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Native American Artist-in-Residence Program highlights

Posted byLori Williamson on 20 Aug 2015 | Tagged as: What's New

This fall marks the end of the first full year of the Native American Artist-in-Residence program here at the Minnesota Historical Society. The three 2014/15 artists, Pat Kruse, Jessica Gokey and Gwen Westerman have seen great successes with their collections research and community outreach activities. Here are some of this year’s highlights:

Recently, Ojibwe beadwork artist Jessica Gokey concluded the public workshop portion of her residency at the Lower Sioux Agency. Jessica shared her experiences studying the MNHS historic Ojibwe beadwork collections, while providing instruction to participants, assisting them in designing and creating their own floral beadwork.

Birchbark artist Pat Kruse participated in a reception and gallery talk at the Mille Lacs Indian Museum where he showcased large wall pieces alongside many of the intricate baskets that he and his son Gage made during the residency. Pat also demonstrated how he works with birchbark and how the Ojibwe people use the bark in many different ways.

Textile artist Gwen Westerman has been visiting various musuems, studying early Dakota ribbonwork in order to understand historic patterns and techniques. She has intensely studied the collections here, at the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.  Working with three apprentices, Gwen is developing ribbonwork teaching guides that will incorporate Dakota language.

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One of the goals of the Artist-in-Residence program is to acquire work created by each artist for the permanent collection. From Jessica Gokey we recently accessioned a beaded table cover which depicts nearly 20 traditional indigenous plants used for food in the Great Lakes region. We also acquired work by Jessica’s apprentice, Terri Hom. Terri made a beaded placemat and birchbark napkin ring that were inspired by historic items in MNHS’ collections.  Jessica and Terri talk about their work and the residency program in our new video, here: https://youtu.be/0bvz_lwgYFY

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Also recently added to our permanent collections were many birchbark applique items created by Pat Kruse and his son and apprentice Gage. Pat and Gage created wonderful baskets based on their study of the forms of historic baskets. To these forms, they add their own personal, artistic, and family style and arrive at the wonderful contemporary baskets seen here. (To listen to Pat and Gage speak about their experiences, please visit http://youtu.be/sKtXiOkhNsY).
With the first residencies wrapping up, we have just published a Call for Submissions for the upcoming round. The deadline is September 30th with two artists announced shortly thereafter. Please visit
www.mnhs.org/residencies and check out our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mnhsnativeartistresidencies for more information.

Thanks, Rita Walaszek and Ben Gessner
Native American Artist-in-Residence Program

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Dog Days of Summer

Posted byLori Williamson on 18 Aug 2015 | Tagged as: What's New

Check out our new post on the Huffington Post, using the idea of the dog days of summer as an excuse to show cute dog photographs from the Collection!

Enjoy!

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“Sir Rodney”

Posted byLori Williamson on 15 Jul 2015 | Tagged as: What's New

“Hitting .300 is almost like a cause, a campaign.”
–Rod Carew’s Art and Science of Hitting, 1986

“Keep your eye on the ball and hit’em where they ain’t.”  So went the mantra of 1890s right fielder William “Wee Willie” Keeler, perhaps baseball’s greatest place hitter.  In 1964, more than half a century after Keeler retired, the Minnesota Twins signed a 19-year-old Panamanian who would rival Wee Willie’s wizardry with the bat. Rod Carew made his big league debut as a second baseman with the Twins in 1967, hitting .292 and winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award.  Carew had 12 stellar seasons with Minnesota, culminating with a career-high .388 batting average in 1977.  In 1979 he was traded to the California Angels and led the team to two division titles before retiring in 1985.  With a lifetime .328 average and 3,053 hits, Carew was a sure bet for baseball’s Hall of Fame, which enshrined the slugger in 1991.  But what made Sir Rodney a truly exceptional player was more than his seven batting titles (a feat surpassed only by Ty Cobb) and 18 consecutive All-Star Game selections.

He approached hitting as a vocation, studying pitchers and adjusting his stance to spray balls to all parts of the field.  “He has an uncanny ability to move the ball around as if the bat were some kind of magic wand,” recalled Oakland A’s hurler Ken Holtzman.

