December 2018 Events, Programs & Exhibits

For immediate release

Release dated: 
October 10, 2018
Media contacts: 

Lauren Peck, 651-259-3137,
Jessica Kohen, 651-259-3148,

December 2018 Events, Programs & Exhibits

Saturday, December 1, 2018

I'm New Here
Gale Family Library
Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55102
The Gale Family Library contains a wide array of sources for finding your family history; researching a term paper; looking into the history of your house, business, organization, or neighborhood; or just finding out more about Minnesota's rich past and many cultures. Let library experts introduce you to this treasure trove of sources in a free class held each Saturday. Learn about the MNHS collections and get tips on how to use catalogs, request materials, and purchase copies of historic papers and photos.
Every Saturday, 9:15 am - 10:15 am

A Victorian Christmas
Alexander Ramsey House
265 S. Exchange St. St. Paul, MN 55102
Experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of a Victorian Christmas in 1875. During this guided tour, guests can taste homemade cookies fresh from the wood-burning stove, listen to popular holiday music of the era played on the family's 1875 Steinway grand piano, and view original family ornaments and Christmas gifts. Discover how the Ramsey family, friends, neighbors, and servants prepared for and celebrated the Christmas season. Be sure to stop in the Carriage House gift store for replica Victorian ornaments and holiday items.
The 60-minute guided tour starts every 15 minutes. 
Thurs.-Sun. Nov. 23-Dec. 30
Thurs.-Sat. 10:00 am -5:30 pm, Sun. Noon-4:30 pm
$12 adults, $10 seniors, veterans/active military, and college students, $8 ages 5-17, free age 4 and under, MNHS members save 20%
Get Tickets Online

Christmas in the Logging Camp
Forest History Center
2609 County Road 76 Grand Rapids, MN 55744
North Woods No. 1, the Forest History Center's recreated 1900s logging camp, comes to life under a blanket of snow during this yearly event. Join the logging camp crew as they get ready to celebrate Christmas. The program includes choral singers, storytellers, sleigh rides, hot chocolate, cider, and more. Bring your camera to get your picture taken with Santa.
Sat., Dec 1, 2018, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Included with $6-10 site admission/MNHS members free

A WWI Christmas
Charles Lindbergh House and Museum
1620 Lindbergh Dr. S. Little Falls, MN 56345
Experience what Christmas was like for the Lindberghs during World War I. Meet costumed interpreters portraying Lindbergh family members and neighbors as they provide insights into early 20th-century holiday traditions and the challenges wartime presented. Learn about the impact of food rationing, create a Christmas decoration to take home, and write a note or draw a picture for a soldier as Charles Lindbergh might have done. Notes will be distributed to current Minnesota service members at Camp Ripley in time for the holidays.
Visitors are encouraged to explore the gallery exhibits in the visitor center and shop for holiday items in the gift store.
Sat., Dec 1, 2018, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
$10 adults, $8 seniors, veterans/active military, college students, $6 ages 5-17, MNHS members save 20%
Get Tickets Online
Also Nov. 23, 24, 25, 30, & Dec. 2

Christmas Saturdays
James J. Hill House
240 Summit Ave. St. Paul, MN 55102
Go at your own pace and explore the James J. Hill House on a self-guided tour. See how the Hill family and their servants prepared for the holidays. Visit the first, second, and third floors of the mansion and engage with staff who will share the history of the home. This program includes a hands-on activity for children. Last admittance is at 3:30 pm. 
Saturdays, Nov. 24-Dec. 29 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
$10 adults, $8 seniors and college students, $6 ages 5-17, MNHS members save 20%
Get Tickets Online

Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest Winners
Mill City Museum
704 S. 2nd St. Minneapolis, MN 55407
Get holiday baking inspiration and sample the winning recipes from the Star Tribune's Taste Holiday Cookie Contest. Starting at 12:30 pm, Rick Nelson of the Star Tribune will talk about the contest, how it's judged, and what makes a great holiday cookie. Sample the winning recipes and enjoy hot cider and coffee from 1 to 3 pm, then vote for your favorite cookie for the visitor's choice award. Bring a holiday recipe to share and get baking tips.
The Star Tribune's Taste section sponsors the annual Holiday Cookie Contest in which readers submit their favorite holiday cookie recipes. The winner and runners-up are announced in the Taste section on November 30.
Sat., Dec 1, 2018, 12:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Included with $6-12 museum admission/MNHS members free

