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Museum Collections Up Close : MNHS.ORG » Podcasts and Slideshows

Every object tells a story, and Collections Up Close presents short, illustrated features that highlight the stories and history behind selected items in the Minnesota Historical Society's museum collections.

Last Build Date: Fri, 07 Apr 2017 05:01:09 +0000

Copyright: ©Minnesota Historical Society

USS Minnesota in the Civil War and Beyond

Thu, 26 Mar 2015 21:22:02 +0000

Any idea how many ships have borne the name USS Minnesota? Learn about the ship, its role in the Civil War, and where you can see ship artifacts from the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections. Learn More: Civil War Daybook Civil War Collections Minnesota Historical Society Gale Family Library


Thu, 22 May 2014 19:13:37 +0000

Learn about the new exhibit Toys and about which iconic toys from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s were invented right here in Minnesota. Will your favorites be among them? Learn More: Visit Toys of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s Search for more toys in Collections Online

Charles Chamblis Photography Collection

Mon, 21 Apr 2014 21:41:44 +0000

From family reunions to the nightclub scene, there is no one who documented the Twin Cities Black community like Charles Chamblis. Affectionately called “The Pictureman,” he had a passion for photography and a knack for being everywhere at the right time. The Minnesota Historical Society is thrilled to have a collection of over 2,000 of [...]

Remembering Joan Mondale

Wed, 05 Feb 2014 17:40:15 +0000

Joan Mondale, wife of former Senator and Vice-President Walter Mondale, passed away this week at the age of 83. She was a passionate arts advocate, partner in politics, potter, and mother. Seen here are a selection of images from her personal papers and Mr. Mondale’s papers, both at the Minnesota Historical Society. These images show many [...]

Baseball in Minnesota: the Early Years

Fri, 23 Aug 2013 14:55:53 +0000

A look at the early days of the Great American Pastime in Minnesota, from its beginnings post-Civil War up to the arrival of the Minnesota Twins.

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Mon, 03 Jun 2013 19:31:24 +0000

Minnesota has a long history of transportation, but one of the most dramatic eras is that of the railroads. This video shows the beauty and excitement of trains, using film footage, photos, and objects from the Minnesota Historical Society’s Collection. A longer version of this piece will be showing at the Northern Spark Festival in Lowertown, [...]

Minnesota Stories: St. Paul’s Fitzgerald

Thu, 09 May 2013 19:02:50 +0000

The Great Gatsby, now a new major motion picture, was written by a man with Minnesota roots. Discover St. Paul’s F. Scott Fitzgerald and stories you may not have heard.

They Chose Minnesota: Immigration to the North Star State

Fri, 03 May 2013 17:57:32 +0000

Immigrants are an important part of the Minnesota story. This episode looks at immigration through what people brought with them to their new home. What was useful, what held memories, what shows why they had to leave?

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Andersonville and Civil War Prisoners

Wed, 06 Mar 2013 22:17:06 +0000

Prisoner of war camps during the Civil War were often more dangerous than the battlefield. Watch to learn more about the system of prisoner exchanges and how circumstances deteriorated as the war dragged on. Andersonville is particularly noted, as many Minnesota soldiers spent time there. Learn More: Civil War Daybook Civil War Collections Minnesota and the Civil War Exhibit [...]

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Believe Me True: Victorian Valentines, 1840 – 1900

Thu, 07 Feb 2013 14:52:10 +0000

This episode features Victorian valentines from the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections, dating from 1840 to 1900. While the designs are vintage, the feelings expressed are timeless. Produced by Lizzie Ehrenhalt For more valentines, see Collections Online.

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Weather or Not: Winter in Minnesota

Wed, 23 Jan 2013 23:11:59 +0000

As Minnesotans, we love to talk about the weather. Talk about it, obsess over it, live in it, love it. Or love hating it, at least. Since the Saint Paul Winter Carnival and Crashed Ice start soon, we thought this a good time to look at a variety of winter weather from images and film [...]

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Season’s Greetings!

Tue, 18 Dec 2012 15:53:19 +0000

View a selection of holiday greeting cards from the Minnesota Historical Society’s extensive collection. These are dated between 1878 – 1967. Enjoy!

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Walter Mondale and the Public Affairs Collection

Wed, 21 Nov 2012 21:11:19 +0000

The Minnesota Historical Society holds the Walter F. Mondale Papers and has one of the nation’s premier collections of government, politics, and public affairs materials. Watch to learn more about the collections and how to use these fabulous materials. Learn More: Walter F. Mondale Collection Government, Politics, and Public Affairs Attend an Evening with Mondale and the Public Affairs [...]

