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Minnesota Historical Society
'M' of the Minnesota Historical Society's Logo
Formation 1849; 174 years ago (1849)
Headquarters Saint Paul, Minnesota

The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution dedicated to preserving the history of the U.S. state of Minnesota. It was founded by the territorial legislature in 1849, almost a decade before statehood. The Society is named in the Minnesota Constitution. It is headquartered in the Minnesota History Center in downtown Saint Paul.

Although its focus is on Minnesota history it is not constrained by it. Its work on the North American fur trade has been recognized in Canada as well.

MNHS holds a collection of nearly 550,000 books, 37,000 maps, 250,000 photographs, 225,000 historical artifacts, 950,000 archaeological items, 38,000 cubic feet (1,100 m3) of manuscripts, 45,000 cubic feet (1,300 m3) of government records, 5,500 paintings, prints and drawings; and 1,300 moving image items.

MNopedia: The Minnesota Encyclopedia, is since 2011 an online "resource for reliable information about significant people, places, events, and things in Minnesota history", that is funded through a Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund grant and administered by the Minnesota Historical Society. The Minnesota Historical Society Press (MNHS Press) publishes books on the history and culture of Minnesota and the Upper Midwest with the goal of advancing research, supporting education, and sharing diverse perspectives on Minnesota history. MNHS Press is the oldest publishing company in the state of Minnesota and the largest historical society press in the nation, with more than 500 books in print. MNHS Press also produces the quarterly magazine, Minnesota History (journal).

State historic sites

The Minnesota Historical Society operates 31 historic sites and museums, 26 of which are open to the public. MNHS manages 14 sites directly and 10 in partnerships where the society maintains the resources and provides funding. Five sites are being held for preservation but are closed to public access, and two are self-guided sites with interpretive signage. Seven of the sites are National Historic Landmarks and 16 others are on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Seven sites lie within Minnesota state parks, and three are elements of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.

