Collections Up Close

collections up close Blog

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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Archiving Film at MNHS

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | July 16, 2021

From our film archivists:

"We proudly present this behind-the-scenes showcase of the Minnesota Historical Society's film digitization process, made collaboratively with local production company Wheel•House. We wholeheartedly believe in the importance of preserving Minnesota's audiovisual legacy, and as stewards of the past who preserve these stories, we wanted to give viewers an intimate look at our work."

Find it here:

Recent Acquisitions Newsletter

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | July 15, 2021

Click on the image to check out our new Recent Acquisitions Newsletter!
It will be published around the 15th of each month, with highlights from the month before.

All are welcome

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

This 8" x 11" poster was created by small business owners Danny and Elana Schwartzman, owners of Common Roots Cafe in Minneapolis, in 2015.

Mail Tricycle

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

This is a photo of a mail tricycle from 1905.

Develop the Power that is Within You

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

This poster shows a man sitting, leaning over a book on his knee. The man is wearing overalls, and the scene behind him appears to be an industrial setting. Text at bottom promotes the National Bank of Germantown. 
The poster was originally part of a campaign to make people aware of the resources available to them for free at the library, in 1923. It has been repurposed here by the bank, to encourage people to save. 
Both are always timely reminders!


By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | July 9, 2021

This painting is simply titled, "Summer."
It was painted in 1905 by Alice LeDuc and is described as a summer rural landscape scene. It shows a grassy hill edges with trees is in the immediate foreground. In the distance is rural farmland dotted with farm buildings. The sky is hazy and green gray.


By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | July 8, 2021

Isn't this pretty?
This is a Western Flyer bicycle used by Paul Waller of Golden Valley, circa 1930s.

Summer maternity ensemble

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | July 7, 2021

This is a homemade maternity ensemble from 1950s. It features a sleeveless cotton top in white with a red and blue rope print and an empire waist and matching shorts with a U-shaped cutout at center back.

Picnic Time

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | July 6, 2021

This picnic basket with dishes used by Beneta and John McHie in Minneapolis circa 1950s.  Beneta McHie, a Saint Paul-born woman from a prominent African American family, was heavily involved in the education of women and minorities and social justice issues. The McHie's often used the basket for picnics after playing tennis.

Midsummer Night's Dream

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | July 5, 2021

Traditionally "midsummer" is taken to be the solstice; however this time in July seems more midsummer to us.
Today's Item of the Day is a book from 2013 titled "Act V." From the web page by its creator Harriet Bart, this is its origin: "ACT V was created as an exploration of public art that seeks out and disperses visual art to non-traditional audiences. Made possible by an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, this special edition artist's book was produced to complement Ten Thousand Things Theater's production of William Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. Act V was distributed, post performance, to audience members at Cornerstone, a battered women's shelter, and at Wayside, a women's residential addiction recovery community." 
The MNHS Gale Family Library is proud to have a copy as well.