December Events, Classes and Exhibits

For immediate release

Release dated: 
October 15, 2014
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen • Marketing and Communications • 651-259-3148 • jessica.kohen@mnhs.org

Megan Lawson • Marketing and Communications • 651-259-3141 • megan.lawson@mnhs.org

December Events, Classes and Exhibits

Monday, Dec. 1

Holiday Toy Drive
Minnesota History Center345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul
Bring the joy of the holidays to a child. Donate a toy and you'll receive one free admission to the Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s exhibit at the Minnesota History Center or one admission voucher at Creative Kidstuff. You'll also get a voucher for 25 percent off one item at Creative Kidstuff. To Participate: Drop off a new, unwrapped toy at the History Center or any of six metro-area Creative Kidstuff locations.Valid Nov. 7-Dec. 21. Limit 2 admissions or vouchers per household. This program is a partnership with Creative Kidstuff, KARE 11 and the Star Tribune.
Phone:651-259-3000
Time:Donations accepted during regular business hours.
Fee:Toys accepted at the History Center or any of 6 metro-area Creative Kidstuff locations.
Also Dec. 2-21

Wednesday, Dec. 3

A Victorian Christmas at the Ramsey House
Alexander Ramsey House265 S. Exchange St., St. Paul
Experience the sights, sounds and tastes of a Victorian Christmas in 1875. During the tour, visitors can taste homemade cookies fresh from the wood burning stove, listen to popular holiday music of the era played on the family’s Steinway piano and view original family ornaments and Christmas gifts. Discover how the Ramsey family and their friends, neighbors and servants prepared for and celebrated the Christmas season. Shop in the Carriage House gift store for replica Victorian ornaments and holiday items. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Phone:651-296-8760
Time:10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, noon to 3:30 p.m. Sundays
Fee:$11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $7 ages 6-17; $3 discount for MNHS members.
Reservations: required; call 651-259-3015 or register online
Also Dec. 4-7, 10-14, 17-21, 24, 26-28 and 31

Saturday, Dec. 6

Hill House Holidays
James J. Hill House240 Summit Ave., St. Paul
The bustle and excitement of a Gilded Age Christmas is brought to life as the servants of the James J. Hill House prepare for the holidays. Costumed actors portray people who worked for the Hill family in a dramatized portrayal of servant life and holiday preparations at the Hill family’s Summit Avenue mansion. The one-hour program moves through the elegant first floor spaces and then to the basement servant work areas. The script is based on letters and oral histories of people who worked for the Hill family during the first decade of the 20th century.
Phone:651-297-2555
Time:1 to 3:30, tours begin every 30 minutes
Fee:$12 adults, $10 seniors and students, $8 children ages 6-17; $2 discount for MNHS members.
Reservations:required; call 651-259-3015 or register online
Also Dec. 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21

Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest Winners
Mill City Museum704 South Second Street, Minneapolis
Get inspired for holiday baking when the finalists in the Star Tribune’s annual Taste Holiday Cookie Contest bake their winning recipes in the Mill City Museum Baking Lab. Visitors can drop in and meet the finalists as they bake their award-winning cookies, learn more about the history of the recipes and why they are so good and get baking tips for the holiday season. Visitors will also be able to sample each of the winning cookies. The Star Tribune’s Taste section sponsors the annual Holiday Cookie Contest in which readers submit their favorite holiday cookie recipes. The winner and runners-up will be announced in the early December Taste section.
Phone:612-341-7555
Time:1 to 3 p.m.
Fee:Programs included with museum admission of $11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17; free for MNHS members.

Kids Crafts: Story Book Time and Bead a Ring
Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post43411 Oodena Dr., Onamia
From noon to 1 p.m. children can join in as museum staff read storybooks while enjoying a light snack and refreshments. Then from 1 to 3 p.m. they can learn a basic stringing technique while beading a ring to take home. Storybook time is free. The cost for the beaded ring kit is $3 and includes materials for the ring and an instructional handout. Please allow an hour to make the ring. This project is recommended for children ages 8 and up.
Phone:320-532-3632
Time:Noon to 3 p.m.
Fee:$3 per kit (museum admission not included).

