The MNHS permanent collection includes more than 6,500 objects related to American Indian culture and history. MNHS provides responsible stewardship of these items, in accordance with the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and industry standards for collections management. Meaningful partnerships with tribal communities are the key to successful stewardship. In FY16, MNHS continued collections outreach programming by partnering with Dakota tribes and Ojibwe bands throughout the state and beyond.
American Indian undergraduate students from across Minnesota participated in this unique intensive 17-day residential program. The students attended on-site presentations throughout Minnesota and experienced hands-on learning about the museum and archaeology fields and other historical and cultural preservation organizations. Students also learned about various career paths and academic requirements for working in these types of organizations, both on and off reservations, as well as challenges American Indian communities face related to preserving tribal heritage.
MNHS Press will publish a book showcasing MNHS' extensive collections of bandolier bags made and worn by several North American Indian tribes around the Great Lakes. The book will include a tour of Minnesota's seven Ojibwe reservations, showing bags associated with each area, and profiles of master beadworkers who provide personal insights into the work.
This partnership is designed to develop the capacity of history professionals across the state to serve local communities. This year high-quality best practices were shared around the state through the distribution of an improved periodic publication, a conference in Willmar (with almost a 20 percent increase in participation), new pilot affinity group meetings and informal learning opportunities.
MNHS is developing an online database to identify the burial sites of Minnesota's Civil War veterans. When complete, this database will be available to the general public and serve as an aid to descendants, authors, educators and researchers.
In FY16, MNHS began to create a website for teachers to access educational materials and content related to the Civil War. Research was completed and Civil War-related materials were gathered for the website, including 120 primary sources with background information, Minnesota History magazine articles, videos and programs. Teacher testing will inform design and content modifications in advance of a spring 2017 launch.
As the Minnesota State Capitol reopens after several years of restoration work, MNHS plans to offer new programs exploring the Civil War at the Capitol. During this project, an introductory video will be created for school programs and public theme tours that provide background information about Minnesota's involvement in the Civil War and how that influenced the placement of artifacts, art and memorials in the Capitol.
College interns from Minnesota's diverse communities are placed across MNHS in various departments and sites. During their semester-long internships, students have the opportunity to work alongside museum and public history professionals to enhance their skills and apply their knowledge in a professional environment.
MNHS is developing new curricula, programs and resources to engage students in learning about Minnesota history. In FY16, a full review of online resources for the K-12 audience was completed and an action plan was put in place to update the content and design of these materials. In FY17, the Forests, Fields and the Falls website launched in a new format, making it more accessible to teachers and students using any platform or device. In addition, staff are working with Oliver Kelley Farm staff to create new curriculum on agriculture, history and STEM for K-12 teachers and students.
Increasing the public's online access to the permanent collections remains a top priority for MNHS. Since the beginning of FY17, more than 800 artifacts have been digitally photographed and cataloged, including American Indian material culture, fine art, recent acquisitions and artifacts related to current events and MNHS initiatives. The digitization of edged armaments and artifacts associated with brewing and breweries in Minnesota has now been completed.
MNHS continues actively preserving and making accessible newspapers published in the state. In FY16, MNHS concentrated efforts on the backlog of hardcopy newspapers, piloting an approach to microfilming and digitizing issues in mass quantity to reduce the physical storage burden and increase access for researchers and local historical societies. MNHS also began testing in-house digitization of current newspapers, securing equipment and developing processes and staff expertise to support this activity. Online access continues to be offered through the Minnesota Digital Newspaper Hub.
MNHS continues to recruit diverse students from the Twin Cities for programs that engage them in understanding how public organizations present historical narratives. Internally, the Department of Inclusion and Community Engagement supports the diversity and inclusion efforts of other MNHS departments, such as the access advisory group and training for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act officer. Staff also attend cultural competence learning opportunities.
Minnesota History magazine will commission four articles on topics that contribute to MNHS' diversity and inclusiveness strategic priority. Topics will illuminate the historical experiences of people and communities who are currently underrepresented in the pages of Minnesota History. Efforts will be made to find diverse authors for the articles, which could include writers of color or writers from disabled, LGBTQ, religious minority or other underrepresented communities.
MNHS is working to strengthen its presence and visibility as a community resource to Minnesota's diverse communities by supporting a strategic tabling and sponsorship effort at 12 community events, such as Rondo Days, Twin Cities Jazz Festival and the Cultural Heritage and Social Action Summit. In addition, funds supported co-sponsoring and hosting diverse events, such as Twin Cities Black Film Festival and Somali Independence Day events at the Minnesota History Center.
Work is being done to strengthen existing partnerships and create new opportunities for MNHS to deliver transformative educational experiences to students. ACHF dollars were used to leverage matching dollars from Minneapolis public schools to increase their contract with MNHS for educational programs, such as History Day. St. Cloud State University and Minnesota State University Moorhead also provided matching funds for partnerships that enrich U.S. history instruction with experiences at historic sites and museums.
Seven undergraduate student interns in St.
Through this program, partners are extending the reach of National History Day in Minnesota. MNHS staff coordinate school services with an emphasis on support for students from diverse backgrounds. Higher education partnerships help build college readiness skills for middle and high school students and strengthen the mentoring skills of college students.
With the centenary of the U.S. involvement in the Great War in Europe, the experience of predominantly German New Ulm and Brown County continues to have national significance and relevance to current events. The Brown County Historical Society created an exhibit, "Loyalty and Dissent: Brown County and World War I" on the second floor of their museum to illustrate and interpret the war experience of 1917 and 1918 as it pertained to Brown County.
MNHS exhibits are supported by diverse programming that complements exhibit content while extending the rich stories of Minnesota's history. MNHS staff are able to partner with community organizations on innovative programs for visitors of all ages. In FY17, programs included lectures, panel discussions, film screenings, musical performances, readers theater programs in the exhibit gallery, hands-on family activities and other events.