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Shoes on Parade: Highlights from the Minnesota Historical Society’s Footwear Collection

Wed, 17 Oct 2012 17:11:22 +0000

View footwear highlights from the Minnesota Historical Society’s Collection featuring styles from the 18th century, through the 1920s, into the 1960s, and beyond. Created by Lizzie Ehrenhalt Learn More: More shoes! in Collections Online Materials about shoes in the Library Collection

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Firefighting in Minnesota: A Salute to the Fallen

Fri, 28 Sep 2012 04:21:58 +0000

On September 30, 2012 a memorial for Minnesota’s fallen firefighters will be dedicated on the State Capitol grounds.  This podcast highlights both the memorial and the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections related to firefighting in Minnesota. Sondra Reierson, Collections Assistant Learn More: See Collections Online to view photographs and artifacts related to firefighting in Minnesota See History Center Library website to search [...]

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The Road to Prohibition

Wed, 29 Aug 2012 15:31:41 +0000

In 1919 the Eighteenth Amendment was passed, banning the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol in the United States.  Just a year before the law went into effect, Minnesota could boast 37 breweries producing over a million barrels of fermented liquors and distributing them to over 3,000 retail liquor dealers.  In Minnesota, as in the [...]

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Inventions of Champions: How Minnesota Changed Breakfast

Wed, 18 Jul 2012 20:35:42 +0000

For many Americans, the word “breakfast” conjures up images of hearty bowls of cereal and toasters popping out slices of golden-brown bread. But it hasn’t always been this way.  Explore how breakfast has changed over time and learn about Minnesotans’ impact on this most important and delicious meal of the day!

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Have Sticker, Will Travel: Minnesota State Park Stickers

Wed, 20 Jun 2012 19:40:33 +0000

A recent acquisition of the State Archives came from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Included in this was a complete set of State Park Entrance Stickers. This podcast provides a brief history of use of Minnesota State Parks entrance stickers. State Archives collections are available through the Minnesota Historical Society’s Library. Music Credit: Jason [...]

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Two Constitutions?

Wed, 30 May 2012 22:12:32 +0000

Minnesota is governed by two constitutions – why? Watch this short video to learn more. Hint: politicians not getting along is nothing new. Learn More: We the People: The First Official Printing of the U.S. Constitution is on view at the History Center through July 4, 2012 See full scans of the two Minnesota State Constitutions Music credit: “Indiana Polka” [...]

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Photographing Minnehaha Falls

Thu, 10 May 2012 21:19:01 +0000

With summer just around the corner and prime picnicking season already upon us, we present a century’s worth of images of that perennial warm-weather sightseeing destination: Minnehaha Falls. Tourists and naturalists alike have long appreciated the falls and surrounding parkland for their dramatic views, shady woods and abundant wildlife. Luckily for future generations, [...]

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Release of the 1940 Federal Census

Mon, 02 Apr 2012 19:26:02 +0000

This short video addresses the release of the 1940 Federal Census, including what kind of information it contains and how to access it. It also mentions the resources the Minnesota Historical Society has to help find people in it, as indexing will not be complete for another six months or so. [...]

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Moving the Sessions Laws

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 15:44:05 +0000

The Minnesota Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie, recently requested the transfer of the state’s Session Laws to the State Archives of the Minnesota Historical Society. This podcast describes these important historical records, shows the moving process, and explains how they will be preserved for future generations.

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Introducing Collections Online

Fri, 09 Mar 2012 22:33:13 +0000

Have you been wondering how to use our fabulous new search tool, Collections Online? Take a look at this video for helpful hints to get started finding photographs, objects, artwork, oral histories, moving images, maps, and more! You control the search; you have the power to make it as wide or narrow as need be, [...]

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What a Picture is Worth: The Sadie and Emma Ray Photography Collection

Mon, 27 Feb 2012 20:59:15 +0000

When genealogists set out to piece together the lives of their research subjects, they often concentrate on text-based sources like letters, city directories and vital records. But photographs also provide a wealth of information about the lives of the people they capture, and can be used to fill in gaps in written histories. [...]

