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Collecting pieces of Minnesota's past for the future


The Minnesota Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of materials chronicling Minnesota's history and culture. The goals of the Collections Department are to collect and preserve; provide access and interpretation; and engage in education and outreach. This blog is a tool to share these stories and let people know what is happening in the department.

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No Mow May

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 16, 2022

Between the talk about No Mow May (the idea of leaving early lawn growth alone to help pollinators) and our love of early ads, sharing this 1865 poster was an obvious choice.
"It Mows, It Reaps, It Rakes!" the poster declares, with four illustrations show different uses for this piece of farm machinery named The Kirby. 

Pacific Islanders Oral History Project

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 13, 2022

As it is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we want to highlight our oral history project featuring narrators discuss their personal stories of living in the Samoa, Hawaii, and Minnesota. The project interviews a wide range of individuals from musicians to social activists. 
The Pacific Islander Community Oral History Project is part of the larger Asian American and Pacific Islander Oral History Project, a partnership between the Minnesota Historical Society and the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans.

Learn more here:

The Big Prohibition Automobile

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 12, 2022

Check out this advertisement from the August 30, 1902 Red Wing Republican!
The vehicle features a cruising speed of 10 - 12 miles an hour.

Have Sticker, Will Travel: Minnesota State Park Stickers

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 11, 2022

Summer time travel season is almost upon us!
Click on image to see a variety of Minnesota State Park Permits over time.

Maria Sanford Model

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 10, 2022

This is a plaster model for a life-size bronze portrait of Maria Sanford, made by Evelyn Raymond, circa 1958. 
Evelyn Raymond was a sculptor from Duluth; Maria Louise Sanford was a professor of rhetoric and elocution at the University of Minnesota from 1880 to 1909.
The life-size bronze version of the state was given to the National Statuary Hall Collection in 1958.

Word Game

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 9, 2022

Before there was Wordle there was...Perquackey?
Yes, Perquackery was word game made by Lakeside Industries, a division of Leisure Dynamics, Incorporated of Minneapolis, circa 1970-1980. 
This particular games was used by the Thomas Thompson family of Minneapolis. 

John's Place Table

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 6, 2022

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!
To kick it off we present this beautiful table. It has ornate floral and bird mother-of-pearl marquetry on its legs, apron and the frame around the off-white marble slab top.

The table was used at Yuen Faung Low [or "John's Place"], the first Chinese restaurant in Minneapolis, between 1903 and 1960.

National Cartoonists Day!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 5, 2022

Today, May 5, is National Cartoonist Day.

Minnesota has been home to cartoonists of many types over the years, from funny to arty to political. 

Two of our favorites have to be Charles Shultz, world-famous creator of the beloved Peanuts comic strip, and Robert Sweeney, who is the reason we are the Gopher state.

Learn more about each of them here!

Charles Schulz:

Robert Sweeney:


Bach Society

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 4, 2022

This year is the 90th anniversary of the Bach Society of Minnesota!
The Bach Festival hosted by the Society continues until the end of May.
We are happy to make available their manuscript collection here at MNHS.
Learn more:

Mill Explosion

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 3, 2022

This photos shows the ruins of Washburn A Mill and other mills after explosion in 1878.
Learn more about this disaster here: