Item of the Day

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Collecting pieces of Minnesota's past for the future

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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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Item of the Day

Souvenir, 1904

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 22, 2019

This polished brass souvenir badge from 1904 features a sheaf of grain surrounded by farm implements including a plow, rake, and anvil. The insignia likely refers to the Minnesota State Agricultural Society, which governed the Fair. 

Art Show, 1950

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 21, 2019

The Art Show at the Minnesota State Fair sure looks different from this image taken in 1950. Plus it's now in color!
One more day!

The Races!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 20, 2019

In two short days we will all be off to The Races when the Minnesota State Fair opens!
This postcard show harness racing at the Grandstand during the Fair of 1910.

Longfellow Gardens

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 16, 2019

Closing out Garden Week here on Item of the Day is this postcard of Longfellow Gardens, dated 1905.
Longfellow Gardens are located near Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis.

Garden Hat

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 15, 2019

This women's soft garden hat was worn by Lavinia Gilfillan of Minneapolis, circa 1890s. The cloth hat features a printed design of flowers in a vase on a striped background. 

Garden Chair

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 14, 2019

This outdoor patio chair dates to 1958 - 1963, and boy does it show. I wonder if it's more or less comfortable than it looks?

Victory Garden Poster

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 13, 2019

This poster was created and distributed between 1943 - 1945 to encourage people at home to keep up their Victory Gardens during World War II.

Antler Rake

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 12, 2019

This rake is made from ash wood and deer antler. It was used for gardening by Hidatsa Indians, circa 1905-1918.

Dog Editorial

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 9, 2019

We have entered the Dog Days of Summer, which is reason enough to feature our fuzzy friends this week.


This dog is complaining about the "Dogs Not Permitted On Bathing Beach" sign at Bde Maka Ska, Minneapolis, in 1937.

Flapjack the Dog

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | August 8, 2019

We have entered the Dog Days of Summer, which is reason enough to feature our fuzzy friends this week.
Flapjack was Pillsbury Company plush mascot in 1984. Part doughboy, part puppy, all silly cuteness.

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