Minnesota History Center

Minnesota History Center Explore Minnesota through museum exhibits that feature large-scale objects, hands-on experiences and multimedia presentations. At the Library, access the Society's vast collections, uncover your house's history, or trace your family's heritage.
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This accordion was played on the campaign trail by a groundbreaking Minnesota Congressperson in the 1950s and 60s. Can y...
08/24/2021

This accordion was played on the campaign trail by a groundbreaking Minnesota Congressperson in the 1950s and 60s. Can you identify this musical legislator?

This accordion was played on the campaign trail by a groundbreaking Minnesota Congressperson in the 1950s and 60s. Can you identify this musical legislator?

Wild Rice harvesting season opened in Minnesota last week. Manoomin or psin (wild rice in Ojibwe and Dakota) is an impor...
08/23/2021
Wild Rice Harvesting

Wild Rice harvesting season opened in Minnesota last week. Manoomin or psin (wild rice in Ojibwe and Dakota) is an important traditional food for many Indigenous peoples of the region and has been for millennia. It's also Minnesota's official state grain! Check out this video that shares techniques for harvesting and processing wild rice and additional information information: https://bit.ly/2UlI5Km You can learn more about Wild Rice regulations in Minnesota, including license requirements and harvesting season dates, from the DNR: https://bit.ly/3xRI12D

Manoomin or psin (wild rice in Ojibwe and Dakota) is an important traditional food for many Indigenous peoples of the region and has been for millennia. Join...

08/21/2021
Emily Goodridge Grey

On August 21, 1860, enslaved woman Eliza Winston was freed from her Mississippi owner in a Minneapolis court. After being granted legal freedom, however, this accomplishment wasn't entirely celebrated. Many Minnesotans were economically reliant on wealthy Southerners and were angered by the threat this case posed. Motivated by their financial interest, a mob formed.

Meet Emily Goodridge Grey, a prominent abolitionist and community leader who helped fight for Winston's freedom. Learn more by visiting our exhibit, Extraordinary Women. You can purchase tickets online at https://bit.ly/3opZZpg, by calling the box office at 651-259-3015, or on site.

We’re feeling a little nostalgic today for an exhibit that was on view in 2010. Did you see "The Beatles! A One-Night St...
08/20/2021

We’re feeling a little nostalgic today for an exhibit that was on view in 2010. Did you see "The Beatles! A One-Night Stand in the Heartland?" This exhibition featured 36 images of the Beatles in concert as well as memorabilia from photographer Bill Carlson. Trying to hone his craft, Carlson was eager to grab an unclaimed press pass and shoot the Beatles’ arrival at the airport, the press conference and the concert that followed on August 21, 1965.

At the concert held at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, there were more than 25,000 screaming, shouting, cheering and swooning fans. Were you there? What was it like? Is there a band or performer you go crazy for?

Learn more about the concert by checking out this article from Minnesota History magazine : https://bit.ly/37AwQAK

"In mid-August 1944, I took part in the invasion of southern France. Our trek north out of the Riviera was pretty much a...
08/19/2021

"In mid-August 1944, I took part in the invasion of southern France. Our trek north out of the Riviera was pretty much along the lines of the Rhone River, all the way to Dijon, where I saw first-hand the devastated France. The people in the cities and towns had less than rubble to live in, and next to nothing of substance to survive on."

Technical Sergeant John Brown, Sr., pictured here wearing the boots on view in the Minnesota's Greatest Generation exhibit, was born in Meridian, MS, in 1921, enlisted in the army in 1941, and earned six battle stars in the European Theater. With charge of more than 700 trucks in an all-Black transportation unit, he helped supply General Patton’s army as part of the Red Ball Express convoys.

Learn more about members of Minnesota’s Greatest Generation by visiting our exhibit at the Minnesota History Center! You can purchase tickets online at https://bit.ly/3opZZpg, by calling the box office at 651-259-3015, or on site.

This tool is used in one of Minnesota's great summer pastimes. The tongs are serrated for a secure grip. Can you guess w...
08/18/2021

This tool is used in one of Minnesota's great summer pastimes. The tongs are serrated for a secure grip. Can you guess what they are designed to pick up?

Object circa 1930 from MNHS collections.

This tool is used in one of Minnesota's great summer pastimes. The tongs are serrated for a secure grip. Can you guess what they are designed to pick up?

Object circa 1930 from MNHS collections.

