Kim Eslinger
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Claudia Kittock
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Merle Minda
Small Business Columnist
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Michael Rainville Jr.
History Columnist
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Brianna Ojard
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Meg Forney
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Doug Verdier
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Minneapolis Riverfront News

Covering life, work, and play in the Historic Mill District and Downtown Minneapolis Riverfront neighborhoods. Have an opinion, local news or events to share?  Contact us.

Saturday
Nov032018

Faribault Woolen Mill Opens Charming Retail Store on Washington Avenue

Article and photos by Merle Minda

Step inside the newly opened Faribault Woolen Mill store on the corner of Washington Avenue and 11th Avenue South in the Mill District, and you’ll feel it from the first moment: warmth, design, usefulness and beauty. Surrounded by these warm and beautiful woolen blankets in a vast array of colors and designs, you may even recognize some designs from your youth, when a woolen blanket was placed on the foot of your bed on a cold winter night.

Tom Kileen, CEO of Faribault Woolen Mill Co.

Faribault Woolen Mill is an integral part of Minnesota history. Spinning wool and making blankets since 1865 (that’s over 150 years, folks!), they start by using raw wool and combing, processing and weaving it into the fine products they make today. In their early history they made blankets for the military, both Army and Navy, still an essential piece of their business. Over one-third of their business remains with the military. Faribault blankets went off to two World Wars and everything in-between.

The mill in Faribault is perched on the banks of the Cannon River; you can visit the mill and see the entire process from beginning to end. They have a retail store at this site too, just 60 miles south of the Twin Cities, but the new Washington Avenue store is their first free-standing retail venture in the United States.

Faribault Woolen Mill store now on Washington Avenue in the Mill District.

Talking to CEO Tom Kileen, I learn that after all the years of being started and owned by the same family, the mill closed in 2009 and was about to be sold off in pieces when another family, the Mooty family, bought the mill and started it up again. Kileen is a family member, and talking with him is to speak with someone who devoted heart and soul to the mill and its fine array of new designs and products.

Not depending solely on history, the new blanket designs are truly gorgeous. In addition to the military blankets which you can buy here (and they are unbelievably warm and sturdy), the new designs and colors are simply tops of the availability of wool blankets sold today. Plus Faribault Woolen now makes scarves and warm ‘throws’ and larger and smaller sizes for any situation.  Use them for hiking, camping, backpacking – they are dependable and go everywhere.

The Betsy Ross design.

Blanket with street car map of Brooklyn.

Remember these striped ones?One of my favorites is the “flag designs”, with a Betsy Ross blanket as well as a current 50-stars blanket. Another innovation is blanket throws with designs of maps of major cities, such as a Brooklyn blanket. Inspired by vintage street maps, they also feature the Twin Cities, New York, Chicago and San Francisco. What a gift!

And then there are the new colors, the new plaids, the fringes, even the striped blankets you may remember from yesteryear. They make other products with wool too, partnering with Leather Works Minnesota for woolen valet trays, coasters and key chains. When you are out shopping this holiday season, do not miss this store.

Blankets everywhere!

Woolen pillows, too.

“We expect our store to be an easy way for our old and lots of new customers to learn about Faribault Woolens and own one or two for their own family or gifts. We have done an extensive overhaul of the old mill, bringing back many former workers but also designing and making new products,” said Kileen. “We are very enthused about the reception of our latest designs and our new store in Minneapolis,” he continued.

Faribault Woolen Mill Co. is Minnesota’s oldest manufacturer, but they have stepped up in time for today’s market. See the “Story of Wool” on their website at www.faribaultmill.com. You can order online of course, but it is a treat to pop into this friendly store and pick out your favorites. They are located at 1029 Washington Avenue S (next to Northern Coffeeworks). Hours are M-F, noon-7pm; Sat. 9am–6pm; Sunday 11am-5pm. Customer Service: 1-507-412-5510, customerservice@faribaultmill.com.

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About Merle Minda

Journalist and free-lance writer Merle Minda writes about travel, business, people profiles and other subjects for a number of national and regional publications, including Delta SKY, Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Business, Star Tribune, Twin Cities Statement, Minnesota Monthly, and now Mill City Times. She can be reached at mminda@earthlink.net or TravelOverEasy.com on the web.

Friday
Nov022018

For MN Locals Only: 2 GINGERS Irish Whiskey Cocktail Competition

Do you fancy yourself a mixologist? If so, here's your chance to shine (and if you're really good, win a trip to Ireland)!

After opening popular Irish pubs – Kieran's Irish Pub, The Local, Cooper and the Liffey – Irishman Kieran Folliard launched 2 GINGERS Irish Whiskey in March 2011.

Kieran Folliard, photo credit Beam Suntory2 GINGERS Irish Whiskey has launched a Cocktail Competition open ONLY TO RESIDENTS OF MINNESOTA for a chance to win a 7-day trip to Ireland, hosted by creator Kieran Folliard himself.

With Minnesota as the muse, residents (21+) are asked to create a new cocktail recipe based on local landmarks or Minnesota history. Entries are to be posted on the contest website, including the cocktail recipe, directions to make the drink, photo and a short description of the cocktail's inspiration.

Contest ends December 31, 2018. Click here for official contest rules.

2 GINGERS was created by Kieran, who was inspired by his red-headed (a.k.a. "ginger") mother and aunt. It is double-distilled to retain more of those natural whiskey flavors (most Irish whiskey is notably triple-distilled) and aged for four years in Ireland’s mild climate.

Next some inspiration? Enjoy a signature The Big Ginger® (2 GINGERS plus ginger ale, a wedge of lemon and a wedge of lime in a tall glass filled with ice).