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Christmas Traditions Guided House Tour
James J. Hill House
240 Summit Ave. St. Paul, MN 55102
Join a guided tour to learn about Christmas traditions for the Hill family and their servants. Guides bring visitors through the basement and first and second floors while sharing family stories and memories, including Mrs. Hill's lavish seven-course holiday meal in 1910, how the servants kept their own holiday traditions, and family stories and memories that still resonate today. Tours run 60 minutes with the last tour time at 3:30 pm.
Wed.-Fri. & Sun. Nov. 21- Dec. 30, except Thanksgiving
Wed.-Fri. 10 am-4:30 pm, Sun. 1-4:30 pm
$12 adults, $10 seniors and college students, $8 ages 5-17, age 4 and under free, MNHS members save 20%
Get Tickets Online

Washburn A Mill Tour
Mill City Museum
704 S. 2nd St. Minneapolis, MN 55407
Take an in-depth look at the historic Washburn A Mill complex and the award-winning Mill City Museum building. A guide will take visitors into the building's many nooks and crannies, highlighting the lives of the men and women who worked there, how the building functioned during its peak flour milling years, and the many changes to the building over time. This is the only opportunity for a guided tour through the entire museum building and the only chance to see some of its nonpublic spaces.
Tour highlights include:

  • The dramatic story of the 1878 Washburn A Mill explosion, and the other dangers that mill workers faced on a daily basis
  • "The Octopus," a large machine that directed wheat into nine storage bins
  • The Humphrey Manlift, a vertical conveyor belt that carried workers from floor to floor
  • The Rail Corridor where hundreds of boxcars arrived each day to unload wheat and carry away flour
  • Millstone plaza, originally paved with retired millstones and the location for lunchtime concerts by the Washburn-Crosby employee band in the 1920s
  • Evidence of the three major fires that have damaged the building in 1878, 1928, and 1991
  • The East Engine House, once home to a two-story steam engine, has been remodeled into two classrooms, while preserving the original railroad car pulling machinery

The tour includes no more than 1 mile of moderately paced walking on uneven surfaces. Please call ahead to make arrangements for guests with limited mobility.
Sun., Dec 2, 2018, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
$18, MNHS members save 20%, includes museum admission
Get Tickets Online
Also Dec. 29

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

History Lounge: The Somali World & Minnesota
Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55102
Since the late 1970s, political turmoil has forced many Somali people to migrate to places as varied as South Africa, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, and Minnesota. Hear from Dr. Cawo Abdi, professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota and author of Elusive Jannah: The Somali Diaspora and a Borderless Muslim Identity, about the history of the global diaspora that connects Minnesota to a larger Somali world. Find out more about the consequences this migration has had for Somali people and how refugees have navigated their lives and dealt with challenges and opportunities in their new homes.
Tue., Dec 4, 2018, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Christmas Traditions Tour
Comstock House
506 Eighth St. S. Moorhead, MN 56560
Explore the Victorian origins of many of today's Christmas traditions with a special tour of the Comstock House. The house will be decorated with Christmas trees, stockings by the fire, mistletoe, and holiday lights. At the end of the tour, enjoy hot chocolate and Christmas cookies. Tours leave at 5:30, 7, and 8:30 pm. Tours are limited to 12 people.
Thu., Dec 6, 2018, 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
$10/$5 MNHS members
Get Tickets Online
Also Dec. 20 & 27

First Thursdays @ the Capri: "Detroit" Film Screening
Capri Theater
2027 W. Broadway Ave. Minneapolis, Minnesota 55411
Each month through March, watch a different thought-provoking film and engage in community discussion afterward around topics in history that resonate today. In November, view the 2017 film Detroit about the Algiers Motel incident during Detroit's 1967 12th Street Riot. The film will be followed by a conversation with David Grant, Twin Cities-based filmmaker, author, screenwriter and playwright. 
This film series is a partnership between the Minnesota Historical Society, the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul, and the Capri Theater. This program is made possible by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.
Thu., Dec 6, 2018, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Get Tickets Online

