Minnesota Local History

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.

All MNHS Blogs

Subscribe by e-mail:

 Subscribe in a reader

History Where It Happens– Historical Markers in Minnesota

By: Elizabeth Koele | Interpretation | May 9, 2022

You might spot historical markers at interstate rest areas, local and state parks, or at simple pull-offs along the road. They come in different shapes, sizes, and materials, but all share a similar purpose–to draw attention to history. They stand as a reminder that history happens everywhere and isn’t solely confined to museums and historic sites. There’s countless stories to tell and an unlimited number of places to tell them.

Many states have prolific historical marker programs, with thousands of markers spread across their landscapes. Here in Minnesota, we also have plenty of markers to go around and a long history of erecting them.

History of the Minnesota Marker Program

Minnesota’s historical marker program was inspired by the exponential increase in automobile traffic and expansion of the trunk highway system in the 1920s. The Minnesota Historical Society and Minnesota Highway Department (a predecessor to the Minnesota Department of Transportation) joined together to mark historic locations and capture the attention of tourists traveling across the state along new roads.The earliest markers took the form of steel plates, painted white with black lettering. The signs were placed just along the road with the intent that motorists could read the content without halting their journey, undoubtedly made possible by naturally slower traffic.

A pair of people stand before a white metal sign framed with a log mount. The marker is titled "Christmas Lake"

Christmas Lake historical marker in Shorewood, Minnesota. Circa 1939. Image from Minnesota Historical Society Collections

Gradually, the program began to erect more substantial structures to display the markers. Throughout the late 1930s and 1940s, New Deal groups like the National Youth Administration (NYA) constructed elaborate brick or stone “shrines” to frame metal plaques. This marker style required visitors to stop and get a closer view to read. As time progressed, these “permanent” markers continued to evolve into plaques mounted on more straightforward plinths of concrete and stone.

For those traveling around Minnesota today, they’ll mainly encounter markers erected in the last fifty years. Beginning in the 1960s, the marker program shifted away from complex construction to simpler aluminum signs cast by Sewah Studios, an Ohio company responsible for creating numerous states’ historical markers. These less-intrusive markers led to a greater variety of locations–moving beyond major highways. MNHS continued to steadily erect new markers in this style until the early 2000s, when a reduction in funding paused the program.

Surveying Markers

A twenty-year break can create a lot of questions. Where are the markers and are they still there? What do they look like and what do they mark? There’s some catching up to do, and this is where I come into the picture.

For the last several months I’ve been traveling the back roads of Minnesota, hunting for historical markers. Pulling from past records and sources like “Minnesota History Along the Highways,” I compiled a list of markers to search for–a little over 200 markers erected by or directly connected to MNHS.

The next challenge was determining where to search for the markers. Some were easy to track down on maps and crowdsourced websites, while others required scanning Google satellite and street views or even piecing together clues from photographs. Once located, I travel to a marker and record GPS coordinates, take extensive photographs, and note its physical condition. The photos also allow me to transcribe a marker’s text later.

A vertical stone structure surroudning a dark metal plaque titled "Christmas Lake"

Christmas Lake historical marker in Shorewood, Minnesota. Surveyed October 27, 2021. Photo by Liz Koele.

At this point in the project, only a small handful of markers remain to be surveyed. Next steps include taking a closer look at their stories, processing the collected survey data, and preparing a report with recommendations for the future of the marker program. In the meantime, stay tuned for updates on the MNHS historical marker program in the future.

Historical Markers Near You

Despite the focus on the state marker program, there’s no monopoly on markers in Minnesota. MNHS is far from the only organization to erect historical markers. Created by local historical societies, civic organizations, and others, Minnesota is home to thousands of markers beyond those included in our survey.

If you want to explore markers across the state, check out websites like The Historical Marker Database or the Historical Marker Project. Consider getting familiar with your local markers and keeping an eye out while traveling. You might be surprised by what you find!