Friday
Nov022018

Give to the Max Early Giving Info

Although Give to the Max Day itself isn’t until November 15, you may make your donation early to count for Minnesota’s giving holiday! Simply visit GiveMN.org and search for the causes that mean the most to you any time between now and November 15!

All gifts made during this Early Giving period are also eligible for daily $500 Early Giving Golden Tickets—so planning ahead could boost your chances of winning!

Finally, Give to the Max gifts made during Early Giving are also eligible for the grand prize—a $10,000 Super-Sized Golden Ticket drawn at midnight as soon as GTMD18 is over!

We are excited to help ignite the generosity of thousands of donors as we prepare for the 10th year of Minnesota’s statewide giving day!

Read more FAQs about Early Giving.

Wednesday
Oct312018

New Photography Exhibit Explores the Legacy of Local Department Stores From Dayton’s to Donaldson’s 

“Thank You For Shopping” exhibit on display at Mill City Museum from Nov. 15, 2018 to Feb. 24, 2019

Throughout the 20th century, department stores ruled the retail landscapes of downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. More than just shopping centers, stores like Dayton's, Powers, Donaldson's, Young-Quinlan, the Emporium and the Golden Rule were centers of social life. 

This exhibit is a companion to the new MNHS Press book “Thank You For Shopping: The Golden Age of Minnesota Department Stores” by Kristal Leebrick, and visitors can explore photographs of Minnesota’s iconic stores as well as a slideshow of many photos that weren’t included in the book.

MNHS Press and Mill City Museum will celebrate the book’s launch and exhibit opening on Thursday, Nov. 15 from 6-8 pm. Remarks begin at 7 pm, and Leebrick will be joined by designer Jack Barkla and artist Dan Mackerman, who both helped create Dayton’s 8th Floor holiday displays. Attendees will also be able to view a display of department store artifacts from MNHS collections. 

The exhibit will be on display in Mill City Museum’s Mill Commons and is free and open to the public during regular museum hours. 

About Mill City Museum
Built within the ruins of the Washburn A Mill, a National Historic Landmark, the award-winning Mill City Museum chronicles the flour milling industry that fueled the growth of Minneapolis. The story comes to life through the eight-story Flour Tower, Water Lab, Baking and other hands-on exhibits.

The museum is located at 704 S. Second St. in Minneapolis. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. The site is also open Mondays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in July and August. For more information, call 612-341-7555 or visit www.mnhs.org/millcity.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.

Wednesday
Oct312018

MPRB Autumn Update: Taking Stock of the Evolving Urban Forest

Via an October 30 e-newsletter from the Minneapolis Park and Rec Board:

As leaves fall and trees settle into dormancy for the coming winter, MPRB forestry staff are wrapping up removals of ash and other tree categories for the season. To maintain and even expand the urban forest, we also planted some 8,300 trees this year.

About 1,800 were planted in parks and the balance of 6,500 went into boulevards along Minneapolis streets. Oak trees and coffeetrees, nearly 1,000 of each in various cultivars and species, were among the most-planted categories; planetrees were a close third. 

Numbers of Note

Of course, an urban forest is more than the sum of its trees. But some numbers are worth noting.

For example, 900 oak trees may sound like a lot, but to put it in perspective: Oak still comprise just 7% of Minneapolis' street trees - and that's up from only 2% in 2004. Meanwhile, coffeetrees have moved from less than 1% to 3%. These single-digit gains are how we measure success in developing a diverse urban forest. 

Two other measures of this type of success, also illustrated in the charts below: 

  • The number of tree categories that comprised 2% or more of the total trees planted in 2018: Parks got 20 categories, while streets got 18.

  • Overall, 16 tree categories comprised 1% or more of the overall street tree population in 2018 - up from only nine categories back in 2004.

Seeing the forest for the trees: Diversity rules!

As shown in the charts above and below, MPRB's overall mission is to ensure variety, which protects the entire urban forest from the kind of blight brought by diseases like Dutch elm or insects like emerald ash borer.

Some key MPRB practices advance this mission:

  • Plant hundreds of tree types from dozens of categories
  • Mix three to five or more tree categories on any individual city block
  • Limit any tree category within a neighborhood to 10% (that's a limit, not a goal)

In practice, that limit 10% limit means that MPRB continues to plant tree categories that currently represent only single-digit percentages in parks and along streets. Over time, this lowers the percentages for categories that currently dominate - maples, lindens and yes, even elms - as shown in the street-tree charts below.

MPRB street tree population, then and now

Up-and-coming trees

As diversity develops throughout the urban forest, you may begin to see more of these categories: 

  • Maackia - A great option for our climate and urban conditions, maackia cultivars are becoming more readily available. Their small size makes them a good option on streets where space is limited. 

  • Corktree - If we could get more, we'd plant more! But supplies are limited, since it takes years for nurseries to respond to changes in the demand for specific trees; most of the corktrees that MPRB procures are five to seven years old. 

  • Larch (aka Tamarack) - Locals may be familiar with this tree from the Quaking Bog in Theodore Wirth Park - but the larch holds promise in parks and even along streets; MPRB is monitoring plantings in both locales. 

Remember: Water trees weekly!

After the leaves have fallen, but before you put away the garden hose for the winter, use it to give a good, long drink to young trees on your property and along nearby streets: It's essential in helping them get through the winter.

Find out more about MPRB's park care and maintenance and its stewardship of the urban forest and park trees.

