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Boreas Rex Costume Crown

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Boreas Rex Costume Crown

Royal purple velveteen crown with adjustable gilt metal band adorned with a large oval brass filigree medallion with an inset rose colored glass jewel. Worn as part of the St. Paul Winter Carnival, 1955.

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St. Paul Winter Carnival

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

It’s time once again for the St. Paul Winter Carnival, and Reference Librarian Hamp Smith celebrates with a look at Winter Carnival materials in the Society’s collections. Highlights include photographs, personal diaries, marching uniforms, and film footage of the 1916 and 1942 parades.

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Smith & Wesson revolver in a Vulcan display case

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Smith & Wesson revolver in a Vulcan display case

This Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver has a six-shot fluted cylinder, blued frame and checkered walnut grips with S&W medallions. It was manufactured by Smith and Wesson in Springfield, Massachusetts and is mounted in a wood and glass hinged case. An interior plaque reads “Fire & Brimstone 1970-1986″ and a Pioneer Press letter to the editor entitled “Put away parade ‘fun’ guns” is affixed to one corner.

Vulcans riding in fire engine, St. Paul Winter CarnivalBeginning in 1970 this Smith & Wesson revolver was fired by members of the Vulcan Krewe as they rode their Royal Chariot (a 1932 Luverne fire engine) during Saint Paul Winter Carnival parades. In the letter to the editor published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press and affixed to the revolver’s frame, a parade attendee complains that she is “at a loss to explain what is so darn much fun about loud, scary noises and guns.”  The revolver was “retired” in 1986 due to complaints like this claiming that gunfire during the parades was scaring children.

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival is a celebration of winter and its end. The Carnival has been held since 1886 in Saint Paul, Minnesota and a legend has evolved to support the Carnival’s theme. The story reaches its climax during the annual Torchlight Parade. During the parade Vulcanus Rex, the King of Fire, and his Vulcan Krewe overthrow King Boreas, the King of the Winds. The Vulcans are known for their rowdy revelry and the group emphasizes the community involvement of its members.Vulcans, St. Paul Winter Carnival

Krewe members are selected by the Imperial Order of Fire and Brimstone, the oldest formal organization within the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. When appearing at Krewe functions throughout the year, Vulcans wear a red and black costume consisting of a hat, running suit, cape, boots, gloves, and goggles. In 1994 the Order donated a collection of Vulcan-related memorabilia dated back to the original Saint Paul Winter Carnival in 1886 to the Minnesota Historical Society.

Sondra Reierson, Collections Assistant

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Snow Carnival Ice Palace

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Ceramic

Snow Carnival Ice Palace
Ceramic
Department 56
1995

This three piece ceramic Snow Carnival Ice Palace consists of separate lower and upper levels and a detached gate. Two electric light bulbs illuminate the interior of the palace and small removable flags decorate the exterior. This is one of the many models available from The Original Snow Village© by Department 56, Inc., a company based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.  Traditionally, several pieces are retired from the collection each year as newer designs are introduced.

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Frosty Fascination

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Frosty Fascination Winter Carnival Beer

St. Paul Winter Carnival Beer, “1979 Frosty Fascination” made by the August Schell Brewing Company, New Ulm, Minnesota, 1979, for the St. Paul Winter Carnival Association.

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Blanket toss

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Winter Carnival blanket toss

St. Paul Ice Palace blanket toss, St. Paul Winter Carnival, 1887.

Location no. MR2.9 SP9.1 1887 p12

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Call of the North

Monday, January 24th, 2011

St. Paul Winter Carnival Button

St. Paul Winter Carnival button featuring King Boreas and Vulcanus. Manufactured by Western Badge and Novelty Company, 1952.

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Historic Coats from the Winter Carnival

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Historic Winter Carnival coatsTwo historic coats worn for Winter Carnival activities in the early 20th century were recently added to the Society’s collection.

One of the distinctive “Hudson’s Bay” coats belonged to James J. Hill’s son, Louis, who succeeded his father as president and chairman of the Great Northern Railway. James J. Hill supported the first carnivals beginning in 1886. The festival was revived by Louis Hill in 1916 and has been a highlight of St. Paul’s colorful winter season ever since.

The second coat with similar blanket stripes has a long, full design and was worn by a member of the Great Northern Railway marching club. Both coats date from the years shortly after the 1916 carnival and were probably worn for many years after.

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