If you’re interested in learning more about Minnesotans’ experiences of modern warfare, there’s plenty to see and do at the Minnesota History Center:
Reservations are recommended if you want to visit the Minnesota History Center this coming Saturday, March 23rd, noon-4pm, to learn about how American soldiers have written home in wars since 1861. Reenactors from Historic Fort Snelling will provide fife and drum music, you’ll have a chance to write your own soldier’s letter, and Civil War historian Wayne Jorgensen will give a talk based on his book Every Man Did His Duty: Pictures and Stories of the Men of the First Minnesota. Admission is free for veterans and active-service military; otherwise, usual MHC admission applies ($11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $6 ages 6-17, kids 5 and under and Minnesota Historical Society members get in for free). Learn more, and register, here.
Minnesota and the Civil War
If you can’t make it the 23rd, you’ve still got until September to visit the MHC’s newest exhibit, on Minnesota’s experience of the Civil War. Here’s a taste of the exhibit description:
From a new state flush with patriotism, Minnesotans were the first in the Union to respond to the call. Romantic notions of battle quickly fled, even as perseverance in the face of unforeseen carnage sparked an enduring legacy. In family and friendship circles at home and on the battlefield, people mourned, made sacrifices and weighed every possibility and outcome. Minnesotans’ lives were changed forever.
Click here to learn more about the Minnesota Historical Society’s ongoing commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, or here to browse its impressive collection of primary sources on Minnesotan participation in that chapter of American history.
The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862
In the middle of the Civil War, Minnesota itself hosted a brief and bloody conflict. Learn more about the U.S.-Dakota War from this challenging work of public history, which remains on exhibit through September 2013. (Read our earlier post on the debates that surrounded its planning. For more background on the 1862 conflict and its commemoration, see this post by our own Chris Gehrz.)
Minnesota’s Greatest Generation
And then one of the Minnesota History Center’s most popular exhibits remains open. Though not exclusively about World War II, this treatment of the generation that came of age during that war does include a recreation of a combat flight, an armored vehicle produced at St. Paul’s Ford plant, and an assembly line packing artillery shells.