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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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Cycle Runs, 1896

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 26, 2021

This map show the principal cycle runs from Minneapolis. 
It was taken from L.A.W. record and the notes of A.A. Hansen and published in The Minneapolis Times, 1896.

Happy 80th Bob!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 24, 2021

Today is Bob Dylan's 80th birthday. To acknowledge such an important milestone, we share the earliest piece of Dylaniana from our significant collection. From 1956 we have his self described "Good/Bad Poem" along with a photo of him on his friend's motorcycle, which inspired these poems. We would characterize this as a rough start on the road to becoming a Nobel Laureate.  

"Wine & Crime" Podcast Sweatshirt

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 21, 2021

This 2020 sweatshirt was created in the early months of the COVID lockout and reads "STAY THE F[wine glass image]CK HOME". The wine glass is part of the logo used by the true crime podcast Wine & Crime, who designed and distributed the sweatshirt, with a portion of proceeds going to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to support COVID-19 relief efforts. The full logo is found in white near the end of the left sleeve, along with the text "XOXO The Gals". The hosts of Wine & Crime are from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and often incorporate Minnesota references and language into their episodes.

Sinclair Lewis Map

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 20, 2021

"A map of Sinclair Lewis' United States, as it appears in his novels"
With notes by Carl Van Doren; illstrated by George Annand, 1934
On view in Sinclair Lewis: 100 Years of Main Street, now on view at the History Center!

Greenleaf Clark

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 19, 2021




Is his name or moustache more remarkable?
This is Greenleaf Clark. He was Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court in March 1881 through January 13, 1882; his tenure was short after his party did not endorse him.
He also served as a regent of the University of Minnesota from 1879 until his death in 1904 and was active in the formation of the law school there. Clark also served on the council of the Minnesota Historical Society including as president 1904.

International Museum Day

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 18, 2021

Today is International Museum Day.
This is a photo shows an historical project at the Rice County museum in Faribault, undertaken as part of the Works Progress Administration in 1936.

PIzza Joint

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 14, 2021

Remember skyways? It's been so long!
This photo shows a pizza joint in Northstar Center, Minneapolis, in 2002.
It forms part of the Minneapolis Skyways series by Dick Anderson.

Bitterns Hope

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 13, 2021

This pastel drawing was made by artist Karen Savage-Blue. It is titled "Bitterns Hope" and was created in 1993. 
It show a marsh scene of cattails and tall grasses meeting a blue-gray sky. Amidst the cattails at the left is a bird with its' long pointed yellow bill directed towards the sky; five animated white clouds arch through the sky above. 

Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 12, 2021

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month we are featuring this traditional wooden Karen musical instrument called "ter na kay klaw." It was made by Karen artist Tha Gay Paw and retailed at REACH Together in Saint Paul. It has a rectangular body and a long sloped neck that is decorated with black marker, a purple pom-pom, a gold metal sound hole with miscellaneous holes punched in, and a red leather strap. Tha Gay Paw made this instrument from items he found on walks, such as parts of lumber, part of a chair, a strap from a purse, yarn, wire, nails, and black marker.

Happy Statehood Day!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | May 11, 2021

This button was made in 1996 to commemorate Minnesota Statehood Day at the State Capitol on May 11. Buttons like these were handed out to school groups and state legislators.
The gopher is particularly fun on this year's iteration.