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

Visitation Rising?

By: admin | July 30, 2007
According to an Associated Press story on the LaCrosse, Wisc., television station WKBT, visitation at Wisconsin historic sites is up 11 percent from last year, after years of decline. According to Minnesota Tourism employment in the tourism industry here is expected to rise 19 percent this decade, apparently to meet a growing demand. While the 2007 local history survey is still coming in, the past three years do show a reported steady increase in visitation at local historical organizations in Minnesota. In 2004 total reported visitation was 934,919, in 2005 it was 964,431, and in 2006 it was 1,008,528. These numbers are likely very low as at most 130 of the 350 organizations reported on visitation. Do you see an increase in attendance at your historical organization? What do you think is driving renewed interest in local history?

Refining without upsetting

By: admin | July 23, 2007
In the course of our comprehensive inventory project, we are discovering many redundant items in our collection and are about to start deaccessioning some of the items. We do have a policy in place, but are wondering if any of you have advice about the deaccessioning process that would help us refine our collection without upsetting donors, families, or the community.

Thank you!

Ann Grandy
Pope County Historical Society

Community Service Interpretation

By: admin | July 16, 2007
The June 26, 2007 issue of the Mankato Free Press noted the Blue Earth County Historical Society providing tours of the historic Blue Earth County Courthouse. Does your organization provide tours of buildings it does not own? If so, what are some issues of which you have to be aware? What have you learned that you wished you knew before you started providing tours?

Volunteer Rate

By: admin | July 9, 2007
The Corporation for National and Community Service announced the top 50 large cities that have the strongest rates of volunteerism. Minneapolis-St. Paul was first on the list. The report states generally that men provide slightly more hours on average than women, but that a much higher percentage of women volunteer than men. Is that true for your organization? And regarding the report, why do you think the rate for volunteering is higher in Minnesota? Anecdotally, are many people volunteering to help your organization?

Technology Support

By: admin | Information Technology | June 13, 2007
What are other museums and historical societies doing for computer technical support? Do they call a third party vendor as needed? Do they contract with a third party vendor for regular support? If so, what services do they contract for and what are they paying? Are software updates and backups done by staff or are these services contracted?

Kurt Kragness

Executive Director

Sherburne History Center

Use Fees for Merchandise

By: admin | June 12, 2007
We have a local business that would like to sell mugs, crocks, etc. with photographs from our collection and we own the copyright. We have never before dealt with a business and have no idea of what we should charge. Any help that you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You,

Wilma Wolner, Director

Watonwan County Historical Society

Alphabet Soups

By: admin | May 14, 2007
At recent meetings people have made comments both ways about the number of organizations to which local historical societies can belong. Some have said so many confuse people, but others have said the specifics of the missions of the organizations are helpful in weeding out less-relevant affiations. How do you choose from so many (AASLH, AAM, MALHM, MAM, MOMCC, etc.)? Are there too many? Or, is specialization of mission useful to you?

As a reminder, the 2002 Local History Survey found that 77 percent of Minnesota's local historical organizations responding to the survey, belonged to at least one professional development organization. The most prefered at that time was Minnesota Alliance of Local History Museums followed by the American Association for State and Local History. Since then the economy forced us all to make some tough choices in 2003-2005. Did your memberships in professional development organizations survive cuts?

2007 Template Change

By: admin | May 1, 2007
Technology support staff at the Minnesota Historical Society spruced up the template for Local History News by clarifying the difference between category and story titles, and making the tagline and image bar specific to local historical organizations. There are a number of behind-the-template upgrades as well. What do you think? Local History News is meant to be a useful service. Are the upgrades helpful? How is LHN useful to you?

PastPerfect Scatter Gather

By: admin | April 30, 2007
I am looking into using the Scatter/Gather option on PastPerfect 4.0 that would allow me to use my laptop making access to PastPerfect in all the locations at our museum. I am the only user for the PastPerfect software in my organization.

Does any other organization use this Scatter/Gather option versus having networked computers?

Any good/bad experiences using Scatter/Gather?

Thank you,

Nicole Elzenga
Collections Manager
Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum

Local History Reads

By: admin | April 16, 2007
With so many clever and informative projects produced by local historical organizations, it strikes me that programs, events, and initiatives can often be inspired by things that we've read. What have you read recently that has helped you in preserving local history?