Wednesday
Oct312018

Neighborhoods 2020 Update and Invitation

Via an e-newsletter from David Rubedor, Director of Neighborhood and Community Relations for the City of Minneapolis:

There has been a lot of progress made in recent weeks on the Neighborhoods 2020 initiative, so I would like to give you an update on the work thus far and invite you to provide your feedback in the upcoming engagement sessions and comment period. The Neighborhood and Community Relations Department (NCR) is continuing to work with neighborhood, community and elected leaders to identify new neighborhood programming, funding, governance and an engagement policy that will support the City’s 70 neighborhood organizations, beginning in 2021.

Neighborhoods 2020 is about strengthening our neighborhood organizations, elevating their work and ensuring that the neighborhood system is inclusive and cognizant of the equity issues facing our city. It is about combining diverse engagement tools to form a collective strategy that will effectively engage all people in our community.

We know there are not only concerns about the policy recommendations coming from the Neighborhoods 2020 work groups, but also about the future of funding for neighborhoods. Once the Neighborhoods 2020 work groups wrap up their work, their recommendations will be brought to the City Council in March 2019. It will be during that phase of the work that City Council will make determinations regarding the future of funding. As discussed at the NCR budget presentation on October 18th, it is possible that we may see efforts to include NCR funding and neighborhood work in the City’s long-term funding plan this year. If this occurs, it will be a general commitment that will need further clarification and council action upon completion of the entire Neighborhood 2020 process.

Below is more information about the expected timeline and opportunities for weighing in with your concerns.

Our Goal of Equity and Diverse Representation

NCR applies the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) framework and an equity lens to the City of Minneapolis’s engagement work.In 2016, the department adopted the Blueprint for Equitable Engagement, a 5-year strategic plan to engage cultural groups and under-engaged communities. We model our work around this blueprint to ensure equitable access to City resources and programming and inclusion in the City’s decision-making processes for all communities and cultures in Minneapolis, using a broad array of engagement techniques. One crucial component of this engagement toolkit is the neighborhood organization system.

The City of Minneapolis values the contributions of our neighborhood organizations. To that end, 73% of NCR’s $12M 2018 budget is committed to supporting neighborhood work. Nearly all of these funds are direct allocations to neighborhoods organizations through the Neighborhood Revitalization Program and the Community Participation Program. With these funds, neighborhoods have worked on many important issues, supported grass-roots initiatives and leveraged over $2.8M worth of volunteer time from residents in 2017 alone. One of our goals with Neighborhoods 2020 is to ensure that this significant investment in communities, the neighborhood organization system, also benefits from diverse representation and participation.

NCR’s engagement efforts focus on removing barriers to participation and creating welcoming spaces for all community members to participate. About 20% of our annual budget is dedicated to support this type of work. Some examples include the City’s new, overhauled Americans with Disabilities Action Plan, the over 500% increase in use of City language access services, and the NCR staff embedded in our city’s major cultural communities (African American, East African, Latino, Southeast Asian, American Indian, seniors and GLBT). We have included diverse voices in major policy initiatives such as the safe and sick time, minimum wage and municipal ID ordinances. We host radio shows in Spanish, Hmong and Somali to ensure more residents understand the issues facing our city and the resources they have available. We support voter outreach and recently added the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to expand our support to new Americans.

A complete list of the departments performance measures, including both neighborhood and cultural outreach programming, can be found here:http://www.minneapolismn.gov/ncr/EquitableEngagement.

Neighborhoods 2020 Update and Upcoming Engagement Opportunities

The Neighborhoods 2020 work groups were established in July, each covering one of the three major topics under consideration: programming and funding, governance and formulating a citywide community engagement policy. The work groups consist of 47 individuals, representatives experienced in equity/undoing racism, from neighborhood organizations and cultural groups, and appointees chosen by City Council and the mayor.

Since July 2018, work groups have concentrated their efforts on five main goals:

Goal 1: Increase inclusive and vibrant leadership within neighborhoods by creating space for new ideas, people and planning.

Goal 2: Create effective financial and program accountability of neighborhood organizations to the communities they serve.

Goal 3: Increase effective capacity of neighborhoods in the areas of administration and program development.

Goal 4: Create inclusive, diverse and equitable neighborhood organizations.

Goal 5: Clarify an effective role and relationship with the City of Minneapolis.

After three-and-a-half months, work groups are close to finalizing and presenting their work. The groups will convene together on November 19 to make any changes to their recommendations based on the product of other work groups. There will be several opportunities for residents and community members to provide input or feedback on the work group recommendations.

Presentation of Draft Recommendations (late November):

During the last week of November and early December, presentations will be conducted at various locations around the City for community feedback. A separate announcement of the meeting times and locations will be sent out soon. The work groups will meet after these presentations to discuss any final changes to their product.

45-day Review and Comment Period (January – February):

Final recommendations will be available for a 45-day public comment period starting in early January 2019.

City Council Presentation (March):

Final recommendations, including public comments, will be presented to the City Council’s Public Health, Environment, Civil Rights and Engagement Committee in March 2019.

This has been a meticulous process for the work groups, the community and our staff; but, using the expertise and best practices that work group members and NCR staff contribute, I am confident that a solid and achievable program will emerge. The guidelines will be different than in years past, but the changes will make neighborhoods and the City stronger partners for years to come.

I want to thank all the work group members for their hard work and dedication. I also want to thank neighborhood leaders for their contributions and patience with this process. I know the uncertainty is difficult, but please know that we are working hard to bring Neighborhoods 2020 to a successful conclusion. I believe that, between the work of our volunteers, the work group members and NCR staff, Minneapolis will remain the most meaningfully engaged city in the US.

