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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It is road construction season in Minnesota! This photo from 1953 shows a workman repairing a section of road along a st...
06/24/2021

It is road construction season in Minnesota! This photo from 1953 shows a workman repairing a section of road along a streetcar track. The Twin Cities had one of the best streetcar systems on the country. In 1954 the last streetcar ran in Minneapolis, their routes replaced by buses. You can learn more about streetcars in the Twin Cities in our Then Now Wow exhibit and in this article from MNOpedia: https://bit.ly/3qmm4ql.

Image courtesy MNHS collections.

It is road construction season in Minnesota! This photo from 1953 shows a workman repairing a section of road along a streetcar track. The Twin Cities had one of the best streetcar systems on the country. In 1954 the last streetcar ran in Minneapolis, their routes replaced by buses. You can learn more about streetcars in the Twin Cities in our Then Now Wow exhibit and in this article from MNOpedia: https://bit.ly/3qmm4ql.

Image courtesy MNHS collections.

Loon is a popular name for lakes in Minnesota; seven lakes share a name with our state bird. Do you know what the most p...
06/22/2021

Loon is a popular name for lakes in Minnesota; seven lakes share a name with our state bird. Do you know what the most popular lake name is in Minnesota?

Image of Loon Lake circa 1940 from MNHS collections.

On this day in 1919, the final installment of Sinclair Lewis's Free Air was published in The Saturday Evening Post. It w...
06/21/2021

On this day in 1919, the final installment of Sinclair Lewis's Free Air was published in The Saturday Evening Post. It would be made into a motion picture in 1922. Check out this fun photo from the filming that took place in Rosemount, MN.

Learn more about Sinclair Lewis in our new exhibit, Sinclair Lewis: 100 Years of Main Street, NOW OPEN at the Minnesota History Center. Please purchase tickets online at https://bit.ly/3opZZpg or by calling the box office at 651-259-3015. Tickets are also available onsite.

IMAGE Filming of Sinclair Lewis' "Free Air" in Rosemount, renamed Schoenstrom for the motion picture, MNHS Collections

On this day in 1919, the final installment of Sinclair Lewis's Free Air was published in The Saturday Evening Post. It would be made into a motion picture in 1922. Check out this fun photo from the filming that took place in Rosemount, MN.

Learn more about Sinclair Lewis in our new exhibit, Sinclair Lewis: 100 Years of Main Street, NOW OPEN at the Minnesota History Center. Please purchase tickets online at https://bit.ly/3opZZpg or by calling the box office at 651-259-3015. Tickets are also available onsite.

IMAGE Filming of Sinclair Lewis' "Free Air" in Rosemount, renamed Schoenstrom for the motion picture, MNHS Collections

06/19/2021
Juneteenth: the Legacy

Happy #Juneteenth! Juneteenth began in 1865 as a celebration of the end of slavery in Texas. What does it mean today? Historian Dr. Yohuru Williams, founder of the Racial Justice Initiative, believes Juneteenth is about agency and action, and still has incredible relevance.

Goat Conservation Grazing? What's that? Let's find out together! Today from 10 am to 4 pm, Minnesota Native Landscapes (...
06/17/2021

Goat Conservation Grazing? What's that? Let's find out together!

Today from 10 am to 4 pm, Minnesota Native Landscapes (MNL) will be deploying their team of goats to mow the prairie hill at the Minnesota History Center. This conservation grazing effort will take the place of typical biennial prescribed burning that has occurred in the past. The hill has been overrun with native sumac and other invasive species and the goats will assist with keeping those in check. The hill will look sparse after they're finished, but we'll see new life spring forth soon thereafter. MNL will be placing electric fences around the hill. If you wish to observe, please stay back from the area and let the hooved workers do their jobs uninterrupted. You can read more about conservation grazing here: https://bit.ly/3vtmI6s.

Goat Conservation Grazing? What's that? Let's find out together!

Today from 10 am to 4 pm, Minnesota Native Landscapes (MNL) will be deploying their team of goats to mow the prairie hill at the Minnesota History Center. This conservation grazing effort will take the place of typical biennial prescribed burning that has occurred in the past. The hill has been overrun with native sumac and other invasive species and the goats will assist with keeping those in check. The hill will look sparse after they're finished, but we'll see new life spring forth soon thereafter. MNL will be placing electric fences around the hill. If you wish to observe, please stay back from the area and let the hooved workers do their jobs uninterrupted. You can read more about conservation grazing here: https://bit.ly/3vtmI6s.

