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.

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Smithsonian's Agreement with Showtime

By: admin | July 24, 2006
Mary Warner, Museum Manager at the Morrison County Historical Society:

Have you heard? The Smithsonian Institution has negotiated a deal with Showtime to create Smithsonian On Demand, a service that will provide digital cable programs for the network using Smithsonian resources. Heres the kicker: The deal allows Showtime exclusive access to Smithsonian resources whilst excluding other commercial filmmakers from using the resources for more than incidental use. The full extent of the Smithsonian/Showtime contract is confidential. It should be noted that 75 percent of the Smithsonians funding comes from taxpayers. The Smithsonian is arguing that the deal will bring in money to finance its mission and also give the public more access to its collections via the digital cable programs. So, local museum professionals, what do you think? Has the Smithsonian made a deal with the devil? Or, are they just being smart capitalists?

Vintage Bicycles Available

By: admin | July 10, 2006
Vintage bicycles, well used, free to historical museum: man's 3 speed English style mid-1960s; woman's 3 speed English style mid-1960s; and child's high handle bar style mid-1970s. Contact Thelma Boeder, or 651 489-2604. Free delivery to any location in Minnesota probably can be arranged.

Large Functional Objects

By: admin | July 10, 2006
In the July/August issue of the Minnesota History Interpreter the issue of how to care for Large Functional Objects (LFOs) in your collection was discussed. Tell us about your LFOs. To get the discussion started, here are a few LFOs from around the state:
  • Cattail Bailer at the Marshall County Historical Society in Warren. This implement tells about homefront activity during World War II, namely the harvest of cattails to fill life vests used by the U.S. Navy.

  • Fire Engine at the Koochiching County Historical Society in International Falls. This object highlights early 20th century public safety history in International Falls.

  • 1906 Auto Bug at the Wheels Across the Prairie Museum in Tracy. The Auto Bug illustrates the transition from horse and buggy to automotive transportation.

What kinds of LFOs do you have in your collection? What stories do you tell with them? What challenges do you have in making the best use of LFOs? Where do you draw the line between full restoration and retaining historical patina?

Question about financial management software

By: admin | June 20, 2006
What types of financial software are historical societies using? I am looking at QuickBooks Nonprofit and would like to know who is using this program and what their thoughts are. I still want to know what others are using to make an informed decision. We have been using a spreadsheet for many years now, but the time has come to upgrade and have the computer do the payables, etc. June Lynne, Executive Director, Chippewa County Historical Society, PO Box 303, Montevideo, MN 56265, 320-269-7636, cchs@maxminn.com.

Local History Blog Welcome

By: admin | June 7, 2006
Welcome to the Minnesota Local History Blog! We hope you will find it useful to hold discussions on issues, questions, and more that matter you. It is easy to use. If you wish to create a posting, please email the blog administrators: Tim Glines or David Grabitske. Postings will be made in a timely fashion. To answer a posting, click on Comments, fill in the brief form, and click "Post." Your comments will be posted immediately. Tell us about your reactions to the new Local History News format and the Blog. What do you like about it? What still needs improvement? How might you now use these new tools in your work of preserving local history?

Public Library Model

By: grabitsdm | May 16, 2006
Public libraries have been in most Minnesota cities since the establishment of those municipalities for the purpose of encouraging literacy among citizens. These libraries are furthermore supported by local government and staffed with qualified, albeit inadequately compensated professionals. Many cities similarly have historical organizations in them


By: admin | May 12, 2006
TRACES is seeking to borrow (longer-term) or buy (if affordable) a mannequin from 1945 or before. If your museum has such an item (in decent shape) to loan or sell, please contact Renae Youngs at 651-292-8700 or TRACESedu@yahoo.com.

Researcher/Writer For Community History Publication

By: admin | April 11, 2006
Posted for Lisa Barker Plank, director, Richfield Historical Society; barker_lisa@msn.com

The Richfield Historical Society is seeking a local author to write a history of our community. Richfield is located in Minnesota in the twin cities metropolitan area. The community will be celebrating the centennial of its becoming a village in 2008. (The community has been around for longer in the form of a township.)

The book committee would like an author who has experience in researching, writing and managing a project of this scope. We are working toward having the book ready for sale in October of 2007 leading up to the holidays before 2008. We are looking for recommendations of people who have worked with an author in this region on this type of a project. We would also be interested in any recommendations of local history books or projects that you have enjoyed.

Information Sought for a Book on World War I Food Conservation

By: admin | March 15, 2006
From Rae Eighmey

I am looking for direct, contemporary information on what really happened in the farm fields, back yards, homes, and restaurants as Minnesotans changed their farming practices and eating habits during the 18 months from April 1917 to November 1918. There are scores of printed recipes and menu suggestions for wheatless, meatless and reduced fat and sugar dishes.

The question is: what did people really eat? Restaurant menus, program notices from womens clubs, church socials and other civic events could be most helpful. I am also looking for first person descriptions from: town men who volunteered to harvest small grains in the fall of 1918 (more than 3,402 men acting as twilight shock troops donated more than 4,200 man days of labor harvesting at least 37,425 acres); farmers who used these men on their farms; Boys or Girls club members who baked, canned, dried, raised chickens, hogs or gardens for Uncle Sam; homemakers; demonstration agents who gave classes in food conservation (journals, diaries or collected oral histories would be of value here).

I am in the process of reading local papers and government files and reports for this information, but would deeply appreciate any additional sources or even pointing me to an article I might overlook on the newspaper microfilms. Please respond by June 15, 2006 to Rae K. Eighmey 2058 Lincoln Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105; e-mail raekatherine@netins.net.