Locally Lush

Minnesota Local History Blog.

Minnesota Local History Blog.

Advice and help with building history capacity.

The Minnesota Historical Society’s Local History Services helps Minnesotans preserve and share their history. This blog is a resource of best practices on the wide variety of museum, preservation, conservation, funding, and non-profit management topics. We’re here to help.

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Locally Lush

By: grabitsdm | June 3, 2009
In the Overlooking Local Museums discussion last month, the tenor was about failing to visit locally when other sites further away seem more exciting. Many people probably desire to visit Washington DC. Why not? After all it is the nation's capital and decisions made there affect so much of what happens in the world. As long as one is there soaking in firsthand its rich significance, there are plenty of museums that are part of the local flavor. Those museums have integrated themselves by supporting the ambiance of the place. The museums are as distinctive as their host city.

It seems to me that several local history organizations in Minnesota also actively seek that same kind of integration in their communities as distinctive enhancements. Although there are more to name, let me highlight just two. Anoka County Historical Society in the metro area has a strong track record of work with both the City of Anoka and around the county. ACHS assisted the City of Anoka with the creation of historic markers along a popular walking trail beside the Rum River. While people may not necessarily go for the history, the several times that I have randomly visited it there have always been people looking at the markers. In this way ACHS blends in with its host community to amplify a positive experience for residents and tourists alike by portraying the city for what it is: a place important to people.

Morrison County Historical Society in Little Falls a number of years ago likewise had the opportunity to work with its host city, but this time on a curriculum. Through what is taught in school, hopefully young residents will discover compelling reasons to stay in the community when they grow up. Many communities, even states as a whole, grapple with how to keep its young people.

There are many other strategies for integrating history, a history ethic, and clues to the support role that historical organizations have in enhancing the attractiveness of a community profile. How do you or your organization show that grass is just as green and lush locally? I don't mean what do you tell people, but what specific projects have you accomplished that are now part of the community's identity?