The National Woman’s Party (NWP) was a suffrage organization that emphasized civil disobedience and direct action in its...
08/17/2021

The National Woman’s Party (NWP) was a suffrage organization that emphasized civil disobedience and direct action in its fight for the right to vote. Minneapolis activist Jane Bliss Potter led the founding of its Minnesota chapter in 1915. Other prominent members included Myrtle Agnes Cain, Sarah Tarleton Colvin, and Bertha Moller.

Though the NWP was driven to win the vote, its tactics and priorities clashed at times with other Minnesota suffrage groups. The more conservative MWSA publicly disapproved of the picketing campaign, stressing the need for “constructive” methods.

Learn more about some of the suffragists who helped advocate for change in our exhibit, Extraordinary Women!

IMAGE National Woman’s Party (NWP) Secretary Bertha Moller of Minneapolis (left) and a second woman hold a banner at a protest, ca. 1917.

The National Woman’s Party (NWP) was a suffrage organization that emphasized civil disobedience and direct action in its fight for the right to vote. Minneapolis activist Jane Bliss Potter led the founding of its Minnesota chapter in 1915. Other prominent members included Myrtle Agnes Cain, Sarah Tarleton Colvin, and Bertha Moller.

Though the NWP was driven to win the vote, its tactics and priorities clashed at times with other Minnesota suffrage groups. The more conservative MWSA publicly disapproved of the picketing campaign, stressing the need for “constructive” methods.

Learn more about some of the suffragists who helped advocate for change in our exhibit, Extraordinary Women!

IMAGE National Woman’s Party (NWP) Secretary Bertha Moller of Minneapolis (left) and a second woman hold a banner at a protest, ca. 1917.

Many of Sinclair Lewis' books were made into movies. Mantrap was a 1926 silent film starring Clara Bow, who called it th...
08/16/2021

Many of Sinclair Lewis' books were made into movies. Mantrap was a 1926 silent film starring Clara Bow, who called it the "best movie she ever made." You can watch a clip of the film at the National Film Preservation Foundation website: https://bit.ly/3CkLdY8 Looking at the movie poster, what would you think the film was about?

Learn more about Sinclair Lewis by visiting our exhibit "Sinclair Lewis: 100 Years of Main Street." Please purchase tickets online at https://bit.ly/3opZZpg, by calling the box office at 651-259-3015, or on site at the ticketing desk.

Many of Sinclair Lewis' books were made into movies. Mantrap was a 1926 silent film starring Clara Bow, who called it the "best movie she ever made." You can watch a clip of the film at the National Film Preservation Foundation website: https://bit.ly/3CkLdY8 Looking at the movie poster, what would you think the film was about?

Learn more about Sinclair Lewis by visiting our exhibit "Sinclair Lewis: 100 Years of Main Street." Please purchase tickets online at https://bit.ly/3opZZpg, by calling the box office at 651-259-3015, or on site at the ticketing desk.

"Oh, a soda jerk was a great life. I started soda jerking when I was about 15, and I did that right through 17 years old...
08/13/2021

"Oh, a soda jerk was a great life. I started soda jerking when I was about 15, and I did that right through 17 years old. Oh man, I was a wheeler and a dealer! Big man in town! It was a choice job. I knew all of the girls (chuckling), and I’m certain of the reason why I was so friendly with them. I was in a position that if they wanted a malt, then I could make a very special malt, which meant I would add another half a scoop of ice cream in it."

Harold Brown was born in 1924 in Minneapolis, and as a teenager he dreamed of flying airplanes. He became a fighter pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen during the war. Learn more about the people who make up Minnesota's Greatest Generation by visiting our exhibit on view at the Minnesota History Center. You can also visit our vintage soda fountain counter! What are your high school job memories?

Images: Harold H Brown image courtesy of Harold H Brown. Image of Soldier Ricky Sorenson at the soda fountain in Anoka, after coming home, 1945, MNHS Collections.

A BankofAmerica/MerrillLynch card will get you one free general admission this weekend to #SplitRockLighthouse and the #...
08/05/2021

A BankofAmerica/MerrillLynch card will get you one free general admission this weekend to #SplitRockLighthouse and the #MNHistoryCenter. To redeem this offer, present your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch card at point of sale. Learn more: http://bit.ly/2KkiaYA.

08/05/2021
Extraordinary Women: Hannah Jenson Kempfor

Meet Hannah Jenson Kempfer, the first woman from rural Minnesota elected to the state legislature. She became one of the most respected leaders in the chamber for her diligence and focus on natural resources and protecting the rights of children. Learn more about her by visiting our exhibit Extraordinary Women at the Minnesota History Center!

