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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What does the N95 mask have in common with pre-made gift bows and molded bra cups? Learn more about designer Sara Little...
06/08/2020
Ask Why - Design Museum Everywhere

What does the N95 mask have in common with pre-made gift bows and molded bra cups? Learn more about designer Sara Little Turnball whose work led to the development of many inventions using non-woven fibers at 3M and who disrupted many other aspects of industrial design.

"From an early age, the struggle for survival drove Sara to always ask, “Why?” This constant questioning of the status quo shaped her choices about how she lived her life. For Sara, all details mattered." https://designmuseumfoundation.org/ask-why/

Over the past weeks and the weeks to come, COVID-19, or coronavirus, is a critical issue each day. As the virus spreads, so does the symbol of the medical mask, the most current version called an N95 respirator. Stories of mask shortages for medical workers, the pros and cons of DIY masks, official....

First she got polio. Then she invented a game to help fellow patients. Retired schoolteacher Eleanor Abbott invented the...
06/05/2020
Candy Land | American Experience | PBS

First she got polio. Then she invented a game to help fellow patients. Retired schoolteacher Eleanor Abbott invented the classic board game Candyland (1948) for children hospitalized during a polio epidemic. What games are getting you through this pandemic?https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/candy-land/

Although Candy Land started in a polio ward, its connection to the infamous disease was kept secret for 50 years. Its steady rise in popularity was due to the fact that it entertained young children in a simple and fun way.

The First Avenue exhibit explores the incredibly diverse Minnesota music scene--music for hard times, music as resistanc...
06/03/2020

The First Avenue exhibit explores the incredibly diverse Minnesota music scene--music for hard times, music as resistance, music to bring joy, music as movement. And while many sights and sounds are on pause, there is still music everywhere--what are you listening to and why? Share your thoughts and musical recommendations below. Photo credit: Twin Birch Studios

06/01/2020

A week ago, George Floyd was murdered. To the Floyd family, we express our heartfelt condolences. We share the deep hurt that our friends, family, and community are feeling in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death.

We know that these are historic times. But sadly, Minnesota’s history is marked by other incidences of racial violence. We know the names of Philando Castile, Jamar Clark, and now George Floyd, by heart. We should also know the names of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie. Two weeks from today, June 15, marks 100 years since a white mob in Duluth lynched these three black men who had been falsely accused of a crime.

Understanding history matters more than ever in times like these. It is a lens through which we view the experiences of others and empathize with their struggles and triumphs. It is a way that we build a deeper understanding of the events that brought us to the crossroads we find ourselves in today. It challenges us to demand better from our community, from our civic and cultural institutions and perhaps, most importantly, from ourselves.

History can be a bridge that lets us cross the divides that separates us. At the Minnesota Historical Society, we commit to using the power of history to help Minnesota become a more reflective, inclusive and empathetic community.

Kent Whitworth, MNHS Director and CEO

The Replacements, one of the bands featured in the First Avenue exhibit, handed over their first demo tape to a local pr...
05/30/2020

The Replacements, one of the bands featured in the First Avenue exhibit, handed over their first demo tape to a local producer 40 years ago this month (yeesh!) when the band was still called Dogbreath. If you could form a band right now what would you call it and what kind of music would you play? Photo credit: Twin Birch Studios

05/29/2020
Native American Artist-in-Residence: Jessica Gokey

Spring has us thinking about this beautiful table accent made by Jessica Gokey, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, 2015, featured in the Our Home: Native Minnesota exhibit. Of the tablecloth, she wrote that it, "incorporates nearly twenty plants, berries, and herbs that are indigenous to this region." Have you spotted any of these plants growing near you? https://bit.ly/2X5Qjoy

http://www.mnhs.org/residencies Beadwork artist Jessica Gokey shares her experiences as a Native American Artist-in-Residence (NAAIR) at the Minnesota Histor...

In order to understand racism it's important to look beyond acts of violence to see the everyday structures and institut...
05/29/2020
History Forum: White women and their role in upholding white supremacy

In order to understand racism it's important to look beyond acts of violence to see the everyday structures and institutions that reinforce white supremacy. Join historian Elizabeth Gillespie McRae as she explores the history of white women in upholding white supremacy at the History Forum. #GeorgeFloyd
https://bit.ly/2XesHyh

Historian Elizabeth Gillespie McRae speaks at the History Forum about the role white women played in maintaining white supremacy in America.

As we continue to fight for equal rights today, it's a good time to look back at the work of those who have come before....
05/28/2020
The forgotten struggle for civil rights in the northern U.S.

As we continue to fight for equal rights today, it's a good time to look back at the work of those who have come before. Hear from NYU historian Thomas Sugrue as he talks about Northern activists from his book "Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North" at the History Forum. #GeorgeFloyd https://bit.ly/3ere93R

Here's the story of a Minnesota woman, Anna Arnold Hedgeman, who was a longtime activist for civil rights, but has been mostly forgotten.