In Memory of Denis Gardner, 1965-2022

By: Todd Mahon | Preservation & Facilities | May 6, 2022
Composite image: Left to right: Denis with beard and scarf; Denis in baseball cap with Saint Paul municipal grain terminal head house in background; Center: Denis with Minnesota State Capitol East stairs behind him; Denis at his desk at MNHS

As noted in the May 4, 2022, edition of the Local History News, Denis Gardner, Minnesota’s National Register Historian, passed away unexpectedly on March 4, 2022. His work with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and his important research and writing about Minnesota’s historic places brought him in close contact with many in Minnesota’s history network. 

His professional work in the field began in 1996 as a historian for Minneapolis’s Hess Roise and Company. With that work, he developed a strong connection to the National Register of Historic Places through various projects with the firm. He struck out on his own and worked as an independent consultant, researching and writing nominations for properties to be listed on the National Register. With this deep experience, as well as his published books, Denis became a National Register Historian with SHPO in 2011, where he managed the National Register program for the Minnesota Historical Society. In 2018, SHPO, along with Denis, transferred from MNHS to the State of Minnesota. 

Denis leaves behind an impressive record of work that will benefit Minnesotans for generations to come. He wrote books about the state’s bridges, the construction and restoration of the Capitol building, and books about the state’s other National Register properties. He conducted countless book talks, lectures, and programs at local history organizations across the state. 

These contributions to the historical record and sharing it with so many people are perhaps only matched by the friendships that he forged with many of us. Denis was… a character. He often had us all laughing at his small quirks and independent attitude. Melinda Hutchinson, Grants Specialist, said, “Denis was a wonderful guy--intelligent, dedicated, witty. He put up with all my sassy remarks and good-natured ribbing. In return, he called me one of his favorite people. He was one of mine, too, and I will miss him.” Carolyn Veeser-Egbide, our Grants Office manager, noted Denis’s (extreme) enthusiasm for bridges when she said, “I have fond memories of him, especially stories involving his love of bridges. His knowledge of Minnesota resources was impressive, and he could easily recall many details when most of us would need to look them up. I’ll miss him!”

And miss him we do. We still have moments of reaching for the phone to call him or drafting an email to ask him a question. There are still so many things that are “good questions for Denis.” It’s a reminder that his duties will be taken over and continued, but he will not be replaced. Thanks for being a great colleague to all of us, Denis, and thanks for leaving behind a legacy for Minnesota to benefit from. 

There will be a memorial service for Denis in the L’Etoile du Nord vault (room B015) at the Minnesota State Capitol on Saturday, May 14 at 11:00 am. 

 

Holiday Inclusion in your Posts

By: Joe Hoover | Local History | Mission & Management | Community Outreach | January 28, 2022
Watercolor of a fireplace with holiday icons built in and around it. A person in Kwanzaa hat and garment and a mummer are acting as architectural columns holding up lintel above mirror. Santa Claus and St. Lucia act  as architectural columns holding up mantal above the fireplace. On the fireplace mantel is a Kwanzaa cup, a Menorah a Dreidel, a Christmas Tree. In front of the fireplace to the left is a Yule goat. A red stocking hangs off the fireplace mantel in the center.

Take a long look at your postings around the winter holidays. Are they fairly Christmas-centric? Do Hanukkah and Kwanzaa feel like add-ons? Or worse, are they simply ignored? Some history organizations strive to strike a balance but most do not.

For nearly ten years each week as part of my work in the Local History Services office at the Minnesota Historical Society, I put out the e-newsletter ‘Local History News.’ Much of the e-newsletter functions as a digest of what local history organizations around Minnesota are posting on their social media accounts.

Each week, I review posts on over 300 history organizations with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to capture news and events of what is happening in the world of Minnesota’s local history community to add to the e-newsletter. Years of doing this have left me with some insights from the long view of seeing what is posted.

Another holiday season is behind us and in my years looking at posts I have noticed a pattern. Each holiday season, I see hundreds of posts on Christmas, yet little-to-no posts recognizing any other holiday during that time. This year I decided to do a little unscientific counting to see how posting on the holidays adds up. This shows some curious numbers.