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Becoming a Citizen: Naturalization Records, 1850 – 1930

Mon, 13 Feb 2012 17:16:34 +0000

In a nation of immigrants, becoming a citizen — being “naturalized” — has been an important part of our personal and national history. The naturalization process, and the records that document that process, have changed over time. Learn about these changes and about related resources available at the [...]

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History on Ice!

Tue, 24 Jan 2012 17:04:07 +0000

Ice skating has long been part of Minnesota’s identity and winter traditions. In this podcast we examine the beginnings of the sport in the state as well as some early innovators who had national and worldwide impact. Enjoy the history, and then get out there – the ice is perfect! Sondra Reierson Music credit:  Chabrier – España [...]

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The Hill House Servants: Life Downstairs

Fri, 06 Jan 2012 23:06:29 +0000

Not unlike the divided household of Downton Abbey, we have a dramatic example of upstairs/downstairs life right here in Minnesota. The “Empire Builder” James J. Hill and his family were the primary occupants of 240 Summit Avenue but another, less familiar group of people lived there as well: the 10 to 12 live-in domestic servants [...]

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Beyond the Doughboy: Minnesota Mascots

Mon, 19 Dec 2011 22:55:38 +0000

Explore the curious, cute, weird, and wonderful world of mascots who represent the Great State of Minnesota. From a lumberjack and Twins to a gopher and a duck, the mascots are a recognizable part of life in Minnesota and often our ambassadors to the world beyond.

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Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 22:40:04 +0000

Often students come in to the Library with assignments to do research in primary source materials, but find that they’re not quite sure what a primary source is. This video provides a brief discussion of primary and secondary sources with examples from the Society’s collections.

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A Brief History of Bow Ties

Tue, 01 Nov 2011 14:20:45 +0000

This informative piece on the history of bow ties focuses on those in the Minnesota Historical Society’s Collection. Consider updating your look using tried and true retro fashion! Part of the ‘Things Used to be Cooler’ series. Watch for more fashion and living tips from the past coming soon!

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The 1968 Exhibit

Tue, 11 Oct 2011 14:13:37 +0000

The events, politics, movements, music and television of the late Sixties return in The 1968 Exhibit. Objects Curator Matt Anderson takes a look at some of the exhibit’s artifacts drawn from the Minnesota Historical Society’s collection. Music credit: “Slow Burn,” performed by Kevin MacLeod (CC BY 3.0). Learn More: The 1968 Exhibit American Indian Movement (AIM) Hubert H. Humphrey Eugene McCarthy [...]

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The Kensington Runestone: a Minnesota Mystery

Mon, 19 Sep 2011 21:04:10 +0000

The Kensington Runestone has been a point of controversy, contention, pride, and interest since it was discovered in 1898 by Swedish immigrant farmer Olof Ohman. Reference Specialist Debbie Miller discusses the story behind this important piece of Minnesota history and some of the resources the Minnesota Historical Society has relating to it. [...]

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Spectacular Fair: the Minnesota State Fair

Mon, 22 Aug 2011 15:00:52 +0000

The Minnesota State Fair is nothing if not full of spectacle. Collections Assistant Christopher Welter shares a few of the thousands of State Fair photos in the Society’s collection, with a special emphasis on the fair’s more spectacular offerings over the years. Learn More: See more State Fair images Minnesota State Fair Walking Tour Watch Minnesota State Fair in [...]

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Railroad Collections at the Minnesota Historical Society

Tue, 09 Aug 2011 20:17:31 +0000

Minnesota has a vast railroad history, both as a gateway to the Pacific Northwest and as home to several major railroad companies. The Society’s collections document this legacy through artifacts used on the railroads and through the corporate papers of the Great Northern, the Northern Pacific, the Soo Line and others. Curator Matt Anderson and [...]

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Political Landscape: Jerome Liebling’s Minnesota Capitol Photographs, 1956 – 1969

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 15:45:20 +0000

Jerome Liebling began his career as a photographer in New York in the 1940s. In 1949, his move to Minnesota shifted his work to a more rural landscape. His art, however, maintained its focus on people and the spaces that they occupy. During the late 1950s, a time when Minnesota was becoming nationally known for [...]

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Michael J. Dowling Silent Film

Fri, 24 Jun 2011 17:04:05 +0000

The Minnesota Historical Society is pleased to make available a silent film clip featuring Michael J. Dowling (1866-1921). Dowling, a Minnesota politician, newspaper publisher, businessmen, and spokesperson for those with physical disabilities lost both legs, most of one arm and part of another to frostbite when he was young. During and after World War I [...]