Friday, December 7, 2018

A "Little Women" Christmas
Alexander Ramsey House
265 S. Exchange St. St. Paul, MN 55102
The world of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women comes to life in this holiday tour. With the Ramsey House as the setting, discover how Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March celebrated Christmas in the 1860s. Play Victorian parlor games, learn about the fashion of the era, and enjoy freshly baked gingerbread cake, a treat that was popular in the 1860s. Arrive early and make a Christmas craft in the Carriage House plus explore the gift store, which features authentic Victorian-era reproduction ornaments and gifts. This program is suitable for ages 6 and up and is offered at 6 and 7 pm.
Fri., Dec 7, 2018, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm & 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
$14 adults, $12 seniors and college students, $10 ages 5-17, MNHS members save 20%
Get Tickets Online
Also Dec. 8

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Family Baking Workshop: Holiday Traditions
Mill City Museum
704 S. 2nd St. Minneapolis, MN 55407
Bake a holiday treat and learn about different holiday traditions in Minneapolis and the people who brought them here in a special parent-child workshop. While the treats bake, explore holiday traditions from a variety of nationalities through photographs, artifacts, samples, and sharing stories. Participants will take home recipes and the treats they bake.
This workshop is for ages 6 to 14 with an accompanying adult. Adults must be accompanied by a child.
Sat., Dec 8, 2018, 9:00 am - 11:00 am
$27 adults, $25 seniors, $23 ages 6-17, MNHS members save 20%, museum admission included. Children age 6-14 must be accompanied by an adult. Limit two children per adult.
Get Tickets Online
Also Dec. 9, 15, 16, 22 & 23

Family Food Frolic Workshop: Build a Gingerbread Farm
Oliver Kelley Farm
15788 Kelley Farm Rd. Elk River, MN 55330
Spend time with family and friends while building a gingerbread farm in this two-hour workshop. Make a holiday farm scene by building a barn and other structures out of prebaked gingerbread, then make and decorate gingersnap farm animal cookies to populate your farmyard.
All materials are supplied. Fee is per gingerbread farm.
Sat., Dec 8, 2018, 10:00 am – Noon
$60 per gingerbread kit/MNHS members save 20%
Get Tickets Online

History Forum: The Founding Fathers & the Origins of Gun Control
Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55102
Join historian Saul Cornell for a presentation about the Founding Fathers and the origins of gun control in the United States. Today Americans are deeply divided over the Second Amendment. Some passionately assert that the amendment protects an individual's right to own guns. Others feel it does no more than protect the right of states to maintain militias.
Cornell will argue that the Founders understood the right to bear arms as neither an individual nor a collective right, but as a civic right—an obligation citizens owed to the state to arm themselves so that they could participate in a well-regulated militia. The modern debate has its roots in the 19th century, during America's first and now largely forgotten gun violence crisis, when the earliest gun control laws were passed and the first cases on the right to bear arms came before the courts and helped create our current impasse over guns.
Saul Cornell is chair of American history at Fordham University and author of A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control.
Sat., Dec 8, 2018, 10:00 am - 11:30 am & 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
$16 individual ticket, $84 series subscription, MNHS members save 20%
Get Tickets Online: 10 am and 2 pm

Birch Bark Ornament Workshop
Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post
43411 Oodena Dr. Onamia, MN 56359
Create miniature ornaments from birch bark to decorate for the holidays or give as gifts. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. A minimum of five participants is required. Registration is required three days prior to workshop.
Sat., Dec 8, 2018, Noon - 4:00 pm
$40/MNHS and Mille Lacs Band members save 20%, $15 supply fee
Get Tickets Online

Thursday, December 13, 2018

An "Eventually" Christmas: Holidays at the Mill
Mill City Museum
704 S. 2nd St. Minneapolis, MN 55407
Join the Ghost of Mill City Past for an intimate look at the 1920 Washburn Crosby holiday party in this heartwarming play set in the museum's Flour Tower elevator ride. Scenes unfold on different floors where the audience meets characters drawn from the pages of the company's employee newspaper, the Eventually News. Witness the rocky romance of Celia and Otto; meet marketing mastermind Benjamin S. Bull; experience the awesome sweeping power of Bill Smith and learn the secret origin of the Washburn Crosby marketing slogan, "Eventually—Why Not Now?"
Recommended for ages 8 and older. Ticket includes museum admission and refreshments after the play.
Thu., Dec 13, 2018, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm, 7:00 – 8:00 pm, 8:00 pm-9:00 pm
$20 adults, $18 seniors, $16 ages 8-17, MNHS members save 20%. $2 off regular adult admission with Fringe Festival button.
Get Tickets Online
Also Dec. 14, 15 & 16