The exhibit "Sinclair Lewis: 100 Years of Main Street" is currently on view at the History Center. Let's take a look at ...
08/04/2021

The exhibit "Sinclair Lewis: 100 Years of Main Street" is currently on view at the History Center. Let's take a look at some of his other works! We start with Lewis' novel "Arrowsmith," which was awarded the 1926 Pulitzer Prize. Lewis famously refused to accept the prize or its cash award. The book tells the story of Dr. Arrowsmith, who encounters and must combat a plague. That hits pretty close to home right now! Have you read this book? Share your reactions in the comments.

The exhibit "Sinclair Lewis: 100 Years of Main Street" is currently on view at the History Center. Let's take a look at some of his other works! We start with Lewis' novel "Arrowsmith," which was awarded the 1926 Pulitzer Prize. Lewis famously refused to accept the prize or its cash award. The book tells the story of Dr. Arrowsmith, who encounters and must combat a plague. That hits pretty close to home right now! Have you read this book? Share your reactions in the comments.

What do you remember most about summer when you were a kid? These postcards, created in 1985 by Eris Hanson Designs of M...
08/03/2021

What do you remember most about summer when you were a kid? These postcards, created in 1985 by Eris Hanson Designs of Minneapolis, list some of the myriad ways a Minnesota child shows the effects of summer. Do any of these seem familiar? What would you add? You can beat boredom and avoid bees by bringing the kids to the History Center!

Can you guess what this tool was used for? It belonged to Ruth Tanbara, one of the women featured in our "Extraordinary ...
08/02/2021

Can you guess what this tool was used for? It belonged to Ruth Tanbara, one of the women featured in our "Extraordinary Women" exhibit. She used it in classes she taught at the St. Paul YWCA in the 1950s and 60s.

Can you guess what this tool was used for? It belonged to Ruth Tanbara, one of the women featured in our "Extraordinary Women" exhibit. She used it in classes she taught at the St. Paul YWCA in the 1950s and 60s.

07/30/2021
Museum Minute

Do you have a favorite object on display at the History Center? Rita does! Collections Outreach Specialist Rita Walaszek Arndt (White Earth Ojibwe) shares her favorite cultural material in the exhibit Then Now Wow.

Skateboarding is featured as an Olympic sport for the first time this year in Tokyo, and is featured also in this artwor...
07/29/2021

Skateboarding is featured as an Olympic sport for the first time this year in Tokyo, and is featured also in this artwork created by Bobby Wilson, Sisseton Dakota, in 2012. Made of spraypaint on five skateboard decks arranged together, the floral element on the central skateboard deck is a design borrowed, and then expanded upon, from a Santee (Eastern Dakota) moccasin in the MHS collections.

Wilson said of this work, "I'm Dakota and I'm still representing my culture and a love for my people, but at the same time, I'm also a modern man, and my tools have changed. I'm not manipulating quills or beads, I'm manipulating pixels or spraypaint...." You can watch skateboarding at the Olympics, or view this artwork on display in our Then Now Wow exhibit!

Skateboarding is featured as an Olympic sport for the first time this year in Tokyo, and is featured also in this artwork created by Bobby Wilson, Sisseton Dakota, in 2012. Made of spraypaint on five skateboard decks arranged together, the floral element on the central skateboard deck is a design borrowed, and then expanded upon, from a Santee (Eastern Dakota) moccasin in the MHS collections.

Wilson said of this work, "I'm Dakota and I'm still representing my culture and a love for my people, but at the same time, I'm also a modern man, and my tools have changed. I'm not manipulating quills or beads, I'm manipulating pixels or spraypaint...." You can watch skateboarding at the Olympics, or view this artwork on display in our Then Now Wow exhibit!

The Minnesota Vikings start their 2021 training camp today. These are two very different Viking swords from our collecti...
07/28/2021

The Minnesota Vikings start their 2021 training camp today. These are two very different Viking swords from our collections — one, a Minnesota Vikings promotional plastic inflatable sword from 1982, which was sold by the convenience store/gas station chain SuperAmerica for fans to inflate and carry to the football games.

