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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Charles Lindbergh Jr.

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 4, 2021

Today is Charles Lindbergh Jr.'s birthday. While Lindbergh is a complicated figure, he is undoubtedly one of the most famous Minnesotans. 
Learn more about the resources associated with him here.

Snazzy Shoes

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 3, 2021

These women's black leather high-heeled pumps include details as decorative cutouts and black bead decorations. They were purchased from the Golden Rule in Saint Paul in 1890.

Ground-hog Day

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 2, 2021

This poster is promoting the Ground-hog Day Dance. At the top there is a sketch of a ground-hog being chased by his own shadow. 
Any excuse for a dance, perhaps? This is made between 1980-89.

Debbie Montgomery

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

Happy Black History month! 

Throughout the month in Item of the Day we will focus on various influential and inspirational African American women.
Today we start with Debbie Montgomery. She was the first woman to attend the St. Paul Police Academy, and served as a police officer for twenty-eight years. She was the first youth to be elected to the NAACP National Board and went on to become the first black woman to be elected to St. Paul's City Council. We have her oral history discussing her life and growing up in Rondo in the Library; she is also featured in the Extraordinary Women exhibit.

Ice Skating

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

Have you been ice skating yet this year?
This photograph from 1945 shows a woman and boys ice skating. 

Saint Paul Winter Carnival Starts!

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

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival kicks off today, celebrating its 135 year!
This poster is undated but likely from the 1930s. It features a bear wearing a jester's costume and playing guitar. 
Check out the Library's Research Guide to learn more about the Carnival!

Winter Art

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | January 27, 2021

This winter scene by Bob Brown is called "Water and Rail."  At the lower right it shows a boat pulling up to a snowy shore; at the lower left are small shacks along the shore. A moving train runs horizontally through the center of the picture past taller buildings.  It was painted in 1937 as part of the WPA Art Project. 


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

As we look forward to more of our fellow citizens receiving the vaccine for COVID-19, throughout January we will share information about vaccines in the past. 
This poster encourages Minnesotan to get a vaccine against the Swine Flu in 1976. 

School Desk

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

Today is the International Day of Education!
What could be more iconic than a school desk? This cast iron and wood school desk was used in the Watonwan school district circa 1889-1919.

Minnesota Public Radio

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

Minnesota Public Radio first broadcast on this day, January 22, 1967. It was founded by Bill Kling and St. John's University President Colman Barry at the school's campus in Collegeville. 
This photo is of Tom Keith and Lynne Cruise mixing the sound at the World Theater during a live broadcast of "A Prairie Home Companion" in 1985.