Item of the Day

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Collecting pieces of Minnesota's past for the future

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The Minnesota Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of materials chronicling Minnesota's history and culture. The goals of the Collections Department are to collect and preserve; provide access and interpretation; and engage in education and outreach. This blog is a tool to share these stories and let people know what is happening in the department.

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Item of the Day

Window display promoting election voting machine

By: admin | Item of the Day | November 2, 2010
Window display promoting election voting, Dayton's, Minneapolis

Window display promoting election voting, Dayton's, Minneapolis
Photographer: Norton & Peel
Photograph Collection 10/26/1956

Peacetime Slackers Are Those Who Do Not Vote

By: admin | Item of the Day | November 1, 2010
Peacetime Slackers Are Those Who Do Not Vote

Peacetime Slackers Are Those Who Do Not Vote
Creator: Saint Paul Civic Union, Inc.
Poster Collection, One-sheet poster 1926

Halloween costumes over the years

By: admin | Item of the Day | October 29, 2010
Edward K. Prichett, Jr. dressed for Halloween.Halloween tricks or treaters.

Mary, Jeffrey and Brent Miletich in Halloween costume.Benji and Kristen Woitas in their Halloween costumes, St. Paul.

A collection of children's Halloween costumes over the years.

Upper left, Edward K. Prichett, Jr. dressed for Halloween, 1901.

Upper right, Halloween trick or treaters, 1934.

Lower left, Mary, Jeffrey and Brent Miletich in Halloween costume, 1961.

Lower right, Benji and Kristen Woitas in their Halloween costumes, St. Paul, 1979.

More Halloween photos can be viewed at the Visual Resource Database.

First Minnesota license plate

By: admin | Item of the Day | October 28, 2010
First Minnesota license plate

Rectangular black leather automobile license tag with a brass number '1' on the center front. This was the first automobile license plate that was issued by the State Boiler Inspector in the State of Minnesota, 1903.

Autumn Scene

By: admin | Item of the Day | October 27, 2010
Autumn Scene

Autumn Scene, oil on canvas, painted by John Banvard, circa 1870. Banvard (1815-1891) is known for his panoramic oil paintings, which were often created from preliminary sketches made during his travels throughout the Mississippi River Valley.

Other works by John Banvard

Star Trek Rapid Fire Tracer Gun

By: admin | Item of the Day | October 26, 2010
Star Trek Rapid Fire Tracer Gun

From the Minnesota Historical Society’s extensive collection of weaponry comes this 1967 Star Trek Rapid Fire Tracer Gun which “shoots the new jet discs with exciting rapid-fire tracer action.” The universe is all the safer for it.

Handpainted Wayzata soldier's flight bag

By: admin | Item of the Day | October 25, 2010
Handpainted Wayzata soldier's flight bag backHandpainted Wayzata soldier's flight bag front

U.S. Air Force officer's issue type B-4 flight bag of olive canvas with illustration of Mt. Fuji with a body of water and sailboat in the foreground. The other side is painted with "AL JOHNSON/WAYZATA,/MINNESOTA" with lightning bolt insignia of U.S. Army 25th Division field artillery regiment and  8th Field Artillery crest with caption "AUDACIEUX ET TENACE." Interior has a dark olive cloth pocket and two olive cloth flaps. Owned by Al Johnson, circa 1947.

Immigration Week: Hmong earrings

By: admin | Item of the Day | October 22, 2010
Hmong Earrings

In celebration of the new “Becoming Minnesotan” web site at the Minnesota Historical Society, this week’s Item of the Day theme is the history of immigration in Minnesota and the experiences of contemporary immigrant populations.

Today's item is a pair of traditional Hmong fine silver earrings ( > 92.5 % silver) made in a slip-on style.  A "U" shaped loop slips over the ear and has a tiny spiral in the back and a silver cone with a beaded base in the front. Suspended freely from the "U" are seven spiral pendants that end in two flat arrowhead shapes.  Earrings were made in Thailand by a Hmong refugee from Laos, a relative of May Yang, Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Immigration Week: Immigration Ceremonies

By: admin | Item of the Day | October 21, 2010
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In celebration of the new “Becoming Minnesotan” web site at the Minnesota Historical Society, this week’s Item of the Day theme is the history of immigration in Minnesota and the experiences of contemporary immigrant populations.

Immigration ceremonies, now and then. Left, immigrants taking oath of citizenship, Minneapolis Council of Americanization, circa 1925. Right, naturalization ceremony for 113 new U.S. citizens, Citizenship Day, Minnesota State Capitol, 1976.

Immigration Week: Wild Geese

By: admin | Item of the Day | October 20, 2010
Wild Geese

In celebration of the new “Becoming Minnesotan” web site at the Minnesota Historical Society, this week’s Item of the Day theme is the history of immigration in Minnesota and the experiences of contemporary immigrant populations.

Martha Ostenso was born in Bergen, Norway. She moved to Minnesota when she was two but didn’t learn English until she went to school. She was cruelly teased but loved the English language and kept a list of words that she thought sounded wonderful, like “cyclone” and “potato.” Her first novel, Wild Geese, was based on her experience teaching in a one room log school house in Manitoba and concerns immigrant farmers in the Red River Valley. It won her a prize worth more than $150,000 in today’s dollars and allowed her to become a full time writer.

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