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Highlights from the Crump Collection

Fri, 27 May 2011 21:34:40 +0000

In the fall of 2008, Minnesota lost two of its most ardent art enthusiasts, Robert L. and Patricia Kennedy Crump. In memory of their life in art, the Crump family donated over 100 objects to the Minnesota Historical Society, including art, photographs and 3D objects. This audio slide show, narrated by Curator of Art Brian [...]

Don’t Say Underwear, Say Munsingwear

Thu, 05 May 2011 16:05:12 +0000

For nearly 100 years after its founding in 1886, the Munsingwear Company was known for its innovations in both style and manufacturing techniques and materials. The largest producer of branded underwear in the U.S., it was also the largest employer of women in Minnesota. Curator Linda McShannock explores the company’s numerous “firsts” over the course [...]

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War for the West: Minnesota regiments in the Civil War

Tue, 05 Apr 2011 17:17:05 +0000

While the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry is well known for its service at Gettysburg, the state sent 21 other military units to the Civil War. In this episode, Brian Pease shares the stories of three of Minnesota’s lesser known units, each of which made important contributions in the war’s Western Theater. The [...]

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March of the Doughboys

Fri, 25 Mar 2011 18:56:40 +0000

We celebrate the Pillsbury Doughboy, arguably Minnesota’s best-known advertising icon, with a look at some of the nearly 600 objects in the Minnesota Historical Society’s collection that feature Poppin’ Fresh. Many of these items are drawn from the Richard Ferrell Flour Milling Industry History Collection.

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Increasing Online Access to Collections

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 19:54:04 +0000

With financial support from the Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund, seven Collections Assistants joined the Minnesota Historical Society in September 2010 to further the Society’s goal of increasing online access to its collections. By digitizing three-dimensional objects, government records, fine art, photographs, books and manuscripts, the Collections Assistants have shared [...]

Bringing your class to the library

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 16:13:38 +0000

Did you know that as a teacher you can bring your class to visit the library? Once here, your students can use our books, audio-visual materials, newspapers, maps, manuscript collections, and public records to research local historical events and topics in Minnesota’s history. For more information, visit the library’s class visits page.

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Donation Decisions: An Inside Look

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 17:48:56 +0000

Bringing a new donation into the collection isn’t a simple matter. Curators evaluate each offer based on its physical condition, its unique story, and its potential exhibit and research uses. In this episode, we take a behind-the-scenes look at the Minnesota Historical Society’s thorough and thoughtful donation process.

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St. Paul Winter Carnival

Thu, 27 Jan 2011 22:00:38 +0000

It’s time once again for the St. Paul Winter Carnival, and Reference Librarian Hamp Smith celebrates with a look at Winter Carnival materials in the Society’s collections. Highlights include photographs, personal diaries, marching uniforms, and film footage of the 1916 and 1942 parades.

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St. Paul’s Trailblazing Policewoman

Mon, 10 Jan 2011 13:12:21 +0000

Carolen Bailey was a pioneer for women in law enforcement across the country and especially in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she spent her career proving a woman’s ability to perform the same duties as her male counterparts. Working her way up from the Juvenile Division, Bailey became the first female homicide investigator in Saint Paul [...]

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Victorian Wire Wrap Ornaments

Thu, 16 Dec 2010 15:15:01 +0000

The Minnesota Historical Society holds many Christmas-related objects, including a number of elaborate, hand-made ornaments from the Victorian era. Volunteer Kelly Ryan explains the materials and techniques commonly used in making these ornaments and highlights several examples from the Collection.

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St. Paul: Gangster Haven

Tue, 07 Dec 2010 20:42:00 +0000

St. Paul had a widespread – if inglorious – reputation as a criminal safe haven during the Gangster Era of the 1930s. In this episode, Government Records Specialist Charles Rodgers shares several items from the Society’s collection associated with that colorful age. Learn More: “Gangsters in St. Paul” History Topic Page John Dillinger Slept Here Guide to [...]

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1963 Andersen – Rolvaag Election Recount

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 22:33:03 +0000

Reposted from November 19, 2008 Acquisitions Librarian Patrick Coleman explains the complicated events that led to the 1963 recount. A variety of film from the KSTP-TV Archive shows us the players in this newly relevant drama including Elmer Andersen, Karl Rolvaag, the voters, the judges and vote-counters, and even JFK. For Minnesota news outlets to rebroadcast any [...]