A member of the Twins’ vaunted “Lumber Company” offense, Carew used this 32-ounce Hillerich & Bradsby bat to secure batting crowns in 1973, 1974 and 1975.  Bearing pine tar residue on the handle and ball marks on the barrel, the bat also features Carew’s autograph and “HOF 7/21/91,” the date of his Hall of Fame induction.

Adam Scher, Senior Object Curator

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Cultural Traditions in Minnesota

Posted byLori Williamson on 10 Jul 2015 | Tagged as: What's New

Minnesota’s culture reflects its diverse population, with influences beginning with Minnesota’s Dakota and Ojibwe population, moving through waves of European immigration, and more recently by communities of Latin American, African, and East Asian immigrants.

Currently on display in the Library Lobby is a small selection of some of these cultural traditions. Beautiful and telling, these items give an idea of all the talent in our fair state through time.

The display also in includes the recently acquired work of Ricardo Gómez (see above), who became the first Minnesotan of Puerto Rican heritage to be represented in the MNHS’s Collection. We are thrilled to have these examples of traditional yet contemporary work, documenting an incredible artist and his vibrant community.

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Summertime is Laketime!

Posted byLori Williamson on 05 Jun 2015 | Tagged as: What's New


Check out our new post on the Huffington Post about summer…it will make you want to hit the lakes! Enjoy the season!

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Abolitionist Hutchinson Family Sheet Music

Posted byLori Williamson on 11 May 2015 | Tagged as: What's New

The Minnesota Historical Society has a very extensive sheet music collection, focusing on Minnesota subjects, publishers, and composers. They are an emotional, celebratory, sometimes funny, and usually graphic representation of the State’s history.

Our new favorite piece of sheet music is an 1844 abolitionist song we recently acquired at an auction in New York. It was written by Jesse Hutchinson, of the famous Hutchinson Family singers. The Hutchinsons were super stars, an internationally famous family of itinerant singers, known for their four-part harmonies and abolitionist views. This song, “Get Off the Track,” may have been their most well known anti-slavery tune.

Minnesota has an important and unique connection to the Hutchinson Family Singers. Eleven years after this music was published three of the brothers, John, Asa, and Judson, homesteaded in Minnesota establishing the town of Hutchinson, on the banks of the Crow River.

This one piece of sheet music gives us a glimpse into both the cultural significance of popular music and political debate in the era just preceding Minnesota’s establishment as a Territory and the outbreak of the American Civil War.

See the article in Minnesota History for more details on the Hutchinsons’ story.

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More Music!

Posted byLori Williamson on 04 May 2015 | Tagged as: What's New

Our most recent Huffington Post post on the new music display in the Library Lobby is now available! Take a look at Minnesota Music and come see it in person. Find out what these keys are all about!

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Temporary Like Dylan: Some Highlights from the Minnesota Music Collection

Posted byLori Williamson on 21 Apr 2015 | Tagged as: What's New

Minnesota has a long and storied history of music making. From the Hutchinson Family Singers during the Civil War to Dylan, Prince, punk, and beyond, the creation of music is central to our cultural life here.

See a small sample of some of the fun musical items in the Collection, including Prince’s gloves from Purple Rain; Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics to “Temporary Like Achilles”; Karl Mueller’s Chuck Taylors; and Vixen leader Jan Kuehnemund’s guitar and jacket.

Know that there is more to discover – this is just a starting point! The Library Lobby is open the same hours as the Library. Come visit and enjoy!

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Remembering Lincoln

Posted byLori Williamson on 08 Apr 2015 | Tagged as: What's New


The Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C. asked us to participate in an innovative and exciting project to commemorate the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago. Institutions from around the country contributed digital versions of collection items, showing personal responses to the news of the President’s death.  As we at the Minnesota Historical Society have been scouring the Civil War manuscript collections for our Civil War Daybook, this project was a perfect fit.

These unique items, from the MNHS Collection and many others, will be available to a worldwide audience. Be sure to see our contributions of the Wheelock letter; the St. Paul newspaper announcing Lincoln’s death; a diary entry by Senator Ramsey; and a letter by Moses Lightning Face, one of the Dakota captives at Davenport, concerning the President.

Check out all this and more at Remembering Lincoln: Responses to the Lincoln Assassination.

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Spring Means Prom!

Posted byLori Williamson on 07 Apr 2015 | Tagged as: What's New


Another new entry over on the Huffington Post – enjoy!

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