World War II Round Table: Pearl Harbor - The Attack That Brough the US into WWII
Historic Fort Snelling
200 Tower Ave. St. Paul, MN 55111
Michael Wenger, co-author of No One Avoided Danger and This Is No Drill, and veterans of Pearl Harbor will present on some of the many aspects of the attack on December 7, 1941. The Harold C. Deutsch World War II History Round Table brings together authors, historians, and WWII veterans to discuss the history of the conflict and to share the stories of those who lived through it. 
Thu., Dec 13, 2018, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
$5 recommended donation/students and veterans free

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Christmas on the Farm Tour
Oliver Kelley Farm
15788 Kelley Farm Rd. Elk River, MN 55330
Experience the preparations for a simple holiday celebration like Oliver Kelley and his family had. On a 90 minute-guided tour, visitors will walk to the historic Kelley Farm to meet farm animals and explore the historic house. Discover how farm families and their animals coped with the shorter days and colder temperatures and celebrated the upcoming holiday. 
Refreshments and Christmas treats from different eras will be served in the visitor center following the tour. Please dress for the outdoors and cold weather.
Sat., Dec 15, 2018, 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm & 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
$15/MNHS members save 20%, age 4 and under free
Get Tickets Online
Also Dec. 16

Christmas with the Comstocks
Comstock House
506 Eighth St. S. Moorhead, MN 56560
Celebrate a Victorian Christmas at the historic Comstock House, which will be decorated for the holidays. Learn about the Christmas customs of the Comstock family and other Victorian traditions. Play Victorian parlor games and enjoy hot cocoa and holiday treats.
Additional parking is available in the First Congregational United Church of Christ's lot, 406 8th St. S., Moorhead.
Sat., Dec 15, 2018, 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
$9 adults, $8 seniors, $7 ages 5-17, free college students and MNHS members
Get Tickets Online

Friday, December 21, 2018

A New Year Celebration
Alexander Ramsey House
265 S. Exchange St. St. Paul, MN 55102
Celebrate the New Year with food, music, dancing, and games at this Victorian-inspired special event. Explore the Ramsey House with family and friends and participate in hands-on activities on all three floors. Try a variety of 19th-century parlor games and dances and listen (and sing along) to popular songs of the era played on the 1872 Steinway grand piano. Sample holiday cakes, puddings, and other treats, freshly baked from the wood-burning stove. Come early to explore the Carriage House gift store, which features authentic Victorian-era reproduction ornaments and gifts.
Fri., Dec 21, 2018, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
$20 adults, $18 seniors and college students, $10 ages 5-17, MNHS members save 20%
Get Tickets Online
Also Dec. 22

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

History Hound Hijinx: Winter Break
Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55102
Celebrate winter in the North Woods with art activities, performances, and a selection of winter items on view from the MNHS collections. Plus, enjoy special appearances by Paul Bunyan.
Wed., Dec 26, 2018, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Included with $6-12 museum admission/MNHS members free
Also Dec. 27-31 & Jan. 1

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Northwoods Holiday Fest
Forest History Center
2609 County Road 76 Grand Rapids, MN 55744
Revel in a winter wonderland of family fun outdoor activities including trolley or sleigh rides, sledding, snowshoeing, making snow sculptures and a snow fort, and launching snowballs and water balloons with a giant slingshot. Guests can also tour the logging camp under winter conditions and join a wildlife show and play games in the visitor center.
Sat., Dec 29, 2018, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Included with $6-10 site admission/MNHS members free