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Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940

Wed, 10 Nov 2010 17:00:39 +0000

On November 11th of each year, Americans celebrate Veteran’s Day, acknowledging the services and sacrifices of the men and women of the American military. But in the minds of many Minnesotans the day evokes an additional memory: that of a powerful winter storm that exploded over Minnesota in 1940 and is remembered today as the [...]

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Women’s Suffrage: 90th Anniversary

Mon, 01 Nov 2010 19:45:13 +0000

This year, 2010, is the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment giving women the right to vote. Linda McShannock, Object Curator at the Minnesota Historical Society, shows objects from the Collection relating to the important Women’s Suffrage Movement. We also learn that pink was not the first color to be associated with [...]

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Immigrant Oral Histories

Mon, 25 Oct 2010 15:10:20 +0000

Since 1948 the Minnesota Historical Society has used oral history to collect stories of our state’s past. Project Assistant Jillian Odland shares oral history interviews conducted with new immigrants and refugees, which have recently been digitized and are now available in two web resources: Becoming Minnesotan and Immigrant Oral Histories.

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Military Records

Thu, 14 Oct 2010 20:53:49 +0000

Military service has been an important event in the lives of many Minnesotans since the state’s earliest years.  The Minnesota State Archives, part of the Minnesota Historical Society Collections,  is a rich resource for documenting Minnesotans’ service in the state’s National Guard as well as overseas.  The collection is particularly strong for the period from [...]

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Folding Reed Organ

Wed, 22 Sep 2010 16:17:02 +0000

Curator Matt Anderson shares the story behind a World War II-era folding reed organ used at the Fort Snelling post hospital. Organist Sally Reynolds performs the hymn “Rock of Ages” on the recently-conserved instrument.

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Artifact and Rare Book Handling: To Glove or Not to Glove?

Thu, 26 Aug 2010 14:11:12 +0000

When handling rare and often valuable historic objects and books, are gloves always necessary? Object Curator Matt Anderson and Acquisitions Librarian Patrick Coleman discuss when gloves are helpful versus when they do more harm than good; several specific examples are shown.

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Minnesota’s Connection to Glacier National Park

Fri, 09 Jul 2010 14:51:22 +0000

The Minnesota Historical Society is home to a large variety of documents, books, and photographs related to Glacier National Park in Northwestern Montana. In this podcast Collections Assistant Jillian Odland explains Minnesota’s connection to the foundation and history this spectacular park.

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Hearing History: Sounds of the Collection

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 09:31:01 +0000

Seeing historic objects is a wonderful experience, but some things are meant to be heard. In this episode, Objects Curator Matt Anderson listens to a few items from the collection that are either pleasant-sounding, melodic, or just plain noisy.

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Death From Above: Minnesota Paratroopers in World War II

Fri, 28 May 2010 10:30:34 +0000

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 anniversary of D-Day, curator Matt Anderson introduces a few of Minnesota’s own airborne soldiers while looking at their personal artifacts found within the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. [...]

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New Sculptures from the Collection

Mon, 10 May 2010 16:26:48 +0000

Art Curator Brian Szott shows three new additions to the Minnesota Historical Society’s Art Collection, including two modernist sculptures of Mother and Child.

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Stillwater Prison Industries

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 17:30:43 +0000

Charles Rodgers, Government Records Specialist, takes a look at Stillwater Prison Industries. Since the 1890s, inmates have manufactured everything from twine to office furniture. The Society’s collections include records, reports, photographs, and sample products that illuminate this unique enterprise.

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150 Year-Old Civil War Hardtack!

Thu, 11 Mar 2010 16:55:29 +0000

Curator Matt Anderson shows a very old piece of food from the Minnesota Historical Society’s collection: an original piece of hardtack from the Civil War. It’s one of the more bizarre items in the collection, and an edible that was made to last.

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Photographs from the Hill Family Collection

Tue, 02 Feb 2010 21:40:06 +0000

The Hill Family Collection, which includes the papers of St. Paul tycoon James J. Hill and other Hill family members, contains over 8,000 individual photographs and graphic images.   In this podcast project cataloger Jillian Odland shares just a few examples of the many photos, drawings, paintings, and posters found in the collection.

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Fine Press and Artists’ Books

Mon, 11 Jan 2010 21:11:22 +0000

Acquisitions Librarian Patrick Coleman explains what fine press and artists’ books are, why we collect them, and their importance to the culture of Minnesota. Several examples of these important works are shown; all are available in the Minnesota Historical Society Library.