I counted years from 2018 to 2021 doing simple keyword searches for each holiday. To keep my time and project manageable, I limited my scope to only searching Facebook and the 76 county historical societies that have a presence on that platform.

It is not surprising over four years Christmas dwarfs other holidays in the number of Facebook postings it gets - 1461 by my count. But what is surprising is the lack of acknowledgment by history organizations to other holidays of the season in their Facebook posts. The next highest is Hanukkah with only 13 posts and Kwanzaa (or Kwanza) gets a total of 7 posts over four years. Typically the postings are done by the same organizations. Usually, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are in a message that ties it with Christmas such as “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!” rather than a stand-alone message about the holiday. Yule, which was mentioned 4 times was always tied to Christmas. Standalone  "Happy Holidays" messages occurred 49 times in four years.

Holiday Season Posts by County Historical Societies
YEAR CHRISTMAS EASTER HOLIDAYS HANUKKAH RAMADAN KWANZAA
(or Kwanza)
PASSOVER YULE
2021 376 35 11 3 1 3 1 1
2020 333 25 10 7 0 4 2 2
2019 407 25 13 0 0 0 1 1
2018 345 14 15 3 1 0 0 0
TOTAL 1461 99 49 13 2 7 4 4
 
Average 365.25 24.75 12.25 3.25 0.5 1.75 1 1

Outside of the Holiday Season

If you’re going hard into the Christmas season it is only fair to look at a few of the holidays outside of it. Enter: Easter, Passover, and Ramadan.

It can be said of Christmas it is a commercial holiday (similar to Halloween and Valentine's Day both of which also receive a lot of posts), and that reflects the majority of posts by history organizations, most being tied to events, gift sales, and requests for donations. Only a small amount of the 1461 posts can be considered non-commercial and posted in the true recognition of the holiday. The number of Easter posts gives a better idea of posting on the holiday rather than using it to raise funds. Between  2018 and 2021 I counted a total of 99 posts from county historical societies on Easter. Far less than the 1461 posts for Christmas. However, the other during that time Passover and Ramadan received only 4 posts and 1 post respectively from county historical societies.

Other Holiday Posts by County historical societies
YEAR EASTER PASSOVER RAMADAN
2021 35 1 1
2020 25 2 0
2019 25 1 0
2018 14 0 1
TOTAL 99 4 2
 
Average 24.75 1 0.5

Holiday posts by the Minnesota Historical Society

If I am going to count the postings by county historical societies it is only fair that I include the Facebook posts by the Minnesota Historical Society. Between  2018 and 2021 I counted a total of 47 posts on Christmas using the criteria used for county historical societies; 10 posts for Hanukkah; 4 posts for Kwanzaa; 0 posts for Yule; 4 posts for Easter; 2 posts for Passover; and 1 post for Ramadan. Posts with Happy Holidays messages numbered at 9.

Holiday posts by the Minnesota Historical Society
YEAR CHRISTMAS HANUKKAH KWANZAA YULE HOLIDAYS EASTER PASSOVER RAMADAN
2021 7 3 2 0 2 1 1 1
2020 5 3 1 0 1 1 1 0
2019 16 2 1 0 4 1 0 0
2018 19 2 0 0 2 1 0 0
TOTAL 47 10 4 0 9 4 2 1

 

History organizations have goals beyond Christmas nostalgia, warm fuzzies, and income generation. Social media posting needs to reflect that. Don't stop celebrating Christmas or using it as a seasonal fundraiser as many do, but acknowledging other cultures in a diverse society is significant. History organizations work teaching local cultural information. In doing that work, it is important to bring attention to cultures, not in the mainstream and help examine cultural assumptions held by the local mainstream population. We are a Christmas-centric society where 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas (54% celebrate it as secular). However, your non-Christmas holiday posts can make observers of other religions outside of Christianity feel welcomed and celebrated by your organization. Posts on non-Christmas Holidays also acknowledge to your social media followers there are active cultural traditions different from their own in and outside their community.

