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Minnesota Local History News

Published: June 28, 2006

A weekly publication by the Minnesota Historical Society for professional local historians and historical organizations.

Local Events


New WWII exhibit opening at the Depot in Duluth

Veterans’ Memorial Hall (VMH) announces the opening of the new WWII exhibit, 500 days on July 1, 2006 at the St. Louis County Heritage and Arts Center (Depot).  The exhibit focuses on the journey of men of the 125th Field Artillery during the course of World War II from their training at Camp Claiborne, through their battles in North Africa and Italy, ending with their post war activities. The exhibit is opening eight days prior to the 125th Field Artillery’s 65th reunion celebration in Duluth.  The 125th consisted of 900 men from all over the United States but over 600 of them were from northeastern Minnesota. Many were brothers, some were father and son, and most were friends.  This exhibit has been organized by Veterans’ Memorial Hall with the help of the 125th Field Artillery Association. Veterans’ Memorial Hall is a joint project of the United States Military Service, veterans of northern Minnesota and the St. Louis County Historical Society.   For more Information contact Daniel Hartman, 218-733–7500.

Minnesota Association of Museums Summer Samplers for July and August

The Minnesota Association of Museums Summer Sampler for July is scheduled for Monday, July 10, 2006 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the new Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis.  The spectacular new downtown Central Library is not just a pretty face!   The library is a leader in establishing community connections, with superb technology resources, the new Cargill Hall exhibit gallery, and innovative programs for teens and new Americans. Join Melinda Ludwiczak, Coordinator for Arts and Business Partnerships, for a guided view of "Greatest Hits" in Cargill Hall located on second floor. Then choose from a tour of either the building's art and architecture or collections (including Special Collections, Picture Files and the Foundation Center Cooperating Collection, which features funding resources).  For more information about Minneapolis Central Library visit website and see parking information and directions.  The Summer Sampler for August will be at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska, on Thursday, August 17, 2006 from 4:45 to 6:00 p.m.  No gate fee charged from 4:30 on- please come after this time for free admission.  Adult Education Manager Shirley Mah Kooyman will host a visit highlighting the Secret Gardens exhibit featuring 20 designs selected from a pool of nearly 60 submissions created by artists, landscape architects, and architects. This juried competition asked designers to create their interpretation of a secret garden. See this exhibit before it closes September 10. Come enjoy refreshments and colleagues, bring a friend and make it an outing!   Meet in the new Visitor's Center Great Hall (directions).  See website for more information on the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.  The Arboretum restaurant is open until 8 p.m.  Both events are free and open to museum professionals and volunteers.  To RSVP, email  or call Nina Clark at 612-870-3374.  To become a member of MAM, visit website.



Heritage Health Index update

The Heritage Health Index Web site now features selected data on museums and historical societies, small institutions, and scientific collections.  Heritage Preservation has also made a downloadable PowerPoint presentation.  These 36 slides give an overview of the Heritage Health Index project and the resulting data on the condition and preservation needs of U.S. collections—ideal for including in grant requests, reports, and presentations.  How has the Heritage Health Index helped you in your work? What more can be done to ensure that the Heritage Health Index data has an impact?  Heritage Health seeks feedback to measure the effectiveness of the Heritage Health Index.  Please complete the five-question feedback form.  Contact Heritage Health for further assistance.

Veterans museum in Perham to open on August 4

According to a newspaper article, delays in materials and building have prompted postponement of the planned July 4 opening of the Perham veteran’s museum, "In Their Own Words" (ITOW). Opening ceremonies have been rescheduled for August 4, announced History Museum of East Otter Tail director Lina Belar.  “We’re going to need another two weeks to finish up the taping and painting," said Belar. “We will be able to move very fast after that.”  Remodeling has been extensive and has completely transformed the look of the former Perham VFW club.   As the museum’s name would suggest, its emphasis will be on stories of veterans covering all aspects of the United States' military experiences (in Europe, South Pacific, Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East) from the perspective of those who participated in those experiences.  In addition to the veterans themselves, the museum will focus on the home front and families, and the impact of war on them.  To enhance the opening of ITOW will be a series of photographs from the Associated Press. It will also open the day of the museum’s ribbon-cutting ceremonies, August 4.  The exhibit, "Memories of World War II", is on loan from the Associated Press through August 27 and contains a collection of 126 photos from all theaters of the war and the home front.