I’m New Here: Introducing the Library
Minnesota Historical Society Library345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul
The library contains an array of sources for finding family history; researching a term paper; looking into the history of a house, business, organization or neighborhood; or just discovering more about Minnesota's rich past and many cultures. This free class held each Saturday year round, introduces these resources and offers tips on how to use catalogs, request materials and purchase photocopies.
Phone:651-259-3300
Time:9:15 to 10:15 a.m.
Fee:Free
Also Dec. 13, 20 and 27

History Forum: The Bitter Elections
Minnesota History Center345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul
The election of 1824 featured two iconic candidates and ended in a contested result and accusations of crooked backroom deals. The election pitted New England statesman John Quincy Adams against popular Western war hero Andrew Jackson. Jackson won the electoral and popular votes, but lost the deciding Congressional ballot, and the presidency, by one vote. In 1828 Jackson challenged Adams as a political insider, running as a “man-of-the-people” who would cleanse Washington of its elitism. As Daniel Feller argues, Jackson's campaign forever rearranged the American political landscape. Daniel Feller is a professor of history and the editor and director of the Papers of Andrew Jackson at the University of Tennessee. His books include "The Jacksonian Promise: America, 1815-1840." He was the lead scholar for the PBS biography "Andrew Jackson: Good, Evil, and the Presidency." He is also a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. This program is made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008. Additional support is provided by the Maurice Stans Fund and the Lindbergh Foundation.
Phone:651-259-3000
Time:10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Fee:$15/$11 MNHS members.
Reservations:required; call 651-259-3015 or register online

Sample Saturdays
Minnesota History Center345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul
Today’s brewers and distillers draw on fresh ingredients and rich traditions to make tasty beers and beverages for the modern Minnesotan palate. Take a break in Cafe Minnesota and sample an adult beverage or a tasty locally made soda and chat with an artisan. Samples will also be offered on Friday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.
Phone:651-259-3000
Time:2 to 5 p.m.
Fee:$5

Toy Making Workshop
Oliver H. Kelley Farm15788 Kelley Farm Rd., Elk River
Visit the Kelley Farm just in time to make homemade toys to give as gifts for the holidays. In the visitor center, guests will choose between making several 19th-century toys, including a ball-and-cup game, buzz saws, pick-up sticks and corn husk dolls. All tools and materials will be provided. This workshop does not include a tour of the farm.
Phone:763-441-6896
Time:1 to 3 p.m.
Fee:$5 material fee
Reservations:required; call 763-441-6896

Afternoon Christmas Tours
W.W. Mayo House118 N. Main St., Le Sueur
Visit the W.W. Mayo House decorated for a turn of the century Christmas. Enjoy Christmas music in the parlor performed by local musicians. Children can create small gift and ornament crafts from the past. Cookies and cider will be served. Learn about holiday traditions from the 1850s that the Mayos and Cosgroves would have participated in while living in the Mayo House.
Phone:507-665-3250
Time:Noon to 4 p.m.
Fee:$6 adults, $5 seniors (65 ) and students w/ID, $5 children ages 6-17; Free for children age 5 and under and MNHS members.
Also Dec. 12-13

Monday, Dec. 8

The World War One Christmas Truce of 1914
James J. Hill House240 Summit Ave., St. Paul
During the first Christmas of World War I, a spontaneous truce broke out along the front lines among the German, English and French troops. Soldiers crossed battle lines, raised their glasses in a holiday toast and sang songs together. Considered by many a Christmas miracle, this night was never repeated. Popular historian James Neagbour returns to the James J. Hill House to recount this extraordinary event through photos and testimony. Refreshments and house tours follow the program.
Phone:651-297-2555
Time:7:30 p.m.
Fee:Tours: $9 adults, $7 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17; free for children age 5 and under and MNHS members.
Reservations:recommended; call 651-259-3015 or register online

Tuesday, Dec. 9

History Film Series: Planes
Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site1620 Lindbergh Dr. S., Little Falls
Disney's animated feature about a crop-dusting plane with a fear of heights who lives his dream of competing in a famous around-the-world aerial race. Film starts at 7 p.m. The museum and gift shop will be open for a short time before and after the film screening.This film is provided courtesy Swank Motion Pictures, Inc.
Phone:320-616-5421
Time:7 p.m.
Fee:Free