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Minnesotans and the Space Program

Wed, 02 Dec 2009 20:50:11 +0000

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. We commemorate this milestone with a look at some of the Minnesotans who have contributed their talents to NASA over the years, along with some of the space-related objects in the Society’s collection. The space program endures as another legacy of Minnesota’s Greatest [...]

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How Your Library Book Gets to You

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 23:17:31 +0000

Patrons of the Society’s library know that it has “closed stacks.” Reference Assistants retrieve your requested books and bring them to you. In this episode, Acquisitions Librarian Patrick Coleman takes us behind the scenes to see where the books are stored, and how they make their way to the reading room.

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Conserving Minnesota’s Battle Flags

Tue, 03 Nov 2009 23:37:55 +0000

The Minnesota Historical Society recently began a project to conserve several Civil War and Spanish American War battle flags. Doug Bekke, Assistant to the Textile Conservator, explains the painstaking process of examining and treating each of these historic banners.

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Preserving Death: Funerary Objects

Mon, 19 Oct 2009 22:17:20 +0000

We get into the Halloween spirit with a podcast on death-related objects in the Society’s collection. Curator Matt Anderson provides an overview of changing funeral customs, and then shares a look at a casket, a hearse, tombstones, and more.

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Good Government through Digital Infrastructure and Preservation

Thu, 08 Oct 2009 17:54:08 +0000

Through the Library of Congress’ National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) the Minnesota Historical Society and its partners are developing a way to preserve and provide access to the digital records of state legislatures. Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives, and Robert Horton, Minnesota Historical Society’s Director [...]

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The Ferrell Collection: Cataloging and Photography

Wed, 09 Sep 2009 22:09:32 +0000

Collections Assistants Jane Wong and John Fulton discuss their efforts to catalog and photograph more than 3,000 different objects in the Richard Ferrell Flour Milling Industry History Collection. The size of the collection, together with some of the unusual items it contained, presented special challenges. You can learn more about the collection from Mr. Ferrell [...]

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The Biggest Thing in the Collection

Thu, 06 Aug 2009 16:16:39 +0000

One of our most frequently asked questions is, What is the biggest thing in the Society’s collection? Objects Curator Matt Anderson provides the answer in this podcast. It certainly stands out – even among the various cars, boats and wagons in the collection.

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Highlights from the Hill Family Collection

Mon, 20 Jul 2009 19:26:21 +0000

Hill project cataloger Jillian Odland shares some fun and quirky objects, photos and letters she’s found while working on the papers of St. Paul railroad baron James J. Hill, his son Louis W. Hill, and other Hill family members.

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Flour Power: The Richard Ferrell Collection

Fri, 26 Jun 2009 20:31:04 +0000

Avid collector and donor Richard Ferrell describes how he got into collecting and the lessons he learned on the way to amassing the Richard Ferrell Flour Milling Industry History Collection, now a part of the Historical Society’s collections.

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In Search of Lorenzo Lawrence

Tue, 26 May 2009 19:24:05 +0000

In Search of Lorenzo Lawrence is a story about identity lost and found. Dr. Elden Lawrence (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota) is a Dakota scholar and writer. For the past several years, Elden has been doing research in the MHS collections, trying to find out more about his ancestor Lorenzo Lawrence, who played a key role in the [...]

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1955 Ford Sedan: Vehicle for Family History

Mon, 04 May 2009 15:45:57 +0000

Collections Curator Matt Anderson presents the story of a 1955 Ford Sedan MHS acquired for the Minnesota’s Greatest Generation exhibit. The car was purchased new, and then driven by three generations of the Bergan-Carr family before arriving in our collection. Oral history, family photos, and film of the St. Paul Ford plant add to the [...]

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The Ramsey Piano

Wed, 08 Apr 2009 22:21:50 +0000

Cindy Olsen, Acting Site Manager at the Alexander Ramsey House, discusses conservation work recently done to the house’s 1872 Steinway grand piano, and the unusual circumstances involved in the preservation of a musical instrument. Pianist Jeremy Roth accompanies her comments with Bach’s “Prelude in C Major.”

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Preserving Digital Content in the 21st Century

Thu, 26 Mar 2009 17:20:22 +0000

Bob Horton, Director of Library, Publications & Collections, takes a look at the considerable challenges involved in preserving digital content. While content keeps growing and storage media keep changing, historical organizations struggle to keep up.

