Making History Count

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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Making History Count

By: grabitsdm | December 24, 2009
When it comes to showing the worth of local history, some have noted a certain amount of difficulty in making the case to elected leaders. Perhaps one way for local historical organizations in Minnesota to further demonstrate the practicality of their missions is to become involved with the 2010 Census.

In a press release earlier today, State Demographer Tom Gillaspy noted that Minnesota stands to lose one congressional seat for the lack of 1,100 people. One of the biggest issues is where Minnesota's snowbirds are counted. For months the state has gotten the message out that snowbirds need to remember their home state when returning the census.

Is there a role here for local historical organizations? Many are in solid contact with their snowbird members through newsletters and other means. It seems to be within the twofold interest of Minnesota's local historical organizations to use their contacts to help with the 2010 Census. First, the primary responsibility of local history organizations is to record history while it happens. The Census is a once-every-10-years snapshot of who lives in the United States - history as it happens. Second, recording the census accurately will augment reference libraries in the future. Most local historical organizations provide wonderful reference libraries that contain copies of past census returns.

Ensuring that Minnesota's population is accurately counted could help preserve the state's eight congressional seats, which then in turn would influence the amount of federal aid coming to the state and its local governments. And, ensuring accuracy in the census will help our reference libraries in the future (year 2082). What is your historical organization doing to help with the 2010 Census?