Each year, 20,000 visitors come to the Minnesota History Center’s Gale Family Library to search for information about their family roots, and thousands more use the fraction of the Minnesota Historical Society’s resources that are currently available online. Birth announcements, obituaries, marriage announcements, and articles in large- and small-town newspapers from across the state are indispensable resources for families seeking to fill in the branches on their family trees.
Today, with a still-active mandate first given by Alexander Ramsey in 1849 to “preserve in a durable form, a copy of each and every newspaper that may be published in the Territory,” and the resultant half-a-million pages of newsprint delivered to the Society’s mailroom each year, it is clearly time to move forward to a more modern approach to preservation and access. The Creating Our Future campaign effort will ensure that newspapers, “the day-books of history” according to Ramsey, are preserved and available for generations of researchers still to come.
New investments made possible by the Creating Our Future campaign will allow MNHS to undertake the laborious but essential effort to provide searchable, online access for the hundreds of thousands of newspapers in our collection. This process of scanning and cataloging will create digital images and files which, unlike their yellowing and crumbling paper counterparts, can be searched and accessed by unlimited numbers of people, from any internet-connected location, countless times, without any risk of long-term deterioration.
Making our state's history more accessible online helps us create a stronger community. We all have stories, and they mean a lot to us. MNHS helps us all understand how our stories, and the stories of those who came before us, create the narrative that is the history of our great state.
Ford Bell, Retired President of the American Alliance of Museums, Wayzata, MN
Double the impact of your gift to Online Access and Family History when you give today!
The Katherine B. Andersen Fund of the St. Paul Foundation will match every dollar you give, effectively doubling the power of your gift, up to a total of $50,000.