There is a lot of talk about people who are making fortunes during the pandemic. What is the responsibility of the wealt...
05/22/2020
Why did Andrew Carnegie give it all away?

There is a lot of talk about people who are making fortunes during the pandemic. What is the responsibility of the wealthy in our society? American billionaire Andrew Carnegie decided to give his fortune away. But why? Find out in this History Forum with award-winning Carnegie biographer David Nasaw, recorded previously at the History Center. https://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/12/22/why-did-andrew-carnegie-give-it-all-away

A biographer of the industrialist disputes the idea that he wanted to atone for poor working conditions in the steel industry.

The History Center plantings this year honor the 100th anniversary of passage of the 19th Amendment. Yellow, white, and ...
05/22/2020

The History Center plantings this year honor the 100th anniversary of passage of the 19th Amendment. Yellow, white, and purple were the colors of the women's suffrage movement. Does this sprout a color scheme idea for your garden?

Explore the history of "fake news" in the US by listening to this re-air of the January History Forum with Michelle Nick...
05/14/2020
History Forum: The history of fake news in the U.S.

Explore the history of "fake news" in the US by listening to this re-air of the January History Forum with Michelle Nickerson, professor of history at Loyola University-Chicago.

The history of partisan media in America stretches back to the earliest newspapers through the early twentieth century when influential citizens began demanding accurate reporting that would inform our understanding of the nation and the world. Where do cable news and social media fit into this history and what does our partisan media past have to tell us about consuming the news today?

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/05/14/history-of-fake-news-in-america

History professor Michelle Nickerson speaks at the Minnesota Historical Society’s “History Forum” about “The History of Fake News in America.”

05/07/2020
Our Home: Ojibwe Homeland

Ojibwe people's journey to Minnesota began 1,500 years ago. From homes along the Atlantic Ocean, our ancestors trekked slowly westward. A prophecy led us to “the land where food grows on water.” While the History Center is temporarily closed, we invite you to learn more about the Ojibwe in this video from the Our Home: Native Minnesota exhibit. #AmericanIndianMonth #MNHSHistoryAtHome #HistoryFromHome

05/05/2020
Our Home: Dakota Homeland

Many places in Mni Sota Makoce, or Minnesota, are sacred. Dakota stories root us in these places. They teach us how to live with this land and to be good relatives. While the History Center is temporarily closed, you can learn more about Dakota history in this video from the Our Home: Native Minnesota exhibit. #AmericanIndianMonth #MNHSHistoryAtHome #HistoryFromHome

Minnesota is the homeland of the Dakota people.  A Dakota person’s family history can reach as far back as stories can t...
05/04/2020

Minnesota is the homeland of the Dakota people. A Dakota person’s family history can reach as far back as stories can tell. Elders and other storytellers are the best guides; however, this research guide from The Gale Family Library may help with some of the more recent parts of that history, especially in the late-19th and 20th centuries.

Learn more about the Dakota people in the Dakota Family History Research Guide: http://libguides.mnhs.org/dakotafh

Image: Woman holding an infant. Ca. 1930 MNHS Collections.

On this day, May 4th of 1863, 1,300 Dakota people (primarily women, children, and elders), non-combatants of the 1862 Da...
05/04/2020

On this day, May 4th of 1863, 1,300 Dakota people (primarily women, children, and elders), non-combatants of the 1862 Dakota War, were forcefully loaded onto steamboats, and removed from Minnesota to the Crow Creek reservation, in the South Eastern Dakota territory of South Dakota. Avis Charley is a Dakota (Spirit Lake) and Diné artist. This painting, done in the style of ledger art, depicts two women and a child on horseback over the state of South Dakota. Charley states, "...The women represent different generations and the virtues of our Dakota values. These values are courage, honesty, perseverance, and generosity and the message will be about healing, moving forward, and empowering ourselves as Dakota women despite the trauma in our history."

04/30/2020
Our Home: Native Minnesota with Curator Rita Walaszek Arndt

While the History Center is temporarily closed, we invite you to learn about the Our Home: Native Minnesota exhibit with one of its curators. In this video, MNHS Native American Collections Rita Walaszek Arndt shares her thoughts on co-curating an exhibit for the first time.

We invite you to tune in to Minnesota Public Radio today to learn about the invention of the "little globe of sunshine"—...
04/29/2020
MPR News Presents

We invite you to tune in to Minnesota Public Radio today to learn about the invention of the "little globe of sunshine"—otherwise known as the lightbulb. At noon MPR will air a History Forum program presented at the Minnesota History Center by University of Tennessee Professor Ernest Freeberg. Freeberg shares how the lightbulb changed lives and why some considered it a dangerous creation. https://bit.ly/2RCkBfg #MNHSHistoryAtHome #MuseumsFromHome

Speeches, documentaries and debates, weekdays from noon to 1 p.m.