New Year's Tea
Sibley Historic Site
1357 Sibley Memorial Hwy. Mendota, MN 55120
From 1928 until the 1970s, the Dupuis House at the Sibley Historic Site was operated by the Daughters of the American Revolution as a popular tea house. Celebrate the New Year as the Sibley Tea House "reopens" for the day. Enjoy tea and a four-course meal with friends and learn about New Year's traditions in the early years of Minnesota statehood. Doors open at 3 pm; meal starts at 3:30 pm.
Sat., Dec 29, 2018, 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm
$40/$35 for MNHS and DCHS members and Friends of the Sibley Historic Site

Monday, December 31, 2018

Candlelight Snowshoe & Hike
Charles Lindbergh House and Museum
1620 Lindbergh Dr. S. Little Falls, MN 56345
Spend New Year's Eve exploring trails by candlelight. The annual hike will include luminaries along trails connecting the Charles Lindbergh House and Museum and the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum. Guests can drop in at any time during the event and hike whatever distance is comfortable. Snowshoes are welcome if conditions allow. Both museums will be open with free admission for guests to warm up and grab a refreshment.
This program is co-sponsored by Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum and the Friends of the Lindbergh Heritage. Note: This program is weather dependent. 
Mon., Dec 31, 2018, 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Ongoing Exhibits

Minnesota History Center
345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul

Closes June 9, 2019  Somalis + Minnesota 
See this new exhibit on Somali history and culture, developed in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society and the Somali Museum of Minnesota. The exhibit will showcase Somali culture—from traditional life in Africa, through the massive migration that began in the 1990s, to today’s large, well-established Minnesota Somali community. Find out more.
Closes Jan. 21, 2019 The 1968 Exhibit 
The social forces that swirled through the turbulent 1960s crested in 1968. It was a turning point for a generation coming of age and a nation at war. This popular exhibit returns to Minnesota after touring the nation. This exhibit is created by the Minnesota Historical Society, in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum and the Oakland Museum of California. Find out more. 
Closes Feb. 18, 2019 States of Incarceration 
Created by over 500 people in 17 states, States of Incarceration is a national traveling exhibit explores the roots of mass incarceration in our own communities to open a national dialogue on what should happen next. The exhibit includes local content developed by University of Minnesota students examining settler colonialism and the high rates of incarceration for Native Americans in Minnesota.


Then Now Wow
Designed primarily for children, visitors of all ages will enjoy exploring Minnesota’s distinctive places from the prairies and forests to the cities. Along the way they'll meet the people who have made their homes here. Step inside a prairie sod house; board a Twin Cities streetcar; don a headlamp to venture underground in an Iron Range mine; hitch a ride on a boxcar; sit in a modern tipi; and encounter artifacts and images unique to Minnesota’s diverse people and historic events. “Then Now Wow” is made possible by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008. Find out more.


Minnesota’s Greatest Generation: The Depression, The War, The Boom
Explore interactive displays and innovative multimedia experiences that reveal the lives and stories of the men and women who came of age during the Depression and World War II and went on to create the postwar “boom.” The exhibition relies substantially on first-person narratives drawn from oral history interviews, published memoirs, reminiscences and letters. Find out more.


Open House: If These Walls Could Talk 
This interactive exhibit uses a single, existing house in the Railroad Island neighborhood on St. Paul’s East Side as a window into the daily lives of people of the past. Stories of families, from the German immigrants who built the home through the Italians, African Americans and Hmong who succeeded them, are told through rooms representing different eras of the house. Find out more.


Weather Permitting
Minnesotans learn to cope with extreme temperatures, watch for signs of storms and generally enjoy the outdoors, whether boating on a summer’s day, skiing down a hill or snowmobiling across snowdrifts. Visit the multimedia tornado exhibit, “Get to the Basement,” named the best museum exhibit in the Twin Cities by City Pages. Find out more.

Mill City Museum
704 S. 2nd St., Minneapolis

Closes Feb. 24, 2019 

Thank You For Shopping
Explore the history of Minnesota department stories in this new photography exhibit, a companion to the new MNHS Press book "Thank You for Shopping: The Golden Age of Minnesota Department Stores" by Kristal Leebrick.
Throughout the 20th century, department stores ruled the retail landscapes of downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. More than just shopping centers, stores like Dayton's, Powers, Donaldson's, Young-Quinlan, the Emporium, and the Golden Rule were centers of social life. The exhibit features framed photographs and a slideshow, including many unpublished photos.