The other is an authentic Viking sword found in 1906 near a warrior's burial site in Hedmark, Norway. This sword is on display in our Then Now Wow exhibit. The University of Oslo lent this sword to us in 1949. They stipulated as part of the loan agreement that no assertion may be made that the sword was found in America. The 2021 Minnesota Vikings training camp schedule can be found here: https://bit.ly/2Uy3U9G

Join us TONIGHT, July 27, at the Minnesota History Center and enjoy a big band and swing concert from the Jerry O'Hagan ...
07/27/2021

Join us TONIGHT, July 27, at the Minnesota History Center and enjoy a big band and swing concert from the Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and purchase delicious food from D's Kitchen and Sasquatch Sandwiches food trucks. Lawn games and crafts will be available at 5:45 pm with music getting underway at 6:30 pm. To learn more, visit our event page: https://bit.ly/2VCLHI5

How did the city of St. Paul come to be where and what it is, and what does that tell us about the city today? In his ne...
07/26/2021

How did the city of St. Paul come to be where and what it is, and what does that tell us about the city today? In his new book, "St Paul, An Urban Biography", Bill Lindeke provides intriguing insights and helpful answers.

He tells the stories of the Dakota village forced to move across the Mississippi by a treaty—and why whiskey sellers took over the site; the new community’s close ties to Fort Snelling and Winnipeg; the steamboats and railroads that created a booming city; the German immigrants who outnumbered the Irish but kept a low profile when the United States went to war; the laborers who built the domes over the state capitol and the Cathedral of St. Paul; the gangsters and bootleggers who found refuge in the city; the strong neighborhoods, shaped by streets built on footpaths and wagon roads—until freeway construction changed so much; and the Hmong, Mexican, East African, and Karen immigrants who continue to build the city’s strong traditions of small businesses.

This thoughtful investigation of place helps readers to understand the city’s hidden stories, which surround its residents in plain sight. Pick up your copy by visiting the Minnesota History Center stores. Shop in person or online! Curbside pick up is also available. https://bit.ly/2GlEaFZ

How did the city of St. Paul come to be where and what it is, and what does that tell us about the city today? In his new book, "St Paul, An Urban Biography", Bill Lindeke provides intriguing insights and helpful answers.

He tells the stories of the Dakota village forced to move across the Mississippi by a treaty—and why whiskey sellers took over the site; the new community’s close ties to Fort Snelling and Winnipeg; the steamboats and railroads that created a booming city; the German immigrants who outnumbered the Irish but kept a low profile when the United States went to war; the laborers who built the domes over the state capitol and the Cathedral of St. Paul; the gangsters and bootleggers who found refuge in the city; the strong neighborhoods, shaped by streets built on footpaths and wagon roads—until freeway construction changed so much; and the Hmong, Mexican, East African, and Karen immigrants who continue to build the city’s strong traditions of small businesses.

This thoughtful investigation of place helps readers to understand the city’s hidden stories, which surround its residents in plain sight. Pick up your copy by visiting the Minnesota History Center stores. Shop in person or online! Curbside pick up is also available. https://bit.ly/2GlEaFZ

Bands on the Boulevard with Malamanya was a great night! Enjoy these photos from the event, and join us next Tuesday eve...
07/23/2021

Bands on the Boulevard with Malamanya was a great night! Enjoy these photos from the event, and join us next Tuesday evening for the Jerry O'Hagan orchestra. Details for the event can be found here: https://fb.me/e/YtZXjPe4

Photographs by Twin Birch Studios

It is hot out there! One of the ways Minnesotans have traditionally beat the summer heat is by going to the movies. Like...
07/22/2021

It is hot out there! One of the ways Minnesotans have traditionally beat the summer heat is by going to the movies. Like most major cities in the United States during the 1930s, the Twin Cities had its fair share of elegant movie theaters, including the State Theater, located on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, which opened in 1921 and was designed by an architectural firm from Chicago.

Upon completion, the State was widely considered the most technologically advanced theater in the United States. Costing close to $1 million dollars to build, the State Theater included a glass floor that allowed for direct lighting from underneath, seated nearly 2,000 patrons in the main level and balcony, and contained one of the first "well-driven air-conditioning system[s] in Minneapolis. Pumps, pipes and vents delivered cool air using artesian well water 840 feet underground, keeping the temperature at 72 degrees."

But with social distancing restrictions for COVID-19 only recently lifted, going to the movies to escape the summer heat has been off limits for many. Have you seen a movie in a theater recently? You can learn more about going to the movies in Minnesota in the 1930s by visiting the Minnesota's Greatest Generation exhibit. Photos courtesy MNHS Collections.