06/11/2021
Extraordinary Women: Claire O'Connor

On this day in 1961, Minnesotan Claire O'Connor entered a transit waiting room marked "colored" in Jackson, MS and was arrested. Learn more about this extraordinary woman when you visit our Extraordinary Women exhibit: https://bit.ly/2ZVyDg4

#ExtraordinaryWomen

Do you think Minnesota should have an official state color? After the death of Minnesota native Prince (whose love of pu...
06/09/2021

Do you think Minnesota should have an official state color? After the death of Minnesota native Prince (whose love of purple formed part of his image) in 2016, Sen. Karin Housley introduced SF3595 which would have designated purple the official color of the state of Minnesota. Should purple be the official color of Minnesota? What do you think?

Double Discount Days start tomorrow! From June 9-13, MNHS members enjoy 20% savings at participating sites including Spl...
06/08/2021

Double Discount Days start tomorrow! From June 9-13, MNHS members enjoy 20% savings at participating sites including Split Rock Lighthouse, Minnesota History Center, Mille Lacs Trading Post, James J. Hill House, and Historic Fort Snelling. Shop in person or online: https://shop.mnhs.org/

Double Discount Days start tomorrow! From June 9-13, MNHS members enjoy 20% savings at participating sites including Split Rock Lighthouse, Minnesota History Center, Mille Lacs Trading Post, James J. Hill House, and Historic Fort Snelling. Shop in person or online: https://shop.mnhs.org/

On this day in 1958, Minnesota-based singer, songwriter, musician, studio engineer, actor, director, dancer, and music l...
06/07/2021

On this day in 1958, Minnesota-based singer, songwriter, musician, studio engineer, actor, director, dancer, and music legend Prince Rogers Nelson was born. Over his nearly forty-year career, he sold more than 100 million albums; he also won seven Grammys and an Oscar. He was the main creator of the “Minneapolis Sound,” a blending of rhythm and blues, funk, rock, pop, punk, and new wave that defined the music of the 1980s. Learn more about Prince by visiting our MNopedia article. Happy Birthday, Prince! https://bit.ly/34IbNLk

On this day in 1958, Minnesota-based singer, songwriter, musician, studio engineer, actor, director, dancer, and music legend Prince Rogers Nelson was born. Over his nearly forty-year career, he sold more than 100 million albums; he also won seven Grammys and an Oscar. He was the main creator of the “Minneapolis Sound,” a blending of rhythm and blues, funk, rock, pop, punk, and new wave that defined the music of the 1980s. Learn more about Prince by visiting our MNopedia article. Happy Birthday, Prince! https://bit.ly/34IbNLk

On this day in history, June 6, 1944, Minnesota paratroopers jumped into danger during the D-Day invasion of Normandy as...
06/06/2021
Death from Above: Minnesota Paratroopers in World War II

On this day in history, June 6, 1944, Minnesota paratroopers jumped into danger during the D-Day invasion of Normandy as they did in campaigns around the globe during World War II.

To mark the anniversary of D-Day, former curator Matt Anderson introduces us to a few of Minnesota's own airborne soldiers while looking at their personal objects found within the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society: https://bit.ly/3uKCxoW

You can also learn more about Minnesota during WWII overseas and on the home front by visiting the Minnesota's Greatest Generation exhibit.

Paratroopers jumped into danger during the D-Day invasion of Normandy and in campaigns across the globe during World War II. To mark Memorial Day and the ann...

It is National Donut Day! Learn about the "Donut Lassies" of WWI in the linked article from Smithsonian magazine. These ...
06/04/2021
The Women Who Fried Donuts and Dodged Bombs on the Front Lines of WWI

It is National Donut Day! Learn about the "Donut Lassies" of WWI in the linked article from Smithsonian magazine. These brave women provided not only sweet treats, but also a connection to home for the soldiers at the front. Their bravery and service helped further the cause of suffrage. #ExtraOrdinaryWomen https://bit.ly/34GzYd6

Even if they had to use shell casings as rolling pins, the donuts still got made

The National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) convention was held in Minneapolis during May and June of 1901....
06/03/2021

The National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) convention was held in Minneapolis during May and June of 1901. The convention featured notable speakers, including Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, and other notable suffragists. Eighteen years later, the Nineteenth Amendment would pass in Minnesota. This invitation to the event was sent to Nellie S Gregory.

Learn more about the Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in Minnesota here: https://bit.ly/3g7s6Gu

The National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) convention was held in Minneapolis during May and June of 1901. The convention featured notable speakers, including Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, and other notable suffragists. Eighteen years later, the Nineteenth Amendment would pass in Minnesota. This invitation to the event was sent to Nellie S Gregory.

