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Archive for October, 2009

Preserving Death: Funerary Objects

Monday, October 19th, 2009

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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Contemporary Minnesota Voices

Monday, October 19th, 2009

DusterStoneware bowl

Currently on display in our Library Lobby are selected objects collected by the Society and whenever possible labels include a quote from the artists–revealing in their own words their thoughts about the materials, the finished pieces, and the passions that inspire them. This exhibit will be up until early December.

For millennia artists have been bringing the joy of art to everyday life through the application of their creative force to our material culture. Minnesota has a rich fine craft heritage and Minnesotans have long found pleasure in the use of functional & beautiful objects that provide sensory experiences which add vigor to everyday life.

For nearly 30 years the Minnesota Historical Society has proactively compiled a fine collection of well-documented objects made by Minnesota artists to illustrate the role of crafts in the life of Minnesotans and the work of specific individuals. The Society chose to document the work of contemporary Minnesota craftspeople and to focus the collecting on examples by established artists that exhibit a mastery of the medium and combine function with beauty in a manifestation of the craftsman work ethic. Over 200 pieces represent the diverse influences and inspirations of Minnesota’s 20th – 21st century period.

While most mediums are well represented in the Society’s fine craft collections, the Minnesota and Wisconsin region is best known nationally for the work of its significant and influential ceramics community. Evidence of that powerhouse role includes the existence of the Northern Clay Center and Fired Up Studios, a forthcoming collections gallery in the new wing of the Weisman Art Museum to highlight ceramics, and the Minnesota Potters of the Upper St. Croix River Annual Pottery Studio Tour & Sale that draws guest artists and pottery collectors from across the globe.

Marcia Anderson, Senior Curator

Jack Pine SavageStoneware teapot

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Good Government through Digital Infrastructure and Preservation

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

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 of Library, Publications and Collections, discuss the importance of creating a digital trail that documents, records, and preserves the records of today’s electronic legislature.

icon for podpress  Good Government through Digital Infrastructure and Preservation [5:50m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download
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Base from Metropolitan Stadium

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Base from Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, Minnesota

The Minnesota Twins 2009 season is winding down as I write. It’s been a noteworthy year, as it’s the team’s last in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Come next April, the Twins will play at Target Field, in the open under blue skies for the first time in over 25 years.

The Twins’ move reminds me of one of my favorite pieces in the collection. It’s a base used at their pre-Metrodome home, Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. In fact, it’s a base used at their final game played at the Met. That match, against the Kansas City Royals on September 30, 1981, resulted in a 2-5 loss. According to our records, the base had been used for up to three years prior to the last game, and repainted after every game. Unfortunately, we don’t know whether it served as first, second, or third base during the finale.

Metropolitan Stadium, which had been built in 1955 specifically to attract a major league baseball team to Minnesota, was razed in 1985. (The Mall of Amercia was built in its place a few years later.) Today, the Metrodome’s fate is an open question, as the Twins and the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gophers are out, and the Vikings are hoping for a new stadium. We can be sure, though, that whatever happens to the Dome, the fans who grew up with it will remember it fondly, just as their parents remember the Met.

Matt Anderson, Objects Curator

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An Ounce of Preservation: A Guide to the Care of Papers and Photographs