Saturday, Dec. 13

Washburn A Mill Tour
Mill City Museum704 South Second Street, Minneapolis
Take an in-depth look at the historic Washburn A Mill complex and the award-winning Mill City Museum building. A museum interpreter will take visitors into the building’s many nooks and crannies, highlighting the lives of the men and women who worked there, how the building functioned during its peak flour milling years and the many changes to the building over time. This is the only opportunity for a guided tour through the entire museum building and the only chance to see some of its non-public spaces. The tour includes admission to the museum gallery, Baking Lab, Water Lab and Flour Tower show.
Phone:612-341-7555
Time:1 p.m.
Fee:$14 adults, $12 seniors and college students, $10 children ages 6-17 and MNHS members. Tour includes museum admission.
Reservations:required; call 612-341-7555 or register online
Also Dec. 27

Birch Bark Ornament Workshop
Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post43411 Oodena Dr., Onamia
Create miniature ornaments from birch bark that can be used to decorate for the holidays or to give as gifts. A light lunch and refreshments will be provided. A minimum of 5 participants is required. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is required 3 days prior to workshop.
Phone:320-532-3632
Time:Noon to 4 p.m.
Fee:$25/$20 for MNHS members; additional supply fee of $15.
Reservations:required; call 320-532-3632

Teen Toy Takeover! Toys Past and Toys Future
Minnesota History Center345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul
The Teen Advisory Council presents a day of retro and futuristic fun. Enjoy toys from the past in our new exhibit and demonstrations of toys of the future created by kids and adults. Think you’ve got what it takes to be the next toy innovator? Try your hand at a toy design challenge.
Phone:651-259-3000
Time:Noon to 4 p.m.
Fee:$11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17; free for children age 5 and under and MNHS members.

Capitol Re-Construction Tour
Minnesota State Capitol75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul
The Minnesota State Capitol building, completed in 1905, is undergoing important repair and restoration work and needed improvements. Get an in-depth look at the history of its original construction and current information on the work being done to save this architectural treasure for generations to come. Guided tours run 60 to 90 minutes.
Phone:651-296-2881
Time:11 a.m.
Fee:$9 adults, $8 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17; $2 discount for MNHS members.
Reservations:required; call 651-296-2881 or register online

Christmas on the Farm
Oliver H. Kelley Farm15788 Kelley Farm Rd., Elk River
Join a guide for a 75-minute tour of the Kelley Farm including a hike along the nature trail, a stop inside the historic farmhouse and a visit to the livestock pens. Discover how farm families and their animals coped with shorter days and colder temperatures, and how they prepared for the upcoming holidays 150 years ago. Enjoy a horse or oxen-drawn bobsled or wagon ride. Dress for outdoor weather. Warm refreshments follow in the Visitor Center.
Phone:763-441-6896
Time:2 to 4 p.m.
Fee:$10/$8 for MNHS members.
Reservations:required; call 763-441-6896
Also Dec. 14

Sunday, Dec. 14

Victorian Christmas Stories
James J. Hill House240 Summit Ave., St. Paul
Costumed actors bring 19th-century Christmas literature to life with warmth and humor in this reader's theater performance of holiday stories, including works by Mark Twain, Willa Cather, O. Henry's "Gift of the Magi" and selections from Dickens' “A Christmas Carol.” The performers, Craig Johnson and Kirby Bennett, will discuss the development of popular Christmas traditions, including Christmas literature during the 19th century. Admission to the one-hour program includes light refreshments and tours of the Hill House, decorated for the holidays.
Phone:651-297-2555
Time:6 and 7:30 p.m.
Fee:$12 adult, $10 seniors and college students, $8 children ages 6 to 17; $2 discount for MNHS members.
Reservations:recommended; call 651-259-3015 or register online

Tuesday, Dec. 16

History Lounge: My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks
Minnesota History Center345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul
Ojibwe historian Brenda Child will share the stories of daily work, family life and culture on the Red Lake Reservation between World War I and the Depression. She will explore the challenges faced by the first generation to have grown up on a reservation—fully modern workers whose rich traditions helped them make a living during tough times and who passed on their Ojibwe identity and culture to their children. Brenda J. Child is associate professor of American Studies at the University of Minnesota and author of My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks: Ojibwe Family Life and Labor on the Reservation.
Phone:651-259-3000
Time:7 p.m.
Fee:Free