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Delisle globe, 1765 – Quicktime VR

Mon, 23 Mar 2009 22:15:51 +0000

Take a spin! The Delisle Globe is a spectacular and important recent addition to our collection and is currently on view in the Minnesota on the Map exhibit. We can now offer you the chance to move and manipulate this amazing and fragile 1765 French globe yourself in ways one never could in real life. Take your [...]

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Delisle globe, 1765

Thu, 26 Feb 2009 14:56:33 +0000

Map Curator Pat Coleman gives us an introduction to ‘Minnesota on the Map:’ Four Centuries of Maps from the Minnesota Historical Society Collection: an exhibit he has curated that opens on February 28. The exhibit includes 100 maps from the MHS collection of over 22,000. Pat also shares his insights to a recently acquired globe [...]

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Day in the Life of Dan Cagley, Collections Manager

Fri, 23 Jan 2009 17:22:28 +0000

How do the Historical Society’s objects move into exhibits, or in and out of the building? To find out, we throw the spotlight on one of the solid citizens of the Society, our unheralded Collections Manager Dan Cagley. He keeps over 250,000 3–D objects safe and available. We follow Dan over the course of a [...]

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Cased Images – Daguerreotypes and Tintypes

Mon, 05 Jan 2009 23:00:05 +0000

Just what is the difference between a daguerreotype and a tintype? Photo curator Diane Adams-Graf explains what distinguishes these two early photographic processes. Actual daguerreotypes and tintypes are pulled apart and viewed in detail. (3 min. 8 sec.) View Daguerreotypes and Tintypes in the Society’s Visual Resources Database Explore the history of photography further in the Directory [...]

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The Hill Family Collection

Tue, 16 Dec 2008 20:30:19 +0000

Early in 2008 the papers of legendary Minnesota businessman James J. Hill and several of his family members were transferred from the James J. Hill Reference Library in St. Paul to the Minnesota History Center, just a few blocks away. In this podcast, learn about the history and contents of the collection and the [...]

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A Selection of Minnesota Quilts

Tue, 02 Dec 2008 20:00:03 +0000

A quilt can be something to keep you toasty warm on a chilly night, but it can also be a work of art. Quilts today are often created as serious artistic expression, but quilters of earlier centuries also could focus their work on artistry as much as utility. Textile curator Linda McShannock shows [...]

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Clem Haupers: Minnesota Artist

Mon, 10 Nov 2008 18:08:44 +0000

Art Curator Brian Szott discusses the life and work of St. Paul artist Clem Haupers. From his birth in St. Paul, his time in Paris, his stint as Minnesota director of the Federal Art Project to his art and teaching career afterwards, Szott combines the timeline of Haupers’s life with a critical appreciation of his [...]

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The Younger Brothers: After the Attempted Robbery

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 22:38:49 +0000

Everyone knows the story of the attempted bank robbery in Northfield by the James-Younger gang, when the townspeople rose up to defend their bank and thwarted the infamous would-be robbers. The gang fled the scene and split up; however, the Younger Brothers were captured later near Madelia, Minnesota. Government Records Specialist Charlie Rodgers tells the [...]

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Minnesota State Fair in Archival Film Footage

Wed, 20 Aug 2008 14:52:03 +0000

In our tribute to the MN State Fair, Collections Assistant John Fulton digs into the KSTP-TV news film Archive to find some stories that recall Fairs gone by. A taste of the large amount of film in the society’s collection. View posters and photos on the Fair in the Visual Resources Database Order the books State Fair, [...]

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1892 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis

Wed, 20 Aug 2008 13:51:16 +0000

As a prelude to this year’s Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Acquisitions Librarian Patrick Coleman takes a look back at the last time the Twin Cities hosted a national convention, the 1892 Republican Convention in Minneapolis. Then as now, the metro area took center stage with a huge influx of delegates, supporters, and of [...]

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1950s Tourist Cabins

Wed, 23 Jul 2008 19:40:01 +0000

Curator Matt Anderson celebrates the summer road trip season with a look at an early predecessor to the modern motel: the tourist cabin. One cabin from the Star Harbor Resort near Two Harbors, complete with its furnishings and appliances, is highlighted. The cabin is now in the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. View photos of [...]

