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New Library Exhibit – The Golden Age of Rail Travel

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Dining aboard the North Coast Limited, Northern Pacific Railway, 1934.



Come see the new exhibit in the Library Lobby on the Golden Age of Rail Travel, 1880 – 1950. The exhibit highlights a fabulous new donation to the collection from Steve Pattison and family of Great Northern Railway china and silver. It also includes menus and tourism promotion materials from our wonderful railroad archival collections. Visit a time when transportation was so much more civilized!

Glory of the West Pattern, 1940-1957. Donation by Steve Pattison and Family.










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Duck boat

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Duck boat

Wooden duck boat made by John Freet of Parker’s Prairie Boat Works in Parker’s Prairie, Minnesota  in 1933.  The photograph also show’s the boat’s oars, canvas covering, cover stakes, and poles.

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Schwinn bicycle

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Schwinn bicycle

Vintage blue Schwinn “Hollywood” bicycle.  The bicycle features white Schwinn handlebar grips, a black and white seat, blue and white front and rear fenders, a kickstand, a front rack, and a blue chain guard.  ”Schwinn” appears in white lettering on the frame.  Used circa 1950.

For details, view the bicycle in our online collections database.

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School bus door from I-35W bridge collapse

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

School bus door from I-35W bridge collapse

Emergency exit door from a school bus made by the Blue Bird Corporation of Fort Valley, Georgia, circa 2007. The school bus was transporting a group of day camp students when it was involved in the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on August 1, 2007. The door is signed by all of the children and adults who were on the bus at that time.

For details, view the door in our online collections database.

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School bus door from I-35W bridge collapse, close up of signatures

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Penny-farthing bicycle

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Penny-farthing bicycle

Columbia Ordinary penny-farthing bicycle made by the Pope Manufacturing Company of Boston, Massachusetts in the 1880s.  The front tire is 52 1/2 inches in diameter; the rear tire is 18 inches in diameter. The bicycle has a black steel frame, a hand-operated spoon brake, rubber hand grips, a leather seat, and straight-spoke wheels. The pedals are adjustable and attach to the front wheel hub.

For details, view the bicycle in our online collections database.

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1850s toboggan

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

1850s toboggan

Toboggan used by Dr. John Rae, an employee of the Hudson Bay Company, at Fort Garry, British Columbia and St. Paul, Minnesota in the 1850s.  The traditional Canadian sled has a rawhide carriage affixed to a wooden plank deck with a turned hood.  The carriage and decking are painted white and green.

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Sounds of Blackness sign

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Sounds of Blackness sign

Sign advertising Sounds of Blackness, a Twin Cities-based music ensemble led by choir director Gary Hines.  Three of the group’s recordings have won Grammy awards.  The sign was originally displayed on a bus operated by the Jefferson Transportation Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota during the 1970s.

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Norwegian immigrants’ trunk

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Norwegian immigrants' trunk

This 1850s trunk was made in Norway and used to transport a family’s possessions on the journey to their new home in Minnesota. The trunk is made of wood with a domed lid and is bound in iron with carrying handles on each side and straps across the top. There is a narrow built-in wooden tray on one side that appears to have originally had a hinged lid, which is now lost.  Sheet-metal straps on the lid are stamped with the letters “A  A  D  L”.

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Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians license plate

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians license plate

Metal, rectangular license plate for Red Lake Band of Chippewa. Embossed lettering in white denotes this plate was issued in 1978 and reads “RED LAKE BAND / R/ L / 0000 / CHIPPEWA INDIANS MN.” A profile of a man in a headdress facing left is also embossed in white. The Red Lake Band was the first tribe in the United States to issue tribal auto license plates. Plates with numbers “0000″ were never issued for use, but made to be sold to license plate collectors.

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Nicollet Ave. Station Trainmen

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Nicollet Ave. Station Trainmen

Photos of trainmen for the Nicollet Ave. streetcar station, circa 1919.

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