How I counted…

The posts had to have happened during the holiday season they are associated with, postings such as “Christmas in July” were not counted. Comments in the posts where people mentioned the holiday when the post did not contain mention of the holiday were not counted either. The numerous postings of Christmas photos, Santa photos, Christmas tree photos, Christmas card images were not counted either if the post did not say Christmas in it (I suspect that it could double the Christmas count). Many other religious holidays, most notably in the fall, were not counted.

Looking for a list of holidays and religious observances? The University of Minnesota's Office for Equity and Diversity keeps a very comprehensive list »

Creating a Disaster Response Kit

By: Megan Narvey | Conservation | December 21, 2021

Imagine that overnight, a pipe bursts in your collections storage room. You get to work in the morning, and one of your shelving units is soaked. You make sure everyone is safe, turn off the water, and activate the call tree described in your collections emergency plan. Thankfully, your emergency plan has detailed instructions on how to salvage and dry out the wet collection items! But first, you’re going to need to find some polyethylene sheeting, towels, blotting paper, a spare table, a clipboard, a pencil, nitrile gloves, a mop, a fan, and a flashlight. How quickly are you going to be able to gather your supplies?

Response speed is essential when salvaging collections materials in a water-based emergency situation. Very few types of materials in museum collections are immune to water damage. The longer something is wet, the worse the staining or bleeding dyes will be, and the more likely things will become warped, corroded, or moldy. Personal safety must always come before collections are salvaged, but once the situation is safe you will want to act promptly.

The first step to take to reduce the impact an emergency will have on the collection is to develop a collections emergency plan. After you have your emergency plan, the next step is to create a disaster response kit.

What is a disaster response kit?

A  disaster response kit is a collection of tools, equipment, and other materials that can be used to respond to a collections emergency. The kit should include enough supplies to fully respond to a small emergency, or to adequately respond to a larger emergency until more supplies can be purchased. It may be stored in a fixed location, such as a supply closet, or it may be mobile so that supplies can easily be moved to the needed location. The kit might be a small one for use in a single storage space; a larger one for your entire organization; or an even larger one to be shared between multiple organizations in a region.  

The contents of the kit should be specific to the needs of your organization. If you live in a flood prone area, you may want to focus efforts on preparing for that situation. Similarly, if your collection consists mostly of books and paper items, then your kit should be aimed at the needs of these materials. 

What does a disaster response kit contain?

Your disaster plan should help you prepare the contents of your kit by answering the following questions:

  • Which emergency situations are the most likely to occur? 
  • Which emergency situations would have the biggest impact on my collection? 
  • What materials in the collection are most at risk in an emergency situation?
  • What techniques and materials would be needed to recover the affected collections?

In general, a disaster kit should contain the following key components: a container, documentation materials, instructional documents, personal safety equipment, tools for scene/environmental control, collections salvage supplies, and other tools. Here are some examples of what you could include in your kit.

Container

  • Backpacks
  • Wheeled crates
  • Plastic storage bins
  • Milk crates
  • Mobile trash can
  • Cabinets with doors/wheels
  • Push carts

Documentation Materials

  • Name tags
  • Clipboard
  • Notepads
  • Mechanical pencils, Sharpies, grease pencil, pens
  • Tape measure
  • Tie-on labels (paper or Tyvek)
  • Adhesive labels
  • Disposable camera

Instructional Documents

  • Emergency Salvage Wheel or other salvage guidelines
  • Copy of disaster plan
  • Floor plans
  • Gallery case access guides
  • Priority object locations
  • Loan agreements
  • Object damage reports

Other Tools

  • Wrench
  • Screwdrivers
  • Hatchet
  • Utility knife and blades
  • Nylon or polypropylene rope
  • Cable ties
  • Scissors
  • Crow bar
  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Waterproof extension cord/power strip
  • Wet vac
  • Fans
  • Dehumidifier
  • Portable generator
  • Folding tables

Personal Safety Equipment

  • Safety goggles
  • Disposable apron
  • Hard hat
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Reusable respirators or N95 masks
  • First aid kit
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Work gloves
  • Drinking water

