Contemporary Minnesota Voices

collections up close Blog

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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Contemporary Minnesota Voices

By: admin | What's New | October 19, 2009

DusterStoneware bowl

Currently on display in our Library Lobby are selected objects collected by the Society and whenever possible labels include a quote from the artists–revealing in their own words their thoughts about the materials, the finished pieces, and the passions that inspire them. This exhibit will be up until early December.

For millennia artists have been bringing the joy of art to everyday life through the application of their creative force to our material culture. Minnesota has a rich fine craft heritage and Minnesotans have long found pleasure in the use of functional & beautiful objects that provide sensory experiences which add vigor to everyday life.

For nearly 30 years the Minnesota Historical Society has proactively compiled a fine collection of well-documented objects made by Minnesota artists to illustrate the role of crafts in the life of Minnesotans and the work of specific individuals. The Society chose to document the work of contemporary Minnesota craftspeople and to focus the collecting on examples by established artists that exhibit a mastery of the medium and combine function with beauty in a manifestation of the craftsman work ethic. Over 200 pieces represent the diverse influences and inspirations of Minnesota’s 20th – 21st century period.

While most mediums are well represented in the Society’s fine craft collections, the Minnesota and Wisconsin region is best known nationally for the work of its significant and influential ceramics community. Evidence of that powerhouse role includes the existence of the Northern Clay Center and Fired Up Studios, a forthcoming collections gallery in the new wing of the Weisman Art Museum to highlight ceramics, and the Minnesota Potters of the Upper St. Croix River Annual Pottery Studio Tour & Sale that draws guest artists and pottery collectors from across the globe.

Marcia Anderson, Senior Curator

Jack Pine SavageStoneware teapot