Thursday, Dec. 18

An Eventually Christmas: Holidays at the Mill
Mill City Museum704 South Second Street, Minneapolis
This unique play performed in the museum's Flour Tower elevator ride, features "The Ghost of Mill City Past" guiding an intimate look at the 1920 Washburn Crosby holiday party. The script is based on real stories taken from the pages of the company's employee newspaper, The "Evenutally News!" Scenes unfold on different floors of the mill and visitors will meet different characters along the way. Witness the rocky romance of Celia and Otto; meet marketing mastermind Benjamin S. Bull; experience the awesome sweeping power of Bill Smith; and learn the secret origin of the Washburn Crosby marketing slogan, "Eventually-Why Not Now?" This piece is written by playwright Joseph Scrimshaw, directed by Laura Salveson, and stars a cast of professional Twin Cities' actors. Not recommended for children under the age of 8. Ticket includes a voucher for museum admission, and post-performance refreshments. Museum store is open for holiday shopping.
Phone:612-341-7555
Time:6, 7 and 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 5, 6 and 7 p.m. Saturday
Fee:$14 adults, $12 seniors and college students, $10 for children ages 6-17 and MNHS members; $2 off adult admission with Fringe Festival button.
Reservations:required; call 612-341-7555 or register online
Also Dec. 19-20

Saturday, Dec. 20

Victorian Christmas Carols
James J. Hill House240 Summit Ave., St. Paul
Enjoy an hour-long concert tracing the rise and popularity of holiday songs in the 19th and early 20th century as well as Hill family Christmas traditions. Costumed singers, a pianist and narrator present a broad selection of period tunes in the art gallery of the James J. Hill House. The narration will draw on excerpts from Mrs. Hill's diaries, servant letters and grandchildren's memoirs. Light refreshments will be served and tours will follow each performance.
Phone:651-297-2555
Time:6 and 7:30 p.m.
Fee:$12 adult, $10 seniors and college students, $8 children ages 6 to 17; $2 discount for MNHS members.
Reservations:recommended; call 651-259-3015 or register online
Also Dec. 21

Friday, Dec. 26

History HiJinx: Robot Mania!
Minnesota History Center345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul
For centuries scientists and artists, such as Aristotle and Leonardo da Vinci, made sketches and models of movable figures. In the years following World War II, space travel and technology drove the popularity of robots, with comic book and Television characters like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers hitting the scene. View toy robots in the new History Center exhibit, Toys of the 50s, 60s and 70sand then cut, color and add a dash of flash, to create your own paper and cardboard contraption.
Phone:651-259-3000
Time:11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; noon to 3 p.m. Sunday
Fee:$11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17; free for children age 5 and under and MNHS members.
Also Dec. 28-31

Saturday, Dec. 27

Kwanzaa Family Day
Minnesota History Center345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul
Join family and friends in this annual African-American celebration. Kwanzaa follows seven core principles: Unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. The family day program includes music, dancing, demonstrations, art making and storytelling.
Phone:651-259-3000
Time:Noon to 4 p.m.
Fee:$11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17; free for children age 5 and under and MNHS members.

Monday, Dec. 29

History Center Open Monday Dec. 29
Minnesota History Center345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul
Explore the History Center this holiday season with special hours. Bring the family to see Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s and Then Now Wow, the history exhibit designed for kids. Plus, the History Center stores and Cafe Minnesota will also be open.
Phone:651-259-3000
Time:10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fee:$11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17; free for children age 5 and under and MNHS members.

