Awesome Resources from the Minnesota Historical Society

The Minnesota Historical Society has been working hard on providing high quality resources for educators and they are succeeding. Some of the resources, like the web-showcase for the Governors of Minnesota would be perfect for Minnesota-specific history courses or for History or Literature programs that would focus on who was the governor at the time. Other resources, like TimePieces gives the user not only clickable events which took place throughout Minnesota’s History (great 1886 start Mr. Sears) but used in conjunction with the Governors’ exhibit, could provide a neat showcase of what happened when who was governor.

Forests, Fields and the Falls is a great flash/comic-style resource which explores the lives of four actual Minnesotans. Beyond just Minnesota history, any unit looking at events in US history around the 1900’s might find this useful.

On the topic of race-relations and the 1920’s, the “Duluth Lynchings Online Resource” contains a multimedia timeline, an online glossary, a timeline of the legal proceedings, additional resources, and oral histories of those who lived in Duluth around the time of the lynching of three young black men in Duluth, MN on July 15, 1920. A rich resource. A powerful comparison unit might include an investigation of Rosewood, Florida in 1923 and Duluth, MN in 1920.

If your students are learning about the New Deal, or discussing President Obama’s stimulous package and ideas for turning the economy around with jobs programs, exploring the MNHS’s CCC Footlocker would be a super resource for any grade. Also focused on the time periods of the 1920’s-WWII, the MNHS is collecting the stories of the Greatest Generation and sharing them  in “In Their Words.” Click on the time period you are interested in and then the topic and you will see the people who have contributed to that section of the project. One of our English teachers is going to use this as a resource for her 9th graders when they write ballads.

Beyond these resources, the MNHS has online document and photo searches, and a wealth of additional resources for schools. Historical societies can often times be more personal/local than the also wonderful National Archives or Library of Congress. Additionally, even if these materials are not useful as they are to your curriculum, they might be useful as idea or template generators.

Happy Friday!

3 thoughts on “Awesome Resources from the Minnesota Historical Society”

  1. Hi Wendy,
    We met at MHS a year or so ago during a discussion about ways we can better serve educators. Thanks for the great post! I thought you might be interested in a few other things we’ve been working on …. Our Library Reference staff are building a graphical timeline of Minnesota History using What a magical tool! You can see it at, scroll down. This week or next, we’ll have a Lincoln bicentennial web site that will also use a dipity timeline. You might be interested in viewing selected news video clips from the KSTP collections at Our wotr (for write on the record, pronounced like water) user comment tool lets visitors leave comments about records in our collections. Imagine educators leaving comments on historical photos which describe how they used the photo in a lesson plan! Visit and click on the “Add comment” link associated with each photo or artwork. Our wiki helps people share information about places to which they have a connection — be it a house, commercial building, farmstead, statue, bridge, neighborhood or whatever. This could be a terrific tool for educators to have students gather and share the history of their community. Ciao!
    Rose Sherman, Director of Enterprise Technology, MHS

  2. Hi Rose –
    Dipity is a great tool, neat idea for MNHS – and interesting resource from KSTP.

    Thanks for the comment. ww

  3. Hi Wendy,
    Glad you like the Governors of Minnesota webpages! For teachers and students I would also point out the Minnesota History Topics at These were designed specifically for History Day-age students. There is a “blurb” giving brief information on the topic, followed by a list of secondary sources in the Minnesota Historical Society library and archives, a list of MHS primary sources, a list of newspapers that might be useful, and links to the Photo and Art Database and to the online catalog. We’re also adding, little by little, digital images of primary sources. Check out the topic on the Dakota War of 1862 or the one on the 1892 Republican National Convention. When there is an electronic finding aid for the archival materials we always provide a link. We also point out when there is microfilm available for Interlibrary Loan for those students who don’t live close enough to Saint Paul to visit in person.
    Kathryn Otto, Head of Reference, MHS

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