New Online Resources Help Reporters Navigate Minnesota's Political History this Election Year

For immediate release

Release dated: 
August 27, 2012
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen
Marketing and Communications

Megan Lawson
Marketing and Communications

New Online Resources Help Reporters Navigate Minnesota's Political History this Election Year

The Minnesota Historical Society is one of the premier repositories in the nation for the documentation of politics and public affairs. Minnesotans have often achieved national and even international stature, so the Society's collections, too, have attracted researchers from around the U.S. and the globe. On Nov. 6, 2012 Americans will go to the polls. In preparation for the many stories that local, regional and national media will be preparing, the Society is gathering resources to help reporters navigate the rich landscape of Minnesota's political history.

At the top of this list are two new online projects. The first is a newly launched website that provides public access to the Walter F. Mondale Papers and the second is the beginning of a one-year project to digitize and make available the manuscripts and audio recordings of the public speeches of Hubert H. Humphrey.

Additional Resources for Journalists:

  • Topic Experts. Society experts have knowledge of early Minnesota politics including statehood and the Civil War (1850-1870); governors and first ladies; Republican political history; DFL political history and the Nonpartisan League; and government records. The Society also has on staff archaeologists, preservationists, conservationists and curators.
  • Library and Web. The History Center library, and web site provide easy access to the Society's collections. Reference librarians and research staff manage the world’s largest repository of Minnesota-related materials. Society curators are bringing the collections to you through Up Close Podcasts and Blog many of which highlight our political past, inlcuding why Minnesota is called the Gopher State.
  • Manuscripts. Manuscripts include correspondence, diaries, minutes, reports, newsletters, speeches, scrapbooks, campaign files and administrative files of local, state and national elected and appointed officials as well as non-elected "activists," and private organizations such as political parties, grass-roots and lobbying organizations.
  • State Archives. The archives include the records of state and local government, and include the official files of the territorial and state governors and constitutional officers, the state legislature and court, and counties townships, villages, cities and school districts.
  • Museum Artifacts. The Society houses hundreds of thousands of historically significant objects and artifacts including campaign buttons and paraphernalia, awards and honorary presentations, and even clothes and personal mementos.
  • Sound and Visual. This collection includes campaign and public photographs, fine art photography, recorded speeches, campaign commercials and media interviews. The Society has also produced and collected oral history interviews with many individuals including governors and state supreme court justices, activists and national figures. Portraits of political and civic leaders and sketches of campaign rallies are available in our art collection.
  • Publications. Through the Minnesota Historical Society Press the Society offers books on a variety of political topics including statehood, women's history and biographies. In addition Minnesota History Magazine articles from 1915 to 2000 have been digitized and are available online. More recent articles are available for purchase.
  • Historic Sites and Museums. Our network of 26 sites and museums includes the Minnesota State Capitol which is a monument to Minnesota's political history. Inside, visitors can explore a public display of the Governors portraits, view works of art in the form of paintings, sculpture and architecture, and take guided tours.
  • Public Programs. The Society offers a number of programs devoted to political topics including the popular History Forum lecture series and programs at historic sites and museums.
  • Exhibits. The media can access a number of exhibits that relate directly to Minnesota politics including The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and Then Now Wow, a Minnesota history exhibit designed for children, opening Nov. 23, 2012 at the Minnesota History Center. The History Center library will also feature a rotating display of collection items relating to Minnesota politics through November, 2012.

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.