Providing for Future Generations — More for the Mission

Responsible stewardship is at the core of the Minnesota Historical Society’s mission. Through preserving, sharing and connecting, MNHS uses the power of history to transform lives.

More for the Mission is MNHS’ innovative sustainability program that builds on the MNHS mission. By focusing on environmental data, More for the Mission helps MNHS reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve energy and reduce costs, ensuring that MNHS can continue to provide high­quality programs for future generations. Since the project's beginning, 75 strategies have been identified that would save the organization nearly $2 million in utility bills over a 5-year period and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent.

Historic preservation aligns with environmental stewardship efforts. MNHS operates or maintains nearly 150 historic buildings totaling more than 793,000 square feet, including the ruins of the Washburn ‘A’ Mill at Mill City Museum, Split Rock Lighthouse and Historic Fort Snelling. The National Trust for Historic Preservation notes that the “re­use of historic and older buildings, greening the existing building stock, and reinvestment in older and historic communities, is crucial to combating climate change.”

The “More for the Mission” initiative has received popular support, and has been featured in a number of recent publications: "The Green Museum: A Primer on Environmental Practice" by Sarah Brophy and Elizabeth Wiley, "Sustainable Museums: Strategies for the 21st Century" by Rachel Madan, and "Environmental Sustainability at History Museums and Historic Sites" by Sarah Sutton. In addition, a number of public and private funders have provided support to help make these projects happen, including grants from the National Endowment of the Humanities, the Fidelity Foundation and the Bush Foundation.

From the Blog

This interview was conducted by Yixuan Cai, our Summer 2015 Sustainability intern. Yixuan co-wrote this post with Shengyin Xu. It was edited by Samuel Courtier.

Craig Johnson: "Yes, it's true that it is a place of conspicuous consumption---they had way too much and no one needs all that---, yet many of the choices they made were much more sustainable than the ones we make today.”

Craig Johnson discusses Sustainability at James J. Hill House and in his personal life.

At first glance, it may appear that James J. Hill House has little to teach us about Sustainability. Indeed, as the Gilded Age mansion of the 'Empire Builder,' Hill House seems to embody extravagance and---borrowing terminology from Craig---'conspicuous consumption.' However, during our interview, Craig shed light on the variety of opportunities he's found for incorporating Sustainability into the Hill House's story and day-to-day operations.

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