Learn more about the Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in Minnesota here: https://bit.ly/3g7s6Gu

In May 1917, The State Committee of Food Production and Conservation released a bulletin instructing Minnesotans to plan...
05/29/2021

In May 1917, The State Committee of Food Production and Conservation released a bulletin instructing Minnesotans to plant home gardens. Liberty (or Victory) Gardens, as homegrown plots became known in 1918, were a crucial part of food conservation efforts, since vegetables could take the place of meat- and wheat-based dishes. The group that coordinated the state’s war efforts, the Minnesota Commission of Public Safety (MCPS), wrote in their newsletter that flying a flag at the front of the house would mean little for the war effort unless there was a garden in the backyard. Learn more about Victory Gardens by visiting MNopedia: https://bit.ly/2RHDVLx.

IMAGE: A store display window in St. Paul promotes home gardening, c.1918.

In May 1917, The State Committee of Food Production and Conservation released a bulletin instructing Minnesotans to plant home gardens. Liberty (or Victory) Gardens, as homegrown plots became known in 1918, were a crucial part of food conservation efforts, since vegetables could take the place of meat- and wheat-based dishes. The group that coordinated the state’s war efforts, the Minnesota Commission of Public Safety (MCPS), wrote in their newsletter that flying a flag at the front of the house would mean little for the war effort unless there was a garden in the backyard. Learn more about Victory Gardens by visiting MNopedia: https://bit.ly/2RHDVLx.

IMAGE: A store display window in St. Paul promotes home gardening, c.1918.

While the two most recognizable 3M consumer products are probably Scotch Tape and Post-it Notes, there are many other pr...
05/27/2021

While the two most recognizable 3M consumer products are probably Scotch Tape and Post-it Notes, there are many other products that 3M has pioneered—some even by accident. In 1953, lab technicians Patsy Sherman and Joan Mullen were working on fluorochemical rubber particles when Mullen accidentally dropped a beaker of the fluid on her shoes. Finding it impossible to get the fluid off of Mullen’s shoes, Sherman found that this was an opportunity she could develop further. A few years later, Scotchgard fabric protector was introduced, and Sherman continued to improve the still-popular product throughout her career.

Learn more about 3M and their contemporary contributions by watching our Item of the Week video, which explores the theme of innovation, including the role of Minnesota companies in the response to COVID-19: https://bit.ly/2T9JyCt

While the two most recognizable 3M consumer products are probably Scotch Tape and Post-it Notes, there are many other products that 3M has pioneered—some even by accident. In 1953, lab technicians Patsy Sherman and Joan Mullen were working on fluorochemical rubber particles when Mullen accidentally dropped a beaker of the fluid on her shoes. Finding it impossible to get the fluid off of Mullen’s shoes, Sherman found that this was an opportunity she could develop further. A few years later, Scotchgard fabric protector was introduced, and Sherman continued to improve the still-popular product throughout her career.

Learn more about 3M and their contemporary contributions by watching our Item of the Week video, which explores the theme of innovation, including the role of Minnesota companies in the response to COVID-19: https://bit.ly/2T9JyCt

Josie dreams of dancing at next summer’s powwow. But first she needs many special things: a dress, a shawl, a cape, legg...
05/26/2021

Josie dreams of dancing at next summer’s powwow. But first she needs many special things: a dress, a shawl, a cape, leggings, moccasins, and, perhaps most important of all, her spirit name. To gather all these essential pieces, she calls on her mom, her aunty, her kookum, and Grandma Greatwalker. They have the skills to prepare Josie for her powwow debut.

In "Josie Dances," a children's book that tells an Ojibwe girl’s coming-of-age story, Denise Lajimodiere highlights her own daughter’s experience at powwow. Elegant artwork by Angela Erdrich features not only Josie and her family but also the animals and seasons and heartbeat of Aki, Mother Earth, and the traditions that link Josie to generations past and yet to come.

This title is available at the Minnesota History Center stores. Shop in person or online. Curbside pick up is also available. https://shop.mnhs.org/

Josie dreams of dancing at next summer’s powwow. But first she needs many special things: a dress, a shawl, a cape, leggings, moccasins, and, perhaps most important of all, her spirit name. To gather all these essential pieces, she calls on her mom, her aunty, her kookum, and Grandma Greatwalker. They have the skills to prepare Josie for her powwow debut.

In "Josie Dances," a children's book that tells an Ojibwe girl’s coming-of-age story, Denise Lajimodiere highlights her own daughter’s experience at powwow. Elegant artwork by Angela Erdrich features not only Josie and her family but also the animals and seasons and heartbeat of Aki, Mother Earth, and the traditions that link Josie to generations past and yet to come.