Tuesday
Oct302018

2018-2019 Indoor Running Schedule at US Bank Stadium

Do you love to run, but hate the cold and elements or don't feel comfortable running after dark?

If so, mark your calendars, because Minnesota Distance Running returns to US Bank Stadium for the 2018-2019 season! Each session will run from 5pm to 8pm and cost $3/person cash at the door. Capacity is 250 runners at a time, additional runners will be able to enter as previous runners leave. Participating individuals must be running - walking is not allowed except for cooling down post-run. Strollers are prohibited.

Indoor Stadium Running Schedule:

Monday, November 19
Tuesday, November 20
Wednesday, December 19
Thursday, December 20
Thursday, December 27
Thursday, January 3
Wednesday, January 9
Tuesday, January 15
Wednesday, January 16
Sunday
Oct282018

A Haunting on Maple Hill

Article by Michael Rainville, Jr.

This is a spooky time of year. People are making last-minute changes to their Halloween costumes, jack-o-lanterns are popping up on doorsteps, and leaves have gave way, so the moonlight can reach the damp ground. There’s a lot of fanfare during this holiday season, and it’s easy to glance over the mysteries that seem to reappear ever year in this city like a midnight fog. Don’t let festive lawn displays and all the candy you can eat distract you from Minneapolis’ eerie past. Turn off the lights, snuggle up in your flannel blanket, light a candle, and feast your eyes on one of Minneapolis’ most ghostly destinations.

Photo of the abandoned cemetery taken in 1900, facing the southwest corner of the park with the intersection of Polk and Summer streets in the background.

Photo taken October 28, 2018 with a similar vantage point. Photo credit Michael Rainville, Jr.

The year is 1857. Minneapolis had a population of roughly 3,400 and its rival across the falls, Old St. Anthony, had about 5,000 residents. As the first generation of settlers began to age, the need for a cemetery became quite apparent. Thus, in 1857, the city’s first cemetery was established in a part of town, near the outskirts, that was known as Maple Hill. This cemetery narrowly beat out Layman’s Cemetery, which officially was recognized as a cemetery one year later in 1858. From its opening to its closing in 1890, Maple Hill Cemetery saw roughly 5,000 burials, some of which were Civil War veterans. Maple Hill was a popular place to lay loved ones to rest on the east side of the river because of its easy access, beautiful and peaceful scenery, and cheap costs. However, cheap costs also meant cheap labor. Not all the departed were buried six feet under. In fact, many were resting merely two feet under the surface. This would lead to problems that some might say are still lingering atop that hill to this day.

Minneapolis grew at an astronomical rate, absorbing Old St. Anthony on the way, and the Maple Hill Cemetery eventually became too full and unkempt. From 1890 to 1916, the cemetery was left for Mother Nature to reclaim. During the first few years of its closure, 1,300 caskets were moved by families of the dead to either Hillside Cemetery or Lakewood Cemetery. That still leaves 3,700 unclaimed bodies. At first, it was still a nice and calm cemetery, but as rain began to erode parts of the hill, those two-foot graves began to peek out of the ground. Grave robbers would frequent the old cemetery, and do you know what resting souls hate more than hooligans from Nordeast who are stealing their belongings? Absolutely nothing. The neighbors had their complaints heard about this dilapidated cemetery that would attract an unsavory crowd, and in 1908, the Minneapolis Park Board bought the land and turned it into Maple Hill Park. Unfortunately, the park board did not pump a lot of money into the park, and for the first few years, the only thing that changed was its name. This angered the neighborhood even more, and soon a few of the residents would take matters into their own hands.

In 1916, a group of men moved many of the remaining tombstones and visible caskets, and threw them into a ditch nearby. The city acted quickly yet only found two of the culprits, and the park board began to take the “park” more seriously. Soon after, the park board removed the rest of the tombstones except for a couple grave markers and a monument for the 46 Civil War veterans who were laid to rest there. As the park board began to install many nice features in the park, it became a very popular destination in Northeast Minneapolis. In 1948, the now largely Italian neighborhood petitioned to change the park’s name, and soon after, the park was renamed Beltrami Park after Giacomo Costantino Beltrami, who is credited with being the first European to discover the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

Photo taken October 28, 2018 of Louis LeDuc's tombstone. Photo credit Michael Rainville, Jr.

The surface may be almost free of signs that it once was a cemetery, but thousands of burials have still not been touched. Those souls still roam the park, some of them looking for their tombstone. One of those spirits goes by the name of Louis LeDuc. How do I know this? His tombstone is in my family’s possession. My great grandfather received it many decades ago from his neighbor who was redoing his front steps, and the first step was poor old Louie’s tombstone. Was Louie a victim of the irritated neighbors who threw tombstones into a ditch, or did the park board carefully remove his? We will never know, and it seems that only he knows that answer. If you hear a faint whisper in your ear when you enjoy the bocce ball courts or feel a tap on your shoulder during your next picnic, tell Louie LeDuc that his friend Michael Rainville Jr. is keeping his tombstone nice and safe. Well…let’s at least hope that whisper or tap is Louie and not one of the angrier residents of Maple Hill.

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About Michael Rainville, Jr.

A 6th generation Minneapolitan, Michael Rainville Jr. received his B.A. in History from the University of St. Thomas, and is currently enrolled in their M.A. in Art History and Certificate in Museum Studies programs.

Michael is also a lead guide at Mobile Entertainment LLC, giving Segway tours of the Minneapolis riverfront for 5+ years.

He can be reached at mrainvillejr@comcast.net.

