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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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Research Surprise!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 27, 2022

The theme for this week’s Item of the Day is Road Trips!

We start with the joy and surprise that can happen while doing research. 

While looking for road trip-related items, we came across a map between Ely and Tower in the catalog. But upon consulting it, it turns out to be a canoe map between the two points! It shows details of trails and portages, published before 1938.

It is indeed a road map, just a different road than expected.


Happy Pride!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 24, 2022

To celebrate the Pride Festival this weekend, we want to share this amazing map made by our friends as TC Pride with help from people all over the Twin Cities.
Click on the image to see more and enjoy!


By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 23, 2022

This fine press artist book in our collection was created in 2017 by C.B. Sherlock at her Seymour Press.

It contains the entire script of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare along with beautiful images of intersecting fairies, trees, and insects. The binding encircles a tree branch collected by the artist.

We think Shakespeare would approve.


By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 21, 2022

How can we not be thinking about swimming constantly?
This photo shows people enjoying the water in 1940. It was taken by Kenneth Melvin Wright.

Happy Juneteenth!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 20, 2022

Happy Juneteenth observed!
Learn more about this holiday in three short videos from our "Black History, Black Voices" series. These can be found by clicking on the image above.

Vegetable Market

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 17, 2022

This lithograph print from 1940 is titled "Vegetable Market." It shows a street scene of a grocer and five shoppers in front of a market; on the sidewalk are baskets of carrots, tomatoes, and other produce. 
It was created by Dorothea Lau as part of the WPA art project. 

Eat More Vegetables

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

Tomorrow, June 17, is National Eat Your Vegetables Day.
In preparation for that we share this World War I era poster, 1914 - 1918, outlining which foods should be consumed on the home front and which saved for soldiers.

Remembering Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 15, 2022

Today we remember the three men who were lynched in Duluth on this day in 1920: Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie.
Learn more about this heinous crime:


By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 14, 2022

On this date in 1981, a tornado traveled from Edina to Minneapolis to Roseville, killing one and injuring eighty-three.
It is also caused $47 million in damages.
This button was made afterwards in the same year.

Not a Virus Shirt

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

Last Friday was our dear colleague Hannah Novillo-Erickson's last day at MNHS. This is one of the many important additions she collected during her time here.
This tshirt, produced by Sai Xiong of Saint Paul, was created in response to the international COVID-19 crisis and subsequent racism directed at Asian communities. 
Thank you, Hannah!