In order to implement its Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF) projects, the Minnesota Historical Society employs an ACHF Program Coordinator to oversee the program administration. The Society is also supporting administration of the grants program and expanded financial management and administrative functions. The Society is diligently working to keep administrative costs low while adhering to the legislative mandate that costs be “directly related to and necessary for a specific appropriation.”
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.
The Minnesota Historical Society brought the only traveling copy of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights to Minnesota in the exhibit, "We the People: The First Official Printing of the U.S. Constitution" on view at the Minnesota History Center April 3 – July 4, 2012. The exhibit featured a rare, early version of the U.S. Constitution, published in 1787, and an even more rare draft of the Bill of Rights, along with original editions of the two state of Minnesota Constitutions.
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.
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Minnesota Historical Society is creating a broad range of opportunities to help students, teachers and the general public learn more about the war and the role Minnesota played.
Research shows that traditional teaching tools, such as textbooks and lectures, don't fully engage today's students who have grown up surrounded by technology and who use it in their daily lives. This biennium, an additional four Minnesota Historical Society historic sites are improving their service to "21st Century Learners" and their teachers and parents.
The Minnesota Historical Society Press (MHS Press) will continue to publish new books and also articles in Minnesota History magazine to help people further understand the complex history of the Dakota in Minnesota. Projects include:
The Minnesota History Center will invite the public to participate in programs that explore Dakota language and culture and also the history of the U.S.--Dakota War of 1862. Public programs will provide multiple perspectives on the war and give voice to Dakota history and identity through a variety of formats including lectures, films, tours and workshops.
Visit usdakotawar.org/events for a list of commemorative programs and events sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society and other organizations.
This exhibit, on view at the Minnesota History Center through Sept. 8, 2013, recounts the Minnesota war that tore apart lives, families and the Dakota nation. Visitors can view documents, images and artifacts related to the war, as well as hear heart-wrenching stories and learn about the broken treaties and promises that led to this disastrous chapter in Minnesota history. There are many, often conflicting, interpretations of events related to the war. The exhibit includes multiple viewpoints, as well as historical and contemporary voices.
Minnesota Historical Society staff will work to increase public awareness about the tragic events surrounding the war which had a profound impact on shaping our state. Staff will also increase public awareness of new Society inititatives and programs related to the war to ensure that students, teachers and the general public use and benefit from them.