Friday
Oct262018

Celebrate ‘Day of the Dead’ and Preview Northeast Minneapolis Arts District Event During the ‘First Thursdays’ Event at Minneapolis Visitor Information

On November 1, celebrate “Day of the Dead” with the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District and preview their upcoming Open District event at Minneapolis Visitor Information (MVI) at Nicollet and 5th Street (505 Nicollet Mall), directly across from the METRO Nicollet station. As part of the monthly “First Thursdays” event, visitors will be able to sample free pan de muerto (bread of the dead) and view an ofrenda (offerings on a ritual altar) by Northeast Minneapolis artist Gustavo Lira. In addition, there will be live art demonstrations and guests can purchase original art and meet local artists between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Pan de muerto, by Ecuadorian bakery Charito, located on Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis, will be available while supplies last. This “bread of the dead” is a traditional sweet roll that is eaten on Day of the Dead. The ofrenda will be unique to Minneapolis Visitor Information. A typical ofrenda display is a collection of objects set up to honor one’s ancestors on Day of the Dead in the Mexican tradition. Ofrenda means “offering” in Spanish.

Also preview the upcoming Open District event held November 2-4 in the Northeast Arts District. Members of the arts organization will highlight such events and buildings as Art Attack at Northrup King building, Open Casket at Casket Arts building, California Dreamin’ at the California building and Art This Way at Solar Arts building. Open District is an annual event that allows visitors to explore studio buildings, acquire original art as well as meet with local artist. 

Guests may also register to win a pair of tickets to Theater Latte Da (need not be present to win).

First Thursdays are held each month to encourage residents, employees of downtown businesses and visitors to learn more about Minneapolis Visitor Information and its partners, Love From Minneapolis and Move Minneapolis, as well as highlight community organizations and events.

For more information and daily hours, visit www.minneapolis.org/visitor-information/

Thursday
Oct252018

Event Parkway Closures for October 27 Halloween Half Marathon, 5K & 10K

Please note the following October 27 Event Parkway Closures for the Halloween Half Marathon, 5K & 10K, from approximately 7:30am-12:00pm:
.
- West River Parkway: Plymouth Avenue to E 42nd Street
- Main Street SE
- Stone Arch Bridge
Thursday
Oct252018

YES! Hennepin County board action: Directing people in crisis away from criminal justice system

The Hennepin County board accepted funding to direct people in crisis away from the criminal justice system, accepted funding to support student success inside and outside of school, appointed the executive director of Hennepin Health and more.

Funding will direct people toward services and away from criminal justice system

The board accepted $1 million of federal funding to establish medical services and social supports for people facing mental health and addiction crises.

U.S. departments of Justice and Health and Human Services granted the county funding to expand the Behavioral Health Center in Downtown Minneapolis. The center links people in crisis to health, human services and community resources and provides another option for people who might otherwise go to jail or the hospital.

Funding will also expand a program that embeds mental health social workers with law enforcement. Social workers help de-escalate crises and connect people with follow-up services. The police department piloted this model in September 2017 in south Minneapolis and is expanding it to downtown Minneapolis.

View more about the Department of Justice grant.

View more about the Department Health and Human Services grant.

Grant will support academic, social and emotional outcomes for students

The board accepted a $500,000 federal grant to implement the Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR) model at four Hennepin County high schools with a high proportion of county-involved youth. As part of the BARR model, teachers build relationships with students to increase success and wellness inside and outside of school. The county-involved youth population includes teens in the foster care or juvenile justice systems; teens experiencing homelessness; and teens who are pregnant or parenting.

Find out more about this grant.

Board appoints Hennepin Health executive director

The board appointed Anne Kanyusik Yoakum as executive director of Hennepin Health, the organization that provides health-care coverage to county residents enrolled in a Minnesota health-care program. Kanyusik Yoakum is currently serving as acting executive director and most recently served as chief compliance and privacy officer for Hennepin Health.

Read more about this appointment.

Public hearing – draft 2040 comprehensive plan

The board will host a public hearing to receive comments on the county’s draft comprehensive plan, an overarching policy framework required by state statute that will help the county meet its stated mission. The hearing will take place at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, November 15, in the Hennepin County Government Center Board Room (A-2400).

View the related board action.

Learn more about the comprehensive plan.

Thursday
Oct252018

Minneapolis Big Build wins IDA Downtown Achievement Award Recognizing Excellence in Urban Place Management

During its 64th Annual Conference and Tradeshow in San Antonio, Texas, the International Downtown Association recognized Mpls Downtown Improvement District (DID) with the Downtown Achievement Award of Excellence for its work and initiatives related to the Minneapolis Big Build initiative. 

The Award of Excellence acknowledges an excellent response to an industry challenge and exceeds the jury criteria. The Minneapolis Big Build, created in partnership with the Mpls Downtown Improvement District, mpls downtown council (mdc) and Meet Minneapolis, raised awareness about more than $2 billion worth of construction projects in downtown Minneapolis and was among 18 qualified entries in the category of Marketing and Communication. This category features strategies that use print, electronic media, social media or multimedia efforts to promote downtown. The Big Build was launched and its marketing was executed in collaboration by mdc, DID and Meet Minneapolis, and DID worked to enhance the reach and voice of the initiative through stakeholder outreach, on-street signage and other tactics to magnify the message.

“Downtown Minneapolis has undergone an incredible amount of public and private development over the past several years,” said Steve Cramer, president & CEO of the mpls downtown council and Mpls Downtown Improvement District. “Construction often creates temporary frustration for the public, so the Big Build focused on not only communicating what was happening at two dozen projects but also showcasing how these projects will work together to create a stronger and more vibrant downtown.”