Scene/Environmental Control

  • Temperature and relative humidity spot checker
  • 6-mil polyethylene sheeting
  • Garbage bags
  • Duct tape
  • Caution tape
  • Mop and bucket
  • Door wedges
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Walkie talkies
  • Head lamp with batteries
  • Work lights and extra bulbs

Collections Salvage Supplies

  • Polyethylene zip top bags
  • Cotton string
  • Nylon monofilament
  • Plastic wash tubs and trays
  • Paper towels
  • White cotton rags
  • Unprinted newspaper
  • White cotton terry cloth
  • Wax paper
  • Freezer paper
  • Reemay
  • Mylar
  • Corrugated plastic board
  • Screens
  • Clothes pins/plastic clips
  • Clean brushes
  • Wood blocks or similar for stacking and propping things off the ground

More considerations

  • Disaster response kits require upkeep and maintenance. 
  • Some components of the kit will expire (nitrile gloves, first aid kits, batteries, etc.) 
  • Kits should be regularly inventoried to ensure that all the tools and materials you expect will be there when needed.
  • Many (not all) of the materials are consumables and will need to be replaced after use.
  • Ensure that your organization has a strategy to keep your kit sustainable over the long term. 
  • The creation of a disaster response kit can be funded with a Minnesota History and Cultural Heritage Grant! Read more about these grants at this link, and by watching the video below.   

More resources

MNHS Grants Manual - see page 71 for specific details about creating a disaster response kit.

Connecting to Collections Care webinar: Collections Emergency Kits

Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts: Emergency Supply Kits

Conserve O Gram: Emergency Cart for Salvaging Water Damaged Objects

MNHS: Disaster Response and Recovery Resources

Historic buildings: Identifying and Reading Architecture

By: Tamsin Himes | Local History | Preservation & Facilities | June 28, 2021

Image by Tamsin Himes

As a design reviewer at the Minnesota Historical Society, I am lucky that as part of my job I get to see a lot of interesting and varied architecture from around the state. I have enjoyed a front-row seat to some fantastic preservation projects. Helping people who are passionate about their built history and seeing those preservation projects progress and succeed is exciting and fulfilling. 

Another part of my job is being able to identify architectural features and read buildings. For me, this isn't merely a part of my job that I enjoy -- I feel it should be important to anyone interested in the history of their community or in built history in general. I’m passionate about preservation and I believe that the more we understand about architecture, the more we will realize its importance and will be invested in preserving it.

Why does this matter? 

You might ask "But wait, can this actually help me? Why should I invest time in learning about random architecture creatures?" There are actually a ton of benefits to being able to "read" architecture. Here are three (of the many) ways knowing how to identify architecture and recognize features can help you. 

1) It can help identify a general window date of construction.

2) It can help you identify construction methods and techniques 

3) It can help you understand the significance of the building 

Note: this blog post is focusing on exterior elements and features -- there is a mountain of information about the layout, plan, interior design and features of a building that also help to identify it. But that would be another blog post altogether.

Identify date of construction. Often there are papers, drawings, photographs or other documentation that can pinpoint the date of construction of a particular building. But sometimes there is no tangible documentation and so we have to rely on observation of the building to give us clues. (Side note: If you’re planning on doing some major preservation work to your building, then we highly recommend consulting with a historic architect who has the expertise to analyze your building completely). But for an informal study of a building, if you have the ability to see key identifying features, then you can more often than not, place a building in a window of time when that architecture style was most prominent. For example, Second Empire (1855–1885), Craftsman (1905–1930), Queen Anne (1880-1910).

Construction methods and techniques. If you have an idea of the time period in which a building was built, then you have valuable insight into the construction of the building as a whole and techniques or materials that were likely used. Examples of this could be lath and plaster, roofing materials/techniques (such as slate, wood shakes or shingles, etc), different types of stone or brick patterns that indicate specific masonry techniques, mortar type, or asbestos-containing materials. All of this is valuable knowledge to those who are involved with historic architecture. 