Address

345 Kellogg Blvd W
Saint Paul, MN
55102

Opening Hours

Thursday 10am - 4pm
Friday 10am - 4pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm
Sunday 11am - 4pm

Telephone

(651) 259-3000

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Tina Burnside, on becoming the curator and cofounder of the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery in North Minneapolis.
The best place to go to is a genealogical library to access. They know how its done and can help. The Norwegian National Library has just finished a project to scan all their books printed prior to 2000 and making them available online. That is about 270,000 books The collection can be accessed here: https://www.nb.no/search?mediatype=b%C3%B8ker Most of the books can only be accessed fro
I have been trying to gain access to the Wellstone archives at the MNHS since 2019. When Paul died unexpectedly the ownership of his papers went to his heirs. After almost 20 years the archives are not open to researchers. I am only looking for a few documents that I already have but need a reliable source in order to publish them. The Wellstone papers have been cataloged by the MNHS. I am perplexed as to why I have not been granted access to the archives by David Wellstone or even given an explanation for this. This material would only enhance the reputation of Paul Wellstone. This has raised concerns for me as to how Paul's papers are being managed.
I'm wondering if anyone has information or picture(s) of a National Humane Alliance Fountain that I believe was given to St. Paul. It was one of approximately 150 fountains similar to the one pictured given to communities all across the U.S. and beyond by the National Humane Alliance from about 1902 to 1915. I have found some evidence that a fountain was given and possibly installed at St. Peter, Market & West 6th Sts. Many communities received the fountains and then either moved them or discarded them because of changing traffic patterns. To date, I have been able to compile data and pictures on most of the fountains which can be found at http://electronicvalley.org/derby/quiz/pages/wateringtrough.htm as well as on an interactive Google map https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1NW8lnCl1lpM6uJai9jkOfmDYVfE&ll=38.70519172284092%2C-98.86504629030367&z=4 and I would like to be able to update the information with whatever you might have about the fountain in St. Paul or could direct me to someone who might know.
Any creepy and fun events for Halloween going on either virtually or "live" and socially distanced?
My presentation will feature St. Paul Czech-Slovak fraternal organizations based at the C.S.P.S. Hall in a webinar on Saturday, October 24, 2020, 9:45am – 4:00pm (CDT). The day's symposium's theme is "Fraternally Yours - The Importance of Sokols and Fraternal Insurance Organizations in Building Czech, Slovak, and Carpatho-Rusyn Community and Identity in America". Our C.S.P.S. Hall at 383 Michigan Street in Saint Paul is on the national historic register as the oldest Czech-Slovak Hall in the U.S., also arguably Minnesota's oldest theater. Fraternal organizations from the second half of the 1800s through the first half of the 1900s were critical in times of pandemics and illness. They also served as cultural, social and programmatic organizations. My overview begins at 12:45. https://cgsi.org/.../cgsi-2020-virtual-symposium-czech...
9.24.2016 Pro Football Hall @ Minnesota History Center
13th Annual West End Neighbors Garden (and History) Tour Saturday, September 12, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Take an open-air, sidewalk-stroll along gardens and history one of Minnesota’s oldest neighborhoods on Saturday, September 12, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Settings for the eight gardens are three-blocks of bluff and nineteenth century (and one modern) homes. (Houses are not on the tour.) Visitors must follow careful guidelines of the CDC and MDH: masks and social distancing. Gardens and the unique housing can be viewed from sidewalks though a few gardens can be entered/exited by postings at strategic points. Tour is free as is the history of 104 pages including over 100 images documented by 138 end notes. The narrative is the origin story of Fort Road/West Seventh Street, the Township/City of Saint Paul, and Territory/State of Minnesota, 1840-1940. The Upper Landing and Seven Corners illustrate tales of development highlighting German, Czech and Italian immigrant contributions. The history and garden-guide are distributed free only the day of the tour at Keg and Case Market, 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.. As for twelve-years past, local business and organization display advertising make the tours possible! Free-will donations are appreciated to support our neighborhood council, the West Seventh-Fort Road Federation in these challenging times. Join us!
I found these photos in one of my grandparent's photo albums. My grandma said they must have been taken by my grandpa during his fishing trips. I believe, based on the date on the pictures and the fact that there is a picture from Upsala INN on the same page, that they were taken during the floods of 1965 in Minnesota.
So... do you plan on extending the 1st Avenue exhibit in case anyone procrastinated getting there and now can't due to COVID-19? Asking for a friend. :)
1937 International Harvester D300
Still missing!! Lost dog in your area! If seen, please DON'T CHASE! Call this number. Please share.