Site name Image Location Era of features Year added to MNHS Management Remarks
Alexander Ramsey House Alexander Ramsey House 2015.jpg St. Paul 1872–1964 1964 Direct Home of Minnesota governor and U.S. Congressman Alexander Ramsey with original furnishings. NRHP
Birch Coulee Battlefield Birch Coulee Battlefield monument.JPG Morton September 2, 1862 Self-guided Site of the Battle of Birch Coulee, the deadliest battle for U.S. troops in the Dakota War of 1862. NRHP.
Charles Lindbergh House and Museum CharlesLindberghHouse.jpg Charles A. Lindbergh State Park 1906–1920 Direct House of U.S. Congressman Charles August Lindbergh and his son, aviator Charles Lindbergh. National Historic Landmark
Comstock House Comstock House.jpg Moorhead 1882 Partnership Restored home of U.S. Congressman and businessman Solomon Comstock with its original furnishings. NRHP
Folsom House W.H.C. Folsom House.jpg Taylors Falls 1854–1968 1968 Partnership Restored home of businessman, politician, and historian W.H.C. Folsom with its original furnishings. NRHP contributing property
Forest History Center FSCsodroof.jpg Grand Rapids 1900–1934 Direct Recreated logging camp and exhibits on humankind's relationship with Minnesota's forests.
Fort Renville Fort Renville Site.JPG Lac qui Parle State Park 1822–1846 1973 Preservation Location of a fur trading post established by Joseph Renville.
Fort Ridgely FortRidgely1.jpg Fort Ridgely State Park 1853–1867 Partnership Fort built to keep the peace around a Dakota reservation, but attacked twice during the Dakota War of 1862. NRHP
Grand Mound Grand Mound.jpg International Falls 200 BCE–1400 1971 Preservation Five burial mounds include the largest prehistoric structure remaining in the Upper Midwest, 25 feet (7.6 m) high and 100 feet (30 m) in diameter. National Historic Landmark
Harkin Store HarkinStore1.jpg New Ulm 1870–1901 1973 Partnership General store first built in the 1870s with much of the original inventory still on display. NRHP
Historic Forestville ForestvilleMNbridge.jpg Forestville Mystery Cave State Park 1853–1899 1978 Direct The remains of the once-bustling 19th century town of Forestville, which became a ghost town after the railroad passed it by. NRHP
Historic Fort Snelling FortSnellingMN.jpg Fort Snelling State Park 1820–1946 Direct Portions of the fort have been restored to their original frontier appearance, while later additions served as barracks for soldiers training during World War II. A National Historic Landmark and part of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.
James J. Hill House James J. Hill House 2012.jpg St. Paul 1891–1921 1978 Direct Mansion of railroad magnate James J. Hill. National Historic Landmark
Jeffers Petroglyphs Jeffers Petroglyphs Turtle.jpg Jeffers 3000 BCE–1750 1966 Direct Exposed rocks bear ancient Native American petroglyphs. NRHP
Lac qui Parle Mission Lac qui Parle Mission.JPG Montevideo 1835–1854 1973 Partnership Reconstructed wooden church where missionaries worked to convert the Dakota. NRHP
Lower Sioux Agency Lower Sioux Agency warehouse.jpg Lower Sioux Indian Reservation 1853– Partnership Museum depicting the lives of Dakota people before and after the Dakota War of 1862. NRHP
Marine Mill Marine Mill historical marker.jpg Marine on St. Croix 1839–1895 Partnership Ruins of Minnesota's first commercial sawmill. NRHP
Mill City Museum Gold Medal Flour-Mill City-2007-03-12.jpg Minneapolis 1874–1965 Direct Museum of the flour milling industry that built Minneapolis, within the ruins of the Washburn "A" Mill, a National Historic Landmark. Part of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.
Mille Lacs Indian Museum Mille Lacs Indian Museum.jpg Mille Lacs Indian Reservation Prehistory–present Direct Museum of the history and culture of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.
Minnehaha Depot Minnehaha Depot.jpg Minneapolis 1875–1963 1964 Partnership Former train station near Minnehaha Falls with "gingerbread" Victorian architecture. Operated by the Minnesota Transportation Museum.
Minnesota History Center Minnesota Historical Society 20060917.jpg St. Paul Prehistory–present Direct Minnesota Historical Society's headquarters, with permanent exhibits about Minnesota, changing exhibits about national history, and a library.
Minnesota State Capitol Minnesota State Capitol.jpg St. Paul 1905–present 1969 Direct Tours and exhibits of the state's seat of government. NRHP
Morrison Mounds Battle Lake 690 BCE 1968 Preservation Includes the oldest burial mound in Minnesota. NRHP
Oliver Kelley Farm Kelley Farm.jpg Elk River 1850–1901 1961 Direct Frontier farmstead of Oliver Hudson Kelley, one of the founders of the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. National Historic Landmark
Sibley Historic Site Sibley House.jpg Mendota 1838–1910 Partnership Homes of Henry Hastings Sibley, Minnesota's first state governor, and fur trader Jean-Baptiste Faribault. NRHP and part of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.
Snake River Fur Post NorthWestCompanyFurPost.jpg Pine City 1804 Direct Recreated North West Company trading post and Ojibwe encampment. NRHP
Split Rock Lighthouse Split Rock Lighthouse - US-MN.jpg Split Rock Lighthouse State Park 1910–1969 1976 Direct Clifftop lighthouse on Lake Superior restored to its 1920s appearance. National Historic Landmark
Stumne Mounds Pine City 1968 Preservation Group of linear burial mounds near the Snake River. NRHP
Traverse des Sioux TraverseDesSioux.jpg St. Peter Prehistory–1869 1981 Self-guiding Site of a river ford, the signing of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux, and a former town. NRHP
Upper Sioux Agency Upper Sioux Agency Duplex.jpg Upper Sioux Agency State Park 1854–1862 1969 Preservation Location of a federal agency established to convert Dakotas to a Euro-American farming lifestyle, but destroyed in the Dakota War of 1862. NRHP
W.W. Mayo House 2009-731-MN-LeSueur-MayoHouse.jpg Le Sueur 1859– Partnership Home built by William Worrall Mayo, founder of the Mayo Clinic, and later home of Carson Nesbit Cosgrove, founder of the Green Giant food company. NRHP

Document depositories

These publications are described in more detail in an online format (without the downloadable document formats available above), at the MHC's own Digital History Books page (Retrieved November 24, 2012)

CC-BY-SA icon.svg This article incorporates text from MNopedia, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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