04/28/2020
Our Home: Native Minnesota with Curator Ben Gessner

While the History Center is temporarily closed, we invite you to learn about the Our Home: Native Minnesota exhibit with one of its curators. In this video, MNHS Native American Collections Curator Ben Gessner shares what makes Our Home unique.

We are living in a historic moment. The Minnesota Historical Society is collecting and preserving Minnesotans’ stories r...
04/24/2020

We are living in a historic moment. The Minnesota Historical Society is collecting and preserving Minnesotans’ stories related to the COVID-19 health crisis so future generations can learn how the pandemic has impacted our lives. We invite you to read a sampling of these stories here and to share your story by clicking the link http://www.mnhs.org/blog/historyisnow. #HistoryIsNow

04/21/2020
Reflections on Prince's Passing

Today is the 4th anniversary of the passing of music icon, Prince. His passing stunned the world, including local Minneapolis musicians who were inspired by his artistry. Take a look at their reflections on Prince's life and legacy as chronicled in the #FirstAveExhibit at the #MNHistoryCenter.

#Prince #History #MNHSHistoryAtHome

04/21/2020
Red River Flood

On this day in 1997, the Red River crested in East Grand Forks at 54 feet, 26 feet above flood stage. While the Minnesota History Center is closed right now, this is one of the stories of Minnesota's resilience and recovery you can learn about in our Weather Permitting exhibit. Do you have memories of the flood? #MNHSHistoryAtHome

Footage courtesy KARE-11.

04/20/2020
My First Avenue Story: Jellybean Johnson

We sat down with Jellybean Johnson to talk about his experience being a part of the film "Purple Rain." What's your First Avenue story?

While the Minnesota History Center is temporarily closed, you can still peek into the #FirstAveExhibit. Watch interviews with Minnesota musicians and take a video tour of the legendary club exclusively on our website at http://www.mnhs.org/historycenter/activities/museum/first-avenue #MNHistoryCenter #MNHSHistoryAtHome

04/16/2020
My First Avenue Story: Dessa

We sat down with Dessa to talk about her favorite First Avenue memory. It's hard to choose just one! What's your First Ave Story?

While the Minnesota History Center is temporarily closed, you can still peek into the #FirstAveExhibit. Watch interviews with Minnesota musicians and take a video tour of the legendary club exclusively on our website at http://www.mnhs.org/historycenter/activities/museum/first-avenue #MNHistoryCenter #MNHSHistoryAtHome

Additional video courtesy:
Doomtree Records
Teddy Grimes / Extensive Knowledge Productions

For the continued safety of our staff and visitors, we have decided to keep our historic sites, museums, and library clo...
04/16/2020
COVID-19 Update

For the continued safety of our staff and visitors, we have decided to keep our historic sites, museums, and library closed and cancel all in-person events, field trips and rentals through June 30. This is in response to ongoing concerns over maintaining recommended social distancing practices in our public locations.

MNHS will also furlough a number of staff starting May 1 through June 30. To learn more visit our website at mnhs.org/covid-19.

The health and safety of our guests, volunteers, and staff is our highest priority. MNHS is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19, and we are in regular contact with local and state health officials.

We invite you to tune in to Minnesota Public Radio to learn about a very timely topic: the role of the federal governmen...
04/15/2020
MPR News Presents

We invite you to tune in to Minnesota Public Radio to learn about a very timely topic: the role of the federal government in all of our lives. Today at noon MPR is airing a History Forum presented earlier this year at the Minnesota History Center by Professor Steve Conn of Miami University. Listen, learn, and draw your own conclusions. https://bit.ly/2RCkBfg #MNHSHistoryAtHome #MuseumsFromHome

Speeches, documentaries and debates, weekdays from noon to 1 p.m.

04/13/2020
My First Avenue Story: Sophia Eris

We sat down with Sophia Eris to talk about her experience at First Avenue, specifically the epic dance party The Klituation. What's your First Avenue story?

While the Minnesota History Center is temporarily closed, you can still peek into the #FirstAveExhibit. Watch interviews with Minnesota musicians and take a video tour of the legendary club exclusively on our website at http://www.mnhs.org/historycenter/activities/museum/first-avenue #MNHistoryCenter #MNHSHistoryAtHome

The Klituation footage filmed by Teddy Grimes, Extensive Knowledge Productions. Fanny Pack used with permission from Sophia Eris.

04/09/2020
My First Avenue Story: Slug from Atmosphere

We sat down with Slug from Atmosphere to talk about his experience at First Avenue when opening for LL Cool J. See what lifesaving lesson he learned...

