Collections Up Close

collections up close Blog

Collecting pieces of Minnesota's past for the future

About

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.

All MNHS Blogs

Subscribe by e-mail:

 Subscribe in a reader

Civil War Battles

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | July 1, 2021

While Gettysburg remains the most famous battle of the Civil War, Vicksburg should not be overlooked in importance. Both were fought over the days surrounding July 4 in 1863; Minnesotans fought heroically in both; and both were turning points in the war. 

Gettysburg stopped the momentum of the Confederacy in Pennsylvania; Vicksburg severed the Confederacy’s use of the Mississippi River.

Paintings of these events are located in the Governor's Reception Room, Minnesota State Capitol, Saint Paul. 1905-1915.

One is  "Fourth Minnesota Regiment Entering Vicksburg, July 4, 1863" by Francis Davis Millet; the other is the “Battle of Gettysburg” by Rufus Fairchild Zogbaum.

Learn more about these two battles here.

 

Pride Flag

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 30, 2021

Happy last official day of Pride month!
Today we share this framed photo and flag presented by Mayor Chris Coleman and Visit Saint Paul, the City's convention and visitor's bureau, to Minnesota Historical Society Director D. Stephen Elliot. The double hinged picture frame contains a photograph of LGBTQ+ Pride rainbow flags flying on the Wabasha Street Bridge in Saint Paul and one of the nylon rainbow flags flown on the bridge, which was temporarily renamed the "Freedom to Marry Bridge" in recognition of the passage of Minnesota's Freedom to Marry Act in May 2013. Happy last official day of Pride month!
Today we share this framed photo and flag presented by Mayor Chris Coleman and Visit Saint Paul, the City's convention and visitor's bureau, to Minnesota Historical Society Director D. Stephen Elliot. The double hinged picture frame contains a photograph of LGBTQ+ Pride rainbow flags flying on the Wabasha Street Bridge in Saint Paul and one of the nylon rainbow flags flown on the bridge, which was temporarily renamed the "Freedom to Marry Bridge" in recognition of the passage of Minnesota's Freedom to Marry Act in May 2013. The Act extended the right to marry to same-sex couples in Minnesota and took effect August 1, 2013.

Eliza Hamilton Letter

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 29, 2021

Eliza Hamilton, widow of Alexander Hamilton, wrote this letter in 1837 to Maria Montgomery in New York City, describing an excursion to the Falls of Saint Anthony, featuring her impressions of the area's Native people and landscape. 
A typed transcript made by Minnesota Historical Society staff can be seen here.

Paul Bunyan Day!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 28, 2021

It's National Paul Bunyan Day!
While all heavily forested areas seem to claim Paul as their own, we have the collections to back our claim up!
This is just one example: a pair of identical ceramic salt or pepper shakers are in the form of Paul Bunyan, circa 1950. But how to tell which is salt and which is pepper?

African American Music Month!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 25, 2021

June is African American Music Appreciation Month!

It was initially created by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 to recognize and celebrate the African American musical influences on all types of music.

In honor of that we share this sign advertising the Sounds of Blackness, a Twin Cities-based music ensemble led by choir director Gary Hines. Three of the group's recordings have won Grammy awards. The sign was originally displayed on a bus operated by the Jefferson Transportation Company of Minneapolis during the 1970s.

Patrick Coleman!

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

Today's Item of the Day is not an item, rather a person!
Our dear colleague Patrick Coleman's birthday is today. Since he is retiring in early August, this is our last chance to celebrate/embarrass him!
We are not sharing his age, but he has worked here for 43 years as Acquisitions Librarian, making sure the MNHS Gale Family Library is always up to date on the best and most important printed works relating to our state and the upper midwest.

He is a font of knowledge and we will miss him!
Happy birthday!

Boats!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 23, 2021

This lithograph print made by Alexander Oja is titled "Government Boat (copy 1)." 
It shows a riverside scene with a small boat drawn up next to large stern-wheeler. Behind it on the shore is a locomotive, several buildings, and grain elevators.  
It was made for the WPA art project in 1941.

Camping!

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | June 22, 2021

It's the time of year for camping adventures here in the great north!
This postcard is a generic one from 1940 showing several fun camping activities; there's a blank to fill in where one is sending the card from. This happened to come from Aitken.

Father's Day

By: Lori Williamson | Collections Up Close | June 21, 2021

We hope everyone had a good Father's Day yesterday!
Today we share this Poppin' Fresh Father's Day Sugar Cookies Refrigerated Dough packaging. It was created circa 1980. 
Hope all you dads out there got cookies too!

Happy Juneteenth!

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

Juneteenth is the holiday commemorating the abolition of slavery in the United States as announced on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas.

Juneteenth has been celebrated as a community holiday for over 30 years in the Twin Cities; Minneapolis declared it an official holiday this year. 

This "Minnesota Soul" T-shirt was designed and produced by Lee Jordan. It was sold at the 1990 Juneteenth celebration, Minneapolis. 

Pages