Understanding Significance. An important part of working with built history is understanding how the building interacts with and contributes to its surroundings. Does it contribute to an important time in the community? Does it represent some iconic art form? Does it provide physical evidence of a change or progression in the historic economy? These are all aspects of architecture that you can understand better if you know how to read the architectural elements of a building.

So, how does one get started in learning how to read historic buildings?

An easy place to start is to choose an architectural style that you like and learn some basics about it. You can start with a Google search or a reference book. Here are some great resources that may be helpful: 

Books: “A Field Guide to American Houses” Virginia Savage McAlester. “How to Date Buildings” Trevor Yorke. “American House Styles” John Milnes Baker. Digital resources: Architectural Styles of America and Europe (architecturestyles.org), Pevsner’s Architectural Glossary (a mobile app), and don't forget Google! 

Let's take Gothic Revival for instance. After a quick read/search I can find a few key features of this architecture style: cross gable, steeply pitched roof, one-story flat-roofed porch, tall vertical windows, the classic gothic arch, and decorative barge-board detailing. There are many others, but these are a few of the most prominent.

Once I know these few features I can practice identifying them on buildings, like this:

Note: reading/identifying buildings and their features is far from cut and dry. Often there are elements of several styles in one building. But if you know the basics, then you can learn to pick apart buildings and read their stories. 

By far the best way to start is simply to notice the architecture around you. Go on a walk, drive or run and look at the architecture that is in your neighborhood or town. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to identify some buildings and many of their features. It's the best way to practice SEEING architecture because so often the architecture closest to us that we see every day is the same that we do not really see. Or at least do not notice. Also, look at your own house -- even if it's modern, you’ll probably be able to see elements taken from older styles and nods to major architectural movements.  

You may have heard writers say they don’t know what they think until they write about it -- or artists say they don’t know what they’ve seen until they paint it. That is how I feel about architecture and having the words to describe and name features and building types, So often we don’t know what we're seeing or experiencing until we can identify and name it.

-------------------------------------

Questions about this blog or requests for future blog posts? Contact us at localhistory@mnhs.org

Modifying Historic Properties for Increased Accessibility - Panel Conversation

By: Todd Mahon | Preservation & Facilities | June 11, 2021

Webinar Recording from June 3, 2021

Moderators: Julia Larson and Todd Mahon. Panelists: David Fenley, Minnesota Council on Disability; Ray Bloomer, National Park Service's National Accessibility Support Program; and Bill Wright and Bess McCollough with Collaborative Design Group, Inc.

 

A conversation among accessibility and design professionals about the intersections between accessibility and historic preservation.

David has been with the Minnesota Council on Disability since 2014. He transitioned from legislative work to ADA education and outreach throughout Minnesota. David, a certified access specialist, informs entities across the state about Disability awareness, ADA obligations, Minnesota’s Accessibility Code, digital accessibility.

Ray works with the National Park Service’s National Accessibility Support Program. He has significant experience in training and consulting on accessibility in historic sites, both in physical and programmatic accessibility.

Bill is an award-winning designer, and a leader of CDG's Preservation and Adaptive Reuse practices.

Bess is a Senior Designer and Project Manager at CDG, specializing in Preservation, Adaptive Reuse and Universal Design practices.

This session was one of four from a half-day workshop focused on accessibility in historic buildings. 

  1. Disability and The ADA: Cultural, Demographic, Legal and Technical Implications
  2. Accessibility to Historic Sites; the Decision Process
  3. Strategies for Accessibility Improvements to Historic Properties
  4. Modifying Historic Properties for Increased Accessibility - Panel Conversation

Strategies for Accessibility Improvements to Historic Properties

By: Todd Mahon | Preservation & Facilities | June 11, 2021

Webinar Recording from June 3, 2021

Bill Hickey, Principal and Bess McCollough, Architect with Collaborative Design Group

Description: This session will consider strategies for increasing physical access to historic structures. Universal Design concepts will be reviewed, with methods and construction approaches illustrated through review of case studies.

