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Minnesota Local History News

Published: August 13, 2008

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

Come visit your place in history.

Discussions and Questions

Federal Grants for Minnesota Museums (1 new message) Why are midsize grants of $10,000 to $25,000 so hard to find?

Digital Windfall (2 new messages) The size of donated photo collections can be overwhelming for the already overworked staff and volunteers at local history museums.

The Most Local Record (new post) Township records are the most numerous of government records, and often among the more threatened. What are you doing to preserve them?

Become an Author (new post) The blog needs your questions.

AVAILABLE: A single school desk and a set of four joined school desks to be donated to a local historical organization. Items are located in the Willmar area. Contact Alice Johnson, 507-433-7135.

Job Announcements


The College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities invites applications for the position of Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Requires Ph.D. Applications for this position must be submitted electronically. Open until filled.


Ironworld Discovery Center in Chisholm seeks President/CEO. To apply please forward resume with salary requirements to Sage Morrison, 952-473-6705.

Exhibit Historian

Museum Division of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History seeks an Exhibit Historian. To apply please go to the State Personnel Board website and submit an e-application, or call 601-576-6865 to request an application. Due August 20, 2008.

Local Events

History Detectives

On Monday August 18, 2008, the History Detectives on Public Broadcasting (check local listings) will explore a souvenir spoon commemorating the mass hanging in Mankato on December 26, 1862.

Free birthday party

Festive Folk are middle school and high school students who have been volunteering at the LeDuc Historic Estate since 2005.  On Thursday August 21 and Saturday August 23, 2008, from 1 - 4 p.m. Festive Folk will sponsor a free birthday party for children of all ages.

Tour falls and gorge

Join LeDuc Historic Estate on September 7, 2008 at 10 a.m. for a historic tour of the Vermillion falls and gorge.

Shivaree in Mantorville

Join the Dodge County Historical Society on August 22, 2008 at 7 p.m. in the Mantorville Restoration House for an old fashioned Shivaree.


Freedom exhibit

Historic Landmark Center in downtown Saint Paul welcomes the visiting exhibit "From Freedom’s Shadow: African Americans and the United States Capitol" from August 20 through September 28, 2008. The exhibit will be free and open to the public during building hours.

Nicollet County history online

Nicollet County Historical Society launched its online search feature of 10,000 records using PastPerfect. Contact Ben Leonard for details.

Bookshelves awarded

Thirteen Minnesota organizations received the IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf for the second round. There is a third round planned. Apply to AASLH between January 5 and March 9, 2009.

Search committee questions

GuideStar suggests five questions search committees ought to ask prospective employees.

Fundraising basics

GuideStar has recommendations on traditional and Web 2.0 fundraising methods.

Paying for sandblasting

Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Chaska takes on preservation challenges.

Nominations sought

National Trust for Historic Preservation seeks nominations for the 2009 Dozen Distinctive Destinations by August 29, 2008.

Barn of the Year

Friends of Minnesota Barns seeks nominations for the 2008 Minnesota Barn of the Year. The completed entry information must be returned by September 5, 2008.

Input from curators needed

Curators Committee of the American Association of Museums released a revised draft of "A Code of Ethics for Curators" and seeks comment from members of the museum community.

IRS updating Form 990

Read the updates from the Internal Revenue Service for filing Form 990 for the 2008 tax year (filed in 2009).

Campaigning rules

Marsha Ramirez issued a policy defining how the Internal Revenue Service will evalaute 501(c)(3) organizations activities during the coming election.

Donor Advised Funds guide

Internal Revenue Service issued a Donor Advised Fund Guide Sheet and Guide Sheet Explanation.

Reminder: File 990-N

For nonprofit organizations with receipts less than $25,000, the Internal Revenue Service changed the filing requirement from none to an electronic postcard. Thus far only 47 historical organizations in Minnesota have filed. Failure to file will result in the loss of charitable status.

Grant Deadlines

State Grants-in-Aid

Final applications are due Friday August 29, 2008 at 4:30 p.m in the MHS Grants Office. Contact Melinda Hutchinson, 651-259-3459.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

Better Boards

National Trust for Historic Preservation offers a "Better Boards for Historic Sites" workshop in Kohler, WI on November 6-8, 2008.

Field Note

An important component to success for any local history museum is for the principal staff person - paid or volunteer - to be seen participating in the community. Merlin Peterson of the Pope County Historical Society recently defended his Pope County Potato Peeling championship. Photo courtesy of Merlin Peterson.

Merlin Peterson with carved potato figure.