MNHS Earns Prestigious Grant to Extend Life of Cultural Heritage Collection

For immediate release

Release dated: 
August 27, 2015
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3148,
Lauren Peck, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3137,

MNHS Earns Prestigious Grant to Extend Life of Cultural Heritage Collection

Grant to improve storage for delicate film, slides and other media while reducing energy use

The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) is pleased to announce a major grant award from the National Endowment for the Humanities to implement energy-efficient ways to protect the audiovisual material in the collections.

The grant of $250,000 will be used to upgrade the mechanical equipment and optimize the temperature and humidity in the existing cold storage area, helping to preserve a large audiovisual collection, including 3.7 million feet of film, as well as thousands of oral history interviews, 200,000 photographs, 1.5 million negatives and 97,000 microfilm reels of newspapers, manuscripts and state government records. The new cold storage area will help extend the life of these delicate materials by four times their current life span. At the same time, MNHS will reduce its energy use dramatically, resulting in an expected savings of $16,000 a year.

Shengyin Xu, Sustainability & Capital Projects Manager, said “the sizable cost savings coupled with the ability to extend the life of these invaluable artifacts, makes this a very important grant.”

MNHS expects to start the upgrade in 2018.

The collections are available to researchers through the Gale Family Library and to the public through exhibits, print publications and online.

MNHS is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history. Visit us at

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.