Bill is an award-winning designer, and a leader of CDG's Preservation and Adaptive Reuse practices. Bess is a Senior Designer and Project Manager at CDG, specializing in Preservation, Adaptive Reuse and Universal Design practices.

This session was one of four from a half-day workshop focused on accessibility in historic buildings. 

  1. Disability and The ADA: Cultural, Demographic, Legal and Technical Implications
  2. Accessibility to Historic Sites; the Decision Process
  3. Strategies for Accessibility Improvements to Historic Properties
  4. Modifying Historic Properties for Increased Accessibility - Panel Conversation

Accessibility to Historic Sites; the Decision Process

By: Todd Mahon | Preservation & Facilities | June 11, 2021

Webinar Recording from June 3, 2021

Ray Bloomer, Accessibility Specialist

Description: The process of deciding how to make historic structures and sites accessible to people with disabilities, must consider multiple factors. This session will discuss types of structures, types of changes to be considered, limitations and uses of the structures, along with what to do if all areas of historic structures cannot be made accessible. This session is intended to provide participants with guidance in order to successfully strike a balance between accessibility and preservation.

Ray Bloomer works with the National Park Service’s National Accessibility Support Program. He has significant experience in training and consulting on accessibility in historic sites, both in physical and programmatic accessibility.

This session was one of four from a half-day workshop focused on accessibility in historic buildings. 

  1. Disability and The ADA: Cultural, Demographic, Legal and Technical Implications
  2. Accessibility to Historic Sites; the Decision Process
  3. Strategies for Accessibility Improvements to Historic Properties
  4. Modifying Historic Properties for Increased Accessibility - Panel Conversation

 

Disability and The ADA: Cultural, Demographic, Legal and Technical Implications

By: Todd Mahon | Preservation & Facilities | June 11, 2021

Webinar Recording from June 3, 2021

David Fenley, ADA Director, Minnesota Council on Disability

Description: This session will discuss how disability and the ADA affects society and people’s lives. It will provide a demographic and cultural analysis of disability while setting the stage for the technical application of the ADA.

David has been with the Minnesota Council on Disability since 2014. He transitioned from legislative work to ADA education and outreach throughout Minnesota. David, a certified access specialist, informs entities across the state about Disability awareness, ADA obligations, Minnesota’s Accessibility Code, digital accessibility.

This session was one of four from a half-day workshop focused on accessibility in historic buildings. 

  1. Disability and The ADA: Cultural, Demographic, Legal and Technical Implications
  2. Accessibility to Historic Sites; the Decision Process
  3. Strategies for Accessibility Improvements to Historic Properties
  4. Modifying Historic Properties for Increased Accessibility - Panel Conversation

New Executive Order Changes Face-Covering Requirements

By: Todd Mahon | Mission & Management | May 18, 2021

Image showing on the left an illustration of the face of a person wearing a mask. On the right is an illustration of a person flexing an arm with a bandaid on the inset of the state of Minnesota. In the middle is a question mark.

Things are changing fast. Last week, we published a blog post on the state’s three-step process to wind down many of the public health measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within a matter of hours, the state announced major changes regarding the uses of face-coverings that made some of that information out-of-date. 

The big change happened with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announcement. They adjusted their recommendations to advise that fully-vaccinated people do not need to wear face-coverings in many situations. 

So what are the changes and how do they affect historic sites and museums? The three-step process is largely intact with the obvious exception of what it had said about the mask mandate expiring when the vaccination rate reached 70% or on July 1, regardless of the vaccination rate.

According to Executive Order 21-23, face-covering requirements in most situations have been lifted. People who are not vaccinated are “strongly encouraged” to wear a face-covering until they are fully vaccinated. 

It’s important to know that the executive order does not prevent political subdivisions (like cities and counties) from placing restrictions within their jurisdictions that are more strict than the executive order. It also states that nothing prevents “businesses and other private entities… from implementing otherwise lawful policies or rules related to the conduct of their employees… or customers— including lawful face-covering requirements.”

In other words, be aware of what your local orders are and a museum can require face-coverings with its own policies. 

 

Pages