Wednesday, Dec. 31

Candlelight Snowshoe and Hike
Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site1620 Lindbergh Dr. S., Little Falls
Spend New Year's Eve exploring the trails along the Mississippi River by candlelight. From 6 to 9 p.m. candles will light a one mile section of trail between the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site and the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum. Participants can explore the the museums and enjoy refreshments at each end of the trail.
Phone:320-616-5421
Time:5 to 8 p.m.
Fee:Free

Ongoing Exhibits

Minnesota History Center
345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul

Through Jan. 4, 2015

Toys of the 50s, 60s and 70sGumby. Barbie. Slinky. Mr. Potato Head. Wham-O. Spirograph. Hot Wheels. The names of popular toys from the 1950s, 60s and 70s capture the craziness, the joy, the sheer fun of being a kid. But beneath those nutty names are rich veins of nostalgia, memory and history. The stories of the kids who played with these toys, the adults who bought them, the child-rearing experts who judged them and the people who invented them, reflect the rhythms of American life. Experience the toys and their stories through three imagined living rooms and a garage setting that bring the decades back to life. On view May 24, 2014 – Jan. 4, 2015. www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/toys

Through Jan. 4, 2015

Sights, Sounds and Soul: Twin Cities through the Lens of Charles ChamblisFrom family reunions to the nightclub scene, there is no one who documented the Twin Cities Black community like Charles Chamblis. Affectionately called “The Pictureman,” he had a passion for photography and a knack for being everywhere at the right time. View more than 60 images, alongside artifacts including suits worn by Prince and Jellybean Johnson in the movie Purple Rain. On view April 26, 2014 – Jan. 4, 2015. www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/chamblis.

Oct. 1 through Nov. 2, 2014

Death has a Permit: Jose Guadalupe PosadaView a display of 38 reproduction prints by the Mexican artist, illustrator and engraver Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913). Born of humble origins in the city of Aguascalientes, he completed an estimated 15,000 different ephemeral prints that documented just about every facet of Mexican life. Posada depicted outlaws, fugitives, demons, lovers, politicians, matadors, as well as the indelible images of his calaveras (animated and well dressed skulls or skeletons) which were meant to satirize the life of the upper classes. These now iconic images have become associated with the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead. This display is presented courtesy of the Consulate of Mexico, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Ongoing

Then Now Wow Designed primarily for children, visitors of all ages will enjoy exploring Minnesota’s distinctive places from the prairies and forests to the cities. Along the way they'll meet the people who have made their homes here. Step inside a prairie sod house; board a Twin Cities streetcar; don a headlamp to venture underground in an Iron Range mine; hitch a ride on a boxcar; sit in a modern tipi; and encounter artifacts and images unique to Minnesota’s diverse people and historic events. “Then Now Wow” is made possible by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008. For more information visit www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/thennowwow.

Ongoing

Minnesota’s Greatest Generation: The Depression, The War, The Boom
Explore interactive displays and innovative multimedia experiences that reveal the lives and stories of the men and women who came of age during the Depression and World War II and went on to create the postwar “boom.” The exhibition relies substantially on first-person narratives drawn from oral history interviews, published memoirs, reminiscences and letters. For more information visit www.mngreatestgeneration.org.

Ongoing

Open House: If These Walls Could Talk This interactive exhibit uses a single, existing house in the Railroad Island neighborhood on St. Paul’s East Side as a window into the daily lives of people of the past. Stories of families, from the German immigrants who built the home through the Italians, African Americans and Hmong who succeeded them, are told through rooms representing different eras of the house. For more information visit www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/openhouse.

Ongoing

Weather Permitting Minnesotans learn to cope with extreme temperatures, watch for signs of storms and generally enjoy the outdoors, whether boating on a summer’s day, skiing down a hill or snowmobiling across snowdrifts. Visit the multi-media tornado exhibit, “Get to the Basement,” named the best museum exhibit in the Twin Cities by City Pages. For more information visit www.mnhs.org/weather.

James J. Hill House
240 Summit Ave., St. Paul

Opening Nov. 22, 2014

Minnesota Modern: Four Artists of the Twentieth Century As Minnesota approached the mid-century mark after World War II, the Twin Cities enjoyed a thriving community of talented and successful visual artists. Among them, four individuals stood out; Dewey Albinson (1898-1971), Cameron Booth (1892-1980), Clement Haupers (1900-1982) and Elof Wedin (1901-1983). These artists dominated the art scene in Minnesota for decades. Through their lengthy careers and enormous output, each artist contributed a great deal to bring modernism to the state. The artists are represented with paintings and prints drawn from the Minnesota Historical Society’s permanent collection. Minnesota Modern is presented in conjunction with the release of a publication of the same name by Afton Press.