While the Minnesota History Center is temporarily closed, you can still peek behind the scenes of the #FirstAveExhibit. Watch interviews with Minnesota musicians and take a video tour of the legendary club exclusively on our website at https://bit.ly/2thIFaT #MNHistoryCenter #MNHSHistoryAtHome

Photo credits: Atmosphere photo by Daniel Corrigan, LL Cool J photos by Mika Väisänen, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. They have been modified for inclusion in this piece.

04/06/2020
My First Ave Story: Lori Barbero

We sat down with Lori Barbero of Babes in Toyland to talk about her experience at First Avenue during the disco era. What's your First Avenue story?

While the Minnesota History Center is temporarily closed, you can still peek into the #FirstAveExhibit. Watch interviews with Minnesota musicians and take a video tour of the legendary club exclusively on our website at http://www.mnhs.org/historycenter/activities/museum/first-avenue #MNHistoryCenter #MNHSHistoryAtHome

Photos courtesy of Dan Corrigan, Stephen Cysewski, and Steven Laboe. Footage from Night Times Mag.

04/03/2020
First Avenue & 7th St Entry

Looking for a virtual concert? Check out First Avenue's 50th Anniversary livesteam tonight at 7pm!

First Avenue & 7th St Entry

Multistreaming with https://restream.io/?ref=3xxOn

Celebrate our 50th Anniversary - With a Little Help From our Friends, hosted by Har Mar Superstar Now

04/03/2020
First Avenue in One Word

Everyone from Soul Asylum to Doomtree has played the First Avenue stage. Hear how they would describe First Avenue in one word. What is your word to describe your experiences at First Ave?

While the Minnesota History Center is temporarily closed, you can still peek into the #FirstAveExhibit. Watch interviews with Minnesota musicians and take a video tour of the legendary club exclusively on our website at https://bit.ly/2thIFaT #MNHistoryCenter #MNHSHistoryAtHome

03/30/2020
Minnesota Experience

It's a historic week in Minneapolis music! First Avenue & 7th St Entry turns 50 this Friday.

Here's a preview of the new TPT - Twin Cities PBS documentary "First Avenue: Closer to the Stars," which premieres tonight at 9.

You'll see some images from MNHS collections in the documentary, as well as some interviews we shot for our exhibit "First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota's Mainroom." #FirstAvenueExhibit

Get your backstage pass to discover the wild and wonderful history of Minnesota's most iconic club in the brand new documentary First Avenue: Closer to the Stars on TPT 2.

Join our Facebook event to swap memories with other First Ave fans during Monday's 9PM broadcast: https://bit.ly/3aljOab

Address

345 Kellogg Blvd W
Saint Paul, MN
55102

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10:00 - 20:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 12:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(651) 259-3000

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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.
The Dakota War of 1862. America’s forgotten Indian War. Hundreds of movies have been made about the battles between the troops of the US Army and the warriors of the Plains Indians, but none were ever made about this war or these battles. Only the Battle of the Little Big Horn had more casualties. Hundreds of white soldiers and settlers were killed. The number of Dakota who died is unknown. It ended with the biggest mass hanging in US history. Dacotah Blood tells a story of what might have happened during that tragic time.
Norwegians in Amerika Volume 1 (With a Norwegian and American Flag on the spine). Also, had 3 newspaper clippings in the back of the book of a Man's obituary. His family traveled by oxcart. Mentioned shell shock, Gettysburg, and counties across Minnesota. A fold out map in the back of the book (in tact) a VERY heavy book!
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10205501591375123&set=pcb.10205501609535577&type=3&theater KELLER/HELGESON at Hi Fi Records this Saturday, June 8th between 1PM-4PM to discuss and sing a simply marvelous briefing about Twin Cities Arts-Entertainment by two "cub" reporters from Sweet Potato..... Fun and informative.....
We loved the First Ave exhibit! Good thing it runs until May 2020, because one visit almost isn’t enough to take it all in. The “regular” exhibits always have tweaks and updates too, so even ones we’ve seen before have something new.
The exhibits are always comprehensive, but First Ave Main Room appeals to any musical taste in the TC music scene between 1970 and now! Super fun exhibit! I will go back for sure.
Ancestors from Skaraborg in Sweden? This trip is something for you!
Thrift store finds......
#1968 - my daughter brought me, my brother & his grandson to that event at the MN History Center. Though we enjoyed the event tremendously, it showed a very white & white washed view of the period. Vietnam was a large portion explored (rightfully so)! However political, societal, & cultural view was extremely narrow. In 1968 race riots in St. Paul followed the larger ones that occurred in Mpls during 1967. The war protests kept growing until the MN 8 broke into a gov't office to destroy draft cards in 1970. '68 was crucial towards that end. Media totally ignored popular talents such as Motown & the British Invasion, plus local talent such as Jim Miller, Pedesto, etc. I don't know, but the displays were very white, very acceptable to leaders in MN society, non-challenger to religious Catholic beliefs.