Arts and Crafts Movement

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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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Arts and Crafts Movement

By: admin | Our Favorite Things | November 1, 2007
Canterbury made by Anthony Edward OfstieThe Arts and Crafts movement's values of handicraft and creative expression found fertile ground in Minnesota. Included in the Minnesota Historical Society's furniture collection from the turn of the last century is this tall, handmade canterbury or magazine rack, made by Anthony Edward Ofstie, a Norwegian immigrant born in 1861. The dark-stained, quarter-sawn oak stand features a square top with marquetry of various-colored woods.Employed for most of his life driving fire engines with Hook and Ladder Company No. 6,Ofstie may have developed his appreciation for woodworking while driving a Minneapolisfurniture-store truck. He and his wife, Julia, enriched their southeast Minneapolishome with furniture of his own design. Among the six pieces in the Society'scollection today are an unusual table and upholstered armchair made of cow hornsand oak. A decoratively monogrammed wooden music-storage cabinet contains a notethat Ofstie handcrafted it for one of his two sons, a heartfelt gift of whichlofty Arts and Crafts theorists surely would have approved.This article was originally published in the Spring 2001 issue of Minnesota History.