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Suburban Richfield

Wed, 11 Jun 2008 16:07:02 +0000

In recognition of the “Suburban World” exhibit now showing at the History Center, we take a look at Richfield, a classic Minnesota postwar suburb. Excerpts from oral histories with long-time Richfield residents are featured, along with historic photos and documents from the community. (5 min. 8 sec. / 3.91 MB) See additional photos of suburban Richfield [...]

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RetroRama – A Celebration of ’50s Suburbia

Mon, 12 May 2008 20:16:15 +0000

Although RetroRama is over, you can still appreciate our trip into the basement at the History Center to examine and pull items from the MHS Collection that speak to the culture and fashion of the 1950s. We documented what we found and thought we’d share it with you…enjoy! Learn More: RetroRama Site 1950s Fashion in the MHS Collection Suburban [...]

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Streetcars in St. Paul and Minneapolis

Tue, 29 Apr 2008 20:59:10 +0000

Matt Anderson, Objects Curator, looks at the history of streetcars in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Trolley-related artifacts, photos and film footage in the Society’s collection are featured. (4 min. 41 sec. / 12.2 MB) Learn more about the Minnesota Historical Society’s trolley resources at the streetcars History Topics page. Read about streetcars in the Minnesota’s Greatest [...]

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1950s Fashion in the MHS Collection

Mon, 07 Apr 2008 14:02:58 +0000

Curator Linda McShannock explores 1950s fashion through dresses, hats, shoes and accessories in the Minnesota Historical Society’s collection. Fashion was the focus of the first in the Society’s popular series of RetroRama programs. The next RetroRama event takes place on May 15, 2008.

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Civilian Conservation Corps

Wed, 12 Mar 2008 16:25:51 +0000

This month marks the 75th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps, established March 31, 1933. Curator Matt Anderson commemorates the occasion with a look at CCC pieces in the Minnesota Historical Society’s collection. (4 min. 32 sec. / 11.7 MB) The CCC is a focus of the Minnesota’s Greatest Generation project. Visit MGG’s In Their Words [...]

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Bishop Whipple Collection of American Indian Art

Wed, 20 Feb 2008 22:57:46 +0000

Senior Curator Marcia Anderson gives a brief overview of the new exhibit Selections from the Bishop Whipple Collection of American Indian Art, now on view at the Minnesota History Center. This podcast includes biographical information about Bishop Whipple as well as a closer look at a few pieces from his fabulous collection. (6 min. / [...]

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Picturing Fort Snelling

Fri, 25 Jan 2008 01:33:29 +0000

Brian Szott, Curator of Art, looks at changing views of Fort Snelling seen through artwork and photography of the 19th and 20th Centuries. (6 min. 46 sec. / 17.5 MB) Additional images of Fort Snelling can be seen in the Visual Resources Database. More about Fort Snelling artist Seth Eastman can be found under History Topics, [...]

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Camera Ojibwe – The Photos

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 20:32:35 +0000

Diane Adams-Graf, Curator of Sound & Visual Collections, and Marcia Anderson, Senior Curator, discuss photographs featured in the 2007 exhibit “Camera Ojibwe.” We Are at Home, the book by Bruce White that inspired “Camera Ojibwe,” is available in the Online Store.

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28th Virginia Infantry Battle Flag Captured at Gettysburg

Mon, 17 Dec 2007 22:35:13 +0000

Objects Curator Matt Anderson takes a look at the Virginia battle flag captured by the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry during Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. (3 min. 15 sec. / 8.42 MB)

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Franzman Altar: 03 Installation

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 22:00:42 +0000

Watch Minnesota Historical Society staff members as they move the altar from the basement Conservation Lab and install it in the MN150 gallery. (2 min. 40 sec. / 13.1 MB)

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Franzman Altar: 02 Object and Textile Treatments

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 21:59:16 +0000

Watch Conservators Tom Braun and Ann Frisina clean and repair the altar to prepare it for display in MN150. (6 min. 5 sec. / 30.2 MB)

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Franzman Altar: 01 Introduction and Unpacking

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 21:57:39 +0000

Senior Curator Marcia Anderson shares the story behind the church altar carved by John Franzman and now on display in the MN150 exhibit. Objects Conservator Tom Braun is seen unpacking the altar’s components as they arrive at the Minnesota Historical Society. (3 min. 10 sec. / 15.4 MB)

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Looking Back/Moving Forward

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 21:52:53 +0000

Brian Szott, Curator of Art, shares five of his favorite new additions to the Minnesota Historical Society’s fine art collection. (3 min. 38 sec. / 2.08 MB)

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