“The Downtown Improvement District’s project received the IDA Award of Excellence for uniquely implementing best practice in urban place management,” said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. “The Minneapolis Big Build is a shining example of excellent urban place management delivering real value to the city and an exemplary response to a community challenge.”

The Minneapolis Big Build aimed at raising awareness about downtown Minneapolis’ intense development transformation over the past several years. With major new facilities and infrastructure, along with national events coming through town, the initiative seized the opportunity to make sure local residents, downtown employees and visitors all know everything that’s new and exciting in our city.

The Minneapolis Big Build featured on-street signage, construction wraps, rendering boards and other forms of on-site tools and technology that will help you visualize and see what these areas and projects will look like once construction is complete. It also featured www.mplsbuild.com, which highlighted more than two dozen projects totaling more than $2 billion worth of construction.

Washington, DC-based IDA is the premier organization for urban place professionals who are shaping and activating dynamic city center districts. The Downtown Improvement District is the urban place management organization representing the interests of property owners in Minneapolis and is a member of IDA.

About The Minneapolis Big Build 

The Minneapolis Big Build is a $2 billion collection of major projects that are transforming Minneapolis, adding new facilities, new green space, and new public amenities that will enhance Minneapolis for everyone who lives, works, visits, and plays here. To learn more, visit www.MplsBuild.com.

About the Mpls Downtown Improvement District

Founded in early 2009 by the downtown business community, the Mpls DID delivers higher levels of service to make downtown cleaner, greener, safer and more vibrant throughout a 120-block area. It is funded almost exclusively by the commercial property owners of downtown Mpls, and it is the largest Business Improvement District in the state of Minnesota. For more information, visit www.mplsdid.com.                     

About IDA

The International Downtown Association is the premier organization for urban place professionals who are shaping and activating dynamic city center districts. Our members are city builders and downtown champions who bring urban centers to life, bridging the gap between the public and private sectors. We represent an industry of more than 2,500 place management organizations, employing 100,000 people throughout North America and growing rapidly around the world. Founded in 1954, IDA is a resource center for ideas and innovative best practices in urban place management. For more information, visit www.ida-downtown.org

Thursday
Oct252018

Updates from the Metropolitan Council, Including Affordable Housing and Transportation 

Via October 24 and 25 e-announcements from the Metropolitan Council:

Metropolitan Council awards $4.5 million in grants to support affordable housing development
Grants expected to support creation of more than 650 units of affordable housing

 

The Metropolitan Council has approved nearly $4.5 million in Livable Communities grants to supportaffordable housing near existing and planned transit service. The grants are expected to support the creation of more than 650 housing units affordable to low- and very low-income residents and important connections to jobs and services. 

“The Livable Communities program goes a long way toward supporting and promoting economic growth and prosperity in the region,” said Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff. “A critical component to achieving prosperity is the availability of affordable housing. These grants all support the creation of affordable housing that’s close to transit and other types of transportation. Each project focuses on a different group of people in need of affordable housing.

“The region faces a critical shortage of housing and housing that residents can afford,” said Tchourumoff. “These grants make important strides, but our region’s success at achieving livability, affordability and economic prosperity rely heavily on making sure we have more homes for more people and more options for getting to school and work.”

Tchourumoff says the four grant awards are expected to create 674 affordable homes, more than 900 permanent and temporary construction jobs, increase the net tax capacity by $740,000 and leverage $187 million in other public and private investment. 

Grants include:

  • $2 million for “Legends of Minnetonka,” to support redevelopment of an existing office building into nearly 500 affordable housing units across from the future Opus LRT station along the Green Line Extension. Housing choices will be available for families, individuals, and seniors.
  • $1.2 million for “Lake Street Apartments,” in Minneapolis to support construction of workforce housing, including housing for homeless veterans, in the Lyn-Lake area near frequent bus service and the Midtown Greenway. The project will include 111 affordable housing units, commercial/retail space, indoor bike storage, a green roof, and solar panels.
  • $350,000 for “The Peris,” in Minneapolis to support new affordable housing for young people who are transitioning out of the foster care system. The development includes 41 housing units for low- and very low-income residents.
  • $949,250 for “Northwest University & Dale” in Saint Paul to support mixed-use redevelopment in the Dale Street LRT Station area to create a “Main Street” that serves the daily needs of residents and small businesses. Plans call for 32,000 square feet of office and commercial space and 40 affordable housing units near a plaza and green space.

These grants fall under the category of Livable Communities funds for transit-oriented development. They are grants that provide incentive for creating connections between housing, jobs and transit; promote efficient use of land and increased transit ridership; as well as access to services that meet daily needs.

Grants are awarded on a competitive basis and reviewed and recommended by the Livable Communities Advisory Committee. Applicants are local units of government that commit to affordable housing goals and participate in the Livable Communities program. Proposed projects must meet criteria that the Council has vetted and approved.

Since the Livable Communities program became law in 1995, the Council has approved grants totaling nearly $375 million to assist projects that have created or retained more than 52,000 jobs, cleaned up 2,300 acres of polluted property for redevelopment, created or preserved nearly 22,000 affordable housing units, and leveraged billions in additional public and private funds.

Council adopts update to region’s 2040 Transportation Policy Plan

The Metropolitan Council has approved an update to the region’s 2040 Transportation Policy Plan, which provides a framework for how our region will support the movement of people as we plan for growth into the future. The 2018 update to the plan addresses trends that have emerged since the 2040 plan was first adopted in 2015 and includes new information.

