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Collecting pieces of Minnesota's past for the future

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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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Top hat owned by Floyd B. Olson

By: admin | Item of the Day | January 6, 2011
Top hat owned by Floyd B. Olson

This black silk top hat that belonged to Governor Floyd B. Olson (1931-36) was made by Dobbs 5th Ave. New York and sold by Malmstedt in Minneapolis. The governor's initials are inside the hat's crown. Circa 1930.

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Leading Minnesota: Items from four governors and their times

By: admin | Our Favorite Things | January 5, 2011
Mark Dayton was inaugurated on January 3, 2011, as the 40th governor of Minnesota. In honor of this event, the Minnesota Historical Society created this slideshow featuring unique items from the MHS collections related to four of Minnesota’s past governors: Alexander Ramsey, Knute Nelson, Floyd B. Olson and Harold Stassen. These are just a few of the many manuscripts and objects associated with Minnesota politics in the Historical Society’s vast collections.

Death mask of Governor Knute Nelson

By: admin | Item of the Day | January 5, 2011
Death mask of Governor Knute Nelson

Upon his death in 1923, this mask of Knute Nelson was cast. Death masks were common among high profile figures in the 18th and early 19th centuries, and Nelson’s is one of many in the Minnesota Historical Society’s collection. The mask is made of plaster of Paris and painted dark brown.

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Hide frock coat owned by Alexander Ramsey

By: admin | Item of the Day | January 4, 2011
Hide frock coat owned by Alexander Ramsey (front)Hide frock coat owned by Alexander Ramsey (back)

This leather coat was owned by Alexander Ramsey who served as Minnesota's second governor from 1860 to 1863. Modeled on a European cloth frock coat, garments like these were popular among the Metis of the Red River Valley in the first half of the nineteenth century. The coat is elaborately decorated with quillwork embroidery and glass beads. Ramsey may have acquired the coat when he attended the 1851 Traverse des Sioux treaty signing.

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'Happy New Year, 1886'

By: admin | Item of the Day | December 31, 2010
'Happy New Year, 1886'

Postcard wishing a happy New Year from the Joliet, Illinois Whist Club, showing photographs of Fred C. Wilcox, J. A. Doolittle, Sanger Steel, Lou H. Hyde, Ed. S. Munroe, and J. H. Breckenridge. Dated 1886.

New Year's card from Viet Nam

By: admin | Item of the Day | December 30, 2010
New Year's card from Viet Nam

New Year's card consists of faux woodgrain card stock. Front of card reads "Happy New Year" in red calligraphy. Cut out rectangular window contains a satin textile of pale green groundcloth and shows a woman with crossed legs sitting on a dock over a body of water, wearing a hat and a red top. Above her, branches with green foliage extend out over the water. Above one of the branches is an image of a red hut. Inside of card contains a thin sheet of folded paper with printed lettering that reads "Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" with eight Vietnamese characters surround the printed greeting. Dated December, 1967.

'Celebrate New Year's Eve' handbill

By: admin | Item of the Day | December 29, 2010
'Celebrate New Year's Eve' handbill

"Celebrate NEW YEAR'S EVE with the Credjafawn Social Club at the Minneapolis Coliseum." Credjafawn was a black recreational club founded in 1928. This printed handbill is circa 1930-1940.

Handbill for Replacements, Hüsker Dü, New Years Eve show

By: admin | Item of the Day | December 28, 2010
Handbill for Replacements, Hüsker Dü, New Years Eve show

Letter size white paper handbill typeset with cartoon illustration of exploding "Champagne '82" bottle & glass, martini glass, balloons, choreography chart with footprints. "NEW YEARS EVE AT Goofys upper deck...dance until you can't dance no more! " E Productions, hand-lettered, Minneapolis, MN,  31 December 1981.

'Trim Twist, The Executive Exerciser'

By: admin | Item of the Day | December 27, 2010
'Trim Twist, The Executive Exerciser'

Do seasonal social gatherings and holiday dinner parties leave you feeling bloated and weighed down? Is your figure closer in resemblance to Santa’s than to Sarah Palin’s? Never fear, the solution is here! Heave those heaping hips, bust those bulging thighs and twist your way to a tighter tush with the 1968 Trim Twist Executive Exerciser! Constructed of sturdy, heavy pressed board and mounted on a metal turning mechanism, the Trim Twist will have you digging out those old Chubby Checker 45’s and Twisting the Day Away! Designed to fit snugly underneath the desk in your cubicle!

'Trim Twist, The Executive Exerciser''Trim Twist, The Executive Exerciser'

Minneapolis "Christmas City" button

By: admin | Item of the Day | December 24, 2010
Minneapolis

Minneapolis "Christmas City" button. Round pinback button is white with green border. Illustration of Christmas tree at center. Green text reads "MINNEAPOLIS BRIGHTEST / Christmas City."  Circa 1930-50.

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