This title is available at the Minnesota History Center stores. Shop in person or online. Curbside pick up is also available. https://shop.mnhs.org/

Olivia Poole was an inventor raised on the Ojibwe White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. There, she was inspired by the t...
05/24/2021

Olivia Poole was an inventor raised on the Ojibwe White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. There, she was inspired by the traditional practice of using a bouncing cradleboard to soothe babies. She later moved to Canada and in 1957 she patented her invention, the baby jumper, under the name Jolly Jumper. This invention made her one of the first Indigenous women in Canada to patent and profit from an invention.

Today, baby jumpers continue to be popular with families and babies. Explore our incredible cradleboard collection that inspired Olivia Poole by visiting the museum galleries or checking out our online collections: https://search.mnhs.org/index.php?q=cradleboard&collection%5B%5D=mn_mhs-cms

Join us TODAY, May 20 at 3 pm, as author Denise Lajimodiere (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) and illustrator Dr. Angel...
05/20/2021

Join us TODAY, May 20 at 3 pm, as author Denise Lajimodiere (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) and illustrator Dr. Angela Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) share their new children's picture book "Josie Dances" in a conversation hosted by Collections Outreach Specialist Rita Walaszek Arndt (White Earth Ojibwe).

In this Ojibwe girl’s coming-of-age story, Denise highlights her own daughter’s experience at powwow. Elegant artwork by Angela features not only Josie and her family but also the animals, seasons and heartbeat of Aki, Mother Earth, and the traditions that link Josie to generations past and yet to come. Learn more by visiting our calendar: https://bit.ly/3tTvry6

Join us TODAY, May 20 at 3 pm, as author Denise Lajimodiere (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) and illustrator Dr. Angela Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) share their new children's picture book "Josie Dances" in a conversation hosted by Collections Outreach Specialist Rita Walaszek Arndt (White Earth Ojibwe).

In this Ojibwe girl’s coming-of-age story, Denise highlights her own daughter’s experience at powwow. Elegant artwork by Angela features not only Josie and her family but also the animals, seasons and heartbeat of Aki, Mother Earth, and the traditions that link Josie to generations past and yet to come. Learn more by visiting our calendar: https://bit.ly/3tTvry6

As a young man, Frederick McKinley Jones spent many hours helping repair race cars for a garage in Cincinnati, OH. In hi...
05/19/2021

As a young man, Frederick McKinley Jones spent many hours helping repair race cars for a garage in Cincinnati, OH. In his spare time, Jones designed and built his own racing cars. He moved to Minnesota in 1912 and took a farm mechanic position. Here he met Oscar Younggren and together they built a race car named Number 15. Younggren was also working on an airplane. Jones and Younggren later raced each other, car versus plane, drawing in hundreds of spectators, with Jones declared the winner.

In 1918, Jones enlisted in the 809th Pioneer Infantry, a Minnesota regiment that would put his mechanic skills to good use, most notably for the transformation of a slow mail car into a snowmachine complete with steering, brakes, and a car engine.

After the war, Jones returned to racing and quickly earned success as a driver, known as the "Speed King" and the "Daredevil." After several accidents, Jones redirected his passion. He took the experience he had gained making race cars handle smoothly, applied the techniques to refrigeration units, placed the units on top of a truck's cargo box, and revolutionized the food industry. Learn more about Jones and Thermo King by visiting our MNopedia page: https://bit.ly/3v1wWfs

As a young man, Frederick McKinley Jones spent many hours helping repair race cars for a garage in Cincinnati, OH. In his spare time, Jones designed and built his own racing cars. He moved to Minnesota in 1912 and took a farm mechanic position. Here he met Oscar Younggren and together they built a race car named Number 15. Younggren was also working on an airplane. Jones and Younggren later raced each other, car versus plane, drawing in hundreds of spectators, with Jones declared the winner.

In 1918, Jones enlisted in the 809th Pioneer Infantry, a Minnesota regiment that would put his mechanic skills to good use, most notably for the transformation of a slow mail car into a snowmachine complete with steering, brakes, and a car engine.

After the war, Jones returned to racing and quickly earned success as a driver, known as the "Speed King" and the "Daredevil." After several accidents, Jones redirected his passion. He took the experience he had gained making race cars handle smoothly, applied the techniques to refrigeration units, placed the units on top of a truck's cargo box, and revolutionized the food industry. Learn more about Jones and Thermo King by visiting our MNopedia page: https://bit.ly/3v1wWfs

Address

345 Kellogg Blvd W
Saint Paul, MN
55102

Opening Hours

Thursday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday 10:00 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00
Sunday 11:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(651) 259-3000

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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.