will study the state’s history, in accordance with state social studies standards adopted in May 2013. The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) is making history education more exciting and accessible with new tools and opportunities aimed at enhancing learning for sixth graders, both inside and outside the classroom.

In addition to ongoing field trips to historic sites and museums, teacher workshops and the state’s successful National History Day in Minnesota program, MNHS has produced a new, interactive history eBook and a program that offers all sixth graders free admission to its historic sites and museums.

Northern Lights interactive eBook

This year, a new, interactive history eBook is debuting in Minnesota sixth grade classrooms. More than 7,200 e-books were ordered prior to the start of school. Titled Northern Lights: The Story of Minnesota’s Past and written by Dave Kenney, the eBook joins the printed textbook by the same name and author. The award-winning textbook was initially offered in 1989 and is now in its revised second edition with more than 26,500 copies sold in 2013. Both digital and print copies include curriculum on history, civics, economics and geography, as well as enriched American Indian content and new information on pre-contact, World War I and late 20th century history.

“With more and more classrooms turning to digital resources, we wanted to ensure that Minnesota’s teachers and students had access to a fully digital, interactive way to experience history,” said Wendy Jones, director of education. The Northern Lights eBook is accessible via iPads, PCs, Macs and Chromebooks and includes an introductory video for each chapter, audio, interactive maps, animations, primary source images and embedded links to additional web resources.

6th Grade MN History Pass

All Minnesota sixth graders are eligible to receive a 6th Grade MN History Pass from MNHS. The pass gives Minnesota sixth graders free admission to all 26 MNHS historic sites and museums during non-school hours for the entire year that the student is a sixth grader. The pass is good for an unlimited number of visits. Parents, guardians and educators can request passes at or at MNHS historic sites and museums. The pass does not apply to field trips or to guests accompanying a sixth grader.

“Minnesota has about 70,000 sixth graders, and we can think of nothing better than welcoming each and every one of them to our historic sites and museums all year long,” said Lory Sutton, chief marketing officer. “Visiting the places where history happened is a powerful way to enhance classroom learning, while having a great time with your friends and family.”

About MNHS

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.

Select education programs are made possible by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008. MNHS is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.