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Archive for March, 2011

Wool cuirass bodice

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Wool curiass bodice

White wool cuirass bodice with silk floral embroidery. Owned by Mrs. C. J. Winton, Minneapolis, Minnesota, circa 1879-82.

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Buffalo horn drinking cup

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Buffalo horn drinking cup

Drinking cup made from a bison horn. The opening is encircled by decorative brass tacks as well as one brass stud with a wire loop for suspension. The horn is smooth on the exterior and has been thinned from the inside. Used between 1870-1920.

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Knitting machine from the Munsingwear factory

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Wildman kniiting machine, frontWildman kniiting machine, side

This Wildman brand rotary knitting machine was used for knitting tubular knits at the Munsingwear Corporation, which was a Minnesota knitwear manufacturer for nearly 100 years, circa 1890-1980. It was on exhibit at International Market Square, which is the former Munsingwear headquarters. Originally belt-driven, at some point perhaps in the 1950’s it was apparently converted to run on a 220 volt General Electric brand motor.

The MHS Conservation Department, in particular Objects Conservator Tom Braun, put a great deal of work into this piece to bring it back to its current state. It needed to be cleaned overall but more importantly a broken leg needed to be repaired. Now it is whole, clean, and ready to be exhibited. Even the needles on top perform their intended action now! A quote from Tom: “I am very excited that when the hand wheel on this unit is turned (clockwise only please!) the whole machine moves as it was designed to.  Most exciting is that the needles can be seen to move in and out in a knitting motion.”

Wildman kniiting machineWhile we initially assumed we’d find synthetic fibers, analysis of lint found in the gears showed that this machine worked with 100% cotton fibers. To learn more about its operation, Dick Kaminski and Ted Mommsen, former Munsingwear employees responsible for customizing and operating this machinery, visited the Conservation lab and spoke with Tom and Linda McShannock, curator, about their experience with the machine.

This is one of our favorite things for what it tells us about the company, the direct link it establishes to the products it made, and the beauty of the object. Wildman machines were in use as early as the 1920s and continue to find use in the knitwear industry.  It created the raw material from which the majority of Munsingwear products were made. This knitting machine will be a key piece in the upcoming exhibit “Underwear – A Brief History” at the Minnesota Historical Society.

Munsingwear Knitting Mills

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Maple sugaring bucket

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Maple sugaring bucket

Maple sugaring bucket spigot

A red painted wooden bucket, consisting of 16 staves and 3 metal hoops. Originally, this tin spigot was attached with wire about 1″ from the top of the bucket on one side. These were used for collecting sap for making maple sugar. The bucket is believed to have been constructed circa 1820 and the tin spigot circa 1920.

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Geraldine Ferraro

Monday, March 28th, 2011

On July 12, 1984, Walter Mondale made history in Saint Paul when he introduced Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate for the Vice Presidency of the United States. Rep. Ferraro was the first woman, and the first Italian-American, to run on a major party ticket. Geraldine Ferraro passed away on Saturday, March 26, 2011 after a long battle with multiple myeloma. These photos and objects are just a sample of the many items from the 1984 campaign in the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections.

Learn more about Ferraro and Mondale’s campaign in the Walter F. Mondale Papers at the Minnesota Historical Society.

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March of the Doughboys

Friday, March 25th, 2011

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.

icon for podpress  Podcast Video [3:34m]: Download (776)

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US Army General’s Hardee hat

Friday, March 25th, 2011

US Army general's Hardee hat

United States Army General’s Model 1858 black felt dress hat, also known as a “Hardee” hat, with a black ribbon hatband. Mounted on the hat is a gold bullion hat cord with acorn terminals and a sliding keeper. The hat was worn during the Civil War by General C. C. Andrews of the 3rd Minnesota Regiment.

Be sure to watch for the Civil War Daybook, coming to this site and starting April 1st!

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Toy dog

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Toy dog

Toy dog made of painted wood with movable limbs, tail, ears, and head. Made as part of an occupational therapy project by a wounded soldier at U.S. General Hospital #29, Fort Snelling, Minnesota, circa 1918-1919.

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Passport from 1923

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Passport from 1923

A 1923 United States of America passport issued to Gjertina Kalmer. Note the Personal Description requirements in the lower left corner, stating descriptions of mouth, nose, chin, hair, face, forehead and complexion.

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Map of Minnesota, 1861

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

A cartographic snapshot of what Minnesota looked like in 1861 as the American Civil War was about to begin.

Please click the image to enlarge. And sign up for the RSS feed for this category or check back daily starting April 1!

Map of Minnesota, 1861

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