City of Willmar supports preservation of Sperry House

The efforts of the Kandiyohi County Historical Society to preserve the Sperry House in Willmar received attention recently in an article in the West Central Tribune.

Three county historical societies in Minnesota awarded MAP grants

The American Association of Museums(AAM) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced that 116 U.S. museums will participate in the Museum Assessment Program (MAP) this year.  Museums of all types and sizes will undertake one of AAM's four museum assessments:  Institutional, Collections Management, Governance, and Public Dimension.  Forty-six of this year’s participants come from museums with operating budgets of less than $125,000 per year. For the first time, these museums will participate for free. Others will have a small share of the cost, ranging from $350-$750. All participants have their Surveyor travel expenses and their Surveyor honorarium covered by AAM. At the end of their assessment, participants will receive a resource packet valued at $150 from the AAM Bookstore.  The Martin County Historical Society will undertake an Institutional assessment.  The Institutional Assessment reviews the museum's entire operation, including mission and planning, governance, administration, finance, collections stewardship, interpretation and presentation, marketing, public relations, membership, and community support.  The Carver County Historical Society and the Swift County Historical Society will undertake Public Dimension assessments.  The Public Dimension Assessment assesses the museum's public perception, experience, and involvement with the museum.  The assessment assists a museum in effectively communicating with the public and helps the museum identify and strengthen collaborations with other organizations around the country.  It includes a review of all the ways in which the museum interacts with its audiences, including marketing, public relations, audience developments, and exhibitions.  A complete list of institutions receiving awards is available.  See the MAP website for information about Museum Assessment Program and the MAP process.


Grant Deadlines


American Heritage Home Trust grant for historic home rehabilitation

American Heritage Home Trust offers a grant of five thousand dollars ($5,000) for the rehabilitation of an historic home in the United States.  The recipient project must be owned by a non-profit or government entity and exemplify the Trust's mission, which is: to identify and rescue houses of historic, cultural or architectural importance in the United States; repair and preserve these properties for future generations; and promote education of, and appreciation for, American history through cultural tourism.  In an effort to reduce paper use and expense, American Heritage Home Trust welcomes inquiry letters to determine appropriateness of project prior to grant submittal.  The award is in two parts; half the grant ($2,500) will be given with the announcement and acceptance.  With the remaining twenty-five hundred awarded at the following annual meeting.  Acceptance of this award constitutes agreement to provide an officer of the organization to serve a four-year term on the AHHT Board of Directors.  The Board member will constitute part of the selection committee for the future years’ grant recipient.  When possible the annual meeting will be held in or near the location of the previous year’s grant project.  Applications must be postmarked by August 30, 2006 and sent to AHHT, c/o Johnson, 2221 Water Street SW, Olympia WA 98501-2857.  Inquiries are welcome: E. Johnson at 360-754-1455 or W. Jones at 410-483-8616.  Application form.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops


Minnesota Historical Society exhibits planning workshop

The Minnesota Historical Society has scheduled another of its popular daylong workshops on exhibit planning for Wednesday, October 4, 2006 at the Edina Historical Society. Creating exhibits that are engaging to a range of visitors takes careful planning - and a whole lot more. This one-day workshop offers a wealth of fresh approaches to managing an exhibits program. Instructor Tom McKay, retired local history coordinator at the Wisconsin Historical Society, will lead sessions on content planning, elements of exhibit design, label writing and exhibit fabrication. Scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the program includes lunch. The registration fee is $25 per person. Space is limited, so register early. Register online or use the registration form in the forthcoming September/October issue of The Minnesota History Interpreter. If you have questions, contact Tim Glines, 651-296-5460, or David Grabitske, 651-297-4416.