USS Minnesota Photograph and Relic

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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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USS Minnesota Photograph and Relic

By: admin | What's New | March 20, 2009

The Society recently acquired a pair of interesting items associated with the Navy frigate USS Minnesota. The vessel was launched in 1855 and served as flagship of the Union's Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the Civil War. The Minnesota is best remembered for her participation in the 1862 Battle of Hampton Roads, the famed clash between the ironclads Monitor and Virginia.

The acquired items include a photograph of the Minnesota, and a relic made from her hull. The photo, taken around 1898, shows the venerable frigate in her last assignment as an apparent barracks ship with the Massachusetts Naval Militia. The relic is a small fragment of the vessel's oak hull, with a silver plaque proclaiming its origin. The fragment was made by Thomas Buttler & Company of Boston, the firm that scrapped the ship in 1901.

The photo and relic complement two other pieces already in the Society's collection: the Minnesota's wheel and bell. Together, they preserve the memory of the first Navy ship named for the state (er, territory) and a witness to one of the most remarkable naval battles in history.

Matt Anderson, Objects Curator

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