“This update will help guide thoughtful, coordinated decision-making between local units of government, the state and the Council,” said Chair Alene Tchourumoff. “Good planning doesn’t end after creating a plan – it includes checking in with government and community partners to ensure the long-term plans are on track, adjusting where necessary, and accounting for new trends and information. This update is the result of thoughtful collaboration with partners across the region.”

Wednesday’s approval marks the end of a nearly two-year-long process, involving many stakeholders and meetings, including technical staff, policymakers, and people in the region. In addition, another 150 people and organizations submitted public comments that are reflected in the final version of the plan.

The Transportation Policy Plan contains detailed information about the region’s transportation system, including highways, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. The plan also addresses regional freight movement and airports. It identifies policies for maintaining, managing, and improving the region’s transportation system. Those policies guide the investment plans for each aspect of the system. The plan is required by the federal government and must be updated every five years.

Highlights of the 2018 update

  • Updated fiscal projections for highway and transit system investment
  • Funding commitment for new major highway and transit investments
  • The creation of performance measures to guide investment
  • Addressing key challenges and opportunities in transportation over the long-term, including autonomous vehicles and shared mobility systems
  • Results from recent transportation planning studies, such as the Regional Truck Freight Corridor study

Two funding scenarios

The 2040 Transportation Policy Plan identifies two funding scenarios: one based on anticipated revenues, and a second scenario based on the availability of additional funding, if it were to become available. Anticipated revenues are based on current local, state and federal laws and programs – including growth rates consistent with historical trends.

Under the current revenue scenario, the region is estimated to receive $92 billion in transportation funds from all sources through 2040. Of that, $41 billion would be for local transportation, nearly $16 billion for state highways and $35 billion for transit.

The 2018 update also more clearly acknowledges local funding sources for regional transportation, including property taxes, sales taxes, and wheelage taxes.

A majority of funds for state highways would pay for maintenance, management and repair of the existing metropolitan highway system. Another priority is investments that improve mobility on the existing highway system. For transit, funds will support the existing system and the build-out of the arterial rapid bus network and other regional transitway corridors:

  • METRO Orange Line (I-35W south bus rapid transit)
  • METRO Green Line Extension (Southwest light rail)
  • METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau light rail)
  • METRO Gold Line (Gateway dedicated bus rapid transit)
  • Rush Line dedicated bus rapid transit
  • C Line bus rapid transit on Penn Avenue North

A number of other corridors are identified in the plan as still being studied and primed for future implementation, including BRT lines on Chicago-Emerson-Fremont Avenues in Minneapolis, Lake Street and Marshall Avenue in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis.

Challenges and opportunities

The plan identifies key regional transportation challenges and opportunities. These areas provide the framework for policy discussion in the next several years in anticipation of the next plan update.

“Emerging technologies in transportation have the potential to significantly impact our approach to planning and providing services,” Chair Tchourumoff said. “We’re particularly anxious to see how vehicle technologies evolve and how we might integrate more electric vehicles into our fleet. But we’re also mindful of the amount of electric power we consume and ways to use renewable sources to address our overall climate impact.”

Identified issues include:

  • Balancing funding for the aging highway system and the emerging transit system
  • Changing travel patterns
  • Addressing highway congestion
  • Technology and its influence on travel
  • Addressing equity in transportation planning and investment
  • Sustainable environmental practices, related to emissions, environmental health, and electric vehicles (both personal and transit)
  • Assuring connections between transportation and land use to foster regional prosperity

2019-22 Transportation Improvement Program Amendment

The Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) is receiving public comment on a proposed, regionally-significant amendment to the 2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) requests an amendment to add a project reconstructing and expanding I-94 in Wright County.

An amendment is required because the project expands capacity and is, therefore, regionally significant. The project would be programmed for state fiscal year 2019 (between July 2018 and June 2019). This project was awarded funding through the Corridors of Commerce solicitation in 2018.

Find the TIP amendment and information about federally funded regional transportation improvements on the Transportation Improvement Program web page

The draft 2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Program is also available online.

This TIP Amendment was released for public comment by TAB on October 17, 2018.

The Council will receive comments on the proposed TIP amendment from Thursday, Oct. 25 through 5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov.14, 2018 as follows:

  • Mail: Metropolitan Council, 390 Robert St. N., St. Paul, MN 55101
  • E-mail: info@metc.state.mn.us
  • Public Comment Line: 651-602-1500

For more information, email Joe Barbeau, senior planner at the Metropolitan Council or call 651-602-1705. 

Wednesday
Oct242018

MSP Film Society honors Native American Heritage Month with Nov 4 Anne Makepeace Triple Feature

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, MSP Film Society presents three documentaries by award-winning writer-director Anne Makepeace: TRIBAL JUSTICE,  COMING TO LIGHT, and WE STILL LIVE HERE-AS NUTAYUNEAN. The event takes place Sunday, November 4 beginning at 1 pm and includes a spotlight on pioneering portrait photographer Edward Curtis, in collaboration with Cardozo Fine Art.

TRIBAL JUSTICE is a documentary feature about a little known, underreported but effective criminal justice reform movement in America: the efforts of tribal courts to create alternative systems of justice. There are more than 300 tribal courts across the country. In California, two formidable women lead the way. Abby Abinanti, Chief Judge of the Yurok Tribe on the north coast, and Claudette White, Chief Judge of the Quechan Tribe in the southern desert, are creating innovative systems that focus on restoring rather than punishing offenders in order to keep tribal members out of prison, prevent children from being taken from their communities, and stop the school-to-prison pipeline that plagues their young people.
Director: Anne Makepeace Country: Turtle Island (USA) Language: English Year: 2017 
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/196530073 - Showtime: Sun Nov 4  1pm
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COMING TO LIGHT: Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952) was a driven, charismatic, obsessive artist, a pioneer photographer who set out in 1900 to document traditional Indian life. He rose from obscurity to become the most famous photographer of his time, created an enormous body of work -- 10,000 recordings, 40,000 photographs, and a full length ethnographic motion picture -- and died poor and forgotten. His work was rediscovered in the 1970s and is now synonymous with photography of Indians. Coming to Light tells the dramatic story of Curtis' life, the creation of his monumental work, and his changing views of the people he set out to document. The film also gives Indian people a voice in the discussion of Curtis' images. Hopi, Navajo, Eskimo, Blackfeet, Crow, Blood, Piegan, Suquamish, and Kwakiutl people who are descended from Curtis subjects or who are using his photographs for cultural preservation respond to the pictures, tell stories about the people in the photographs, and discuss the meaning of the images.
Director: Anne Makepeace Country: Turtle Island (USA) Language: English Year: 2017 
Trailer:https://vimeo.com/156332913 - Showtime: Sun Nov 4  3:15 pm
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WE STILL LIVE HERE-AS NUTAYUNEAN tells the amazing story of the return of the Wampanoag language, a language that was silenced for more than a century. The Wampanoag Indians’ forebears ensured the survival of the first English settlers in America – the ‘Pilgrims,’ and lived to regret it. A century ago, after nearly 300 years of contact, their language virtually disappeared. Now, spurred on by an indomitable Wampanoag woman named Jessie Littledoe Baird, recent winner of a MacArthur genius award for her unprecedented linguistic work, the Wampanoag are bringing their language and their culture back to life.
Director: Anne Makepeace Country: Turtle Island (USA) Language: Wampanoag & English Year: 2010 
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/156332916 - Showtime: Sun Nov 4  5:45pm 
Wednesday
Oct242018

Vote early October 30-November 5

Voters can place ballots directly into counting machines one week before election

Eligible voters will place their ballots directly into a ballot counter when voting in person October 30-November 5.

Voting machines will record votes as they are turned in, but will not report results until after polls close on Election Day, November 6.

Voters who cast their in-person absentee ballot before October 30 place their ballot into a series of envelopes to be counted on or before Election Day, rather than placing their ballot directly into the ballot counter.

In-person absentee voting is available now at city halls across Hennepin County and at the Early Vote Center in downtown Minneapolis. Each city location can accommodate voters who live in that particular city.

Check available locations to vote early.

View a sample ballot.

For more information about elections in Hennepin County, visit hennepin.us/elections.

Look for more news on the Hennepin County website at hennepin.us/news.

Discover how we're making a difference in our communities at hennepin.us/stories.

Tuesday
Oct232018

Volunteers Assist with Nicollet Island Restoration Work

Photo credit Will Stock

Over 25 volunteers recently dug in to help restore habitat on Nicollet Island.

As part of a new multi-year restoration of natural areas on the islands northern half, the volunteers planted 90 trees and shrubs and over 400 wildflowers, sedges and grasses on Saturday, October 13.

Tim Lynch, who works at DeLaSalle High School on the island and serves as a moderator with the school's GREEN team, said, "We're making the island a more vibrant and sustainable place for everyone. It's been fun seeing the whole process — pulling out the invasive species this spring and seeing the plan coming to fruition."

Tim Lynch on left, Alex Roth on right

Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) Ecologist Alex Roth led the event, noting that each plant was specially selected for its high value to bees, birds, and other pollinators and wildlife. He also noted that the installation of a new trail will allow visitors and community members to enjoy a walk through the prairie in the heart of the city.

FMR ecologist Alex Roth

In total, 2 acres of native prairie habitat are being created, plus a pocket of maple forest historically present on the island.

While professional crews will be used for some work, volunteers will be needed to assist at each step in this long-term process. Events are two hours long and no experience is required. Contact volunteer@fmr.org to learn more.

FMR is leading the restoration in partnership with the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Other partners include Nicollet Island/East Bank Neighborhood Association and Friends of the Riverfront.

Young Nicollet Island habitat restorers Sylvia and Oliver Case

Volunteer Oliver Case leaves a wish for a tree he helped to plant with his family.

Oliver's note around the tree reads, "I wish for this tree to stand tall forever."

Volunteers Grace and Brett Edgar mulch a newly planted tree.

Monday
Oct222018

Open House for Parade Park Parking Lot Reconstruction Project Scheduled November 5

Parking lot scheduled to be torn up and rebuilt in 2019

The pay parking lot at Parade Park is scheduled to be fully reconstructed in 2019. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Planning and Customer Service staff are hosting a project open house on Monday, Nov. 5, 4-6 pm in the lobby of Parade Ice Garden, 600 Kenwood Parkway. 

Open House attendees will have a chance to learn about the project and give feedback on the project and anticipated parking impacts due to construction.

This project is subject to Board adoption of the draft MPRB Capital Improvement Program (CIP), a six-year plan that directs spending on park improvement projects. It must be approved by MPRB Commissioners each year as part of the annual budget process.

Parade Parking Lot Reconstruction Open House
Date: Monday, Nov. 5, 2018
Time: 4-6 pm
Location: Parade Ice Arena, 600 Kenwood Parkway
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Contact
Dan Elias
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Phone: 612-230-6435
Email: delias@minneapolisparks.org
Friday
Oct192018

Public Invited to the Sheridan Memorial Park Improvements October 25 Groundbreaking

A new picnic shelter is part of a major park improvement project at Sheridan Memorial Park

Major park improvement project includes new playground, picnic shelter, basketball court and playable art

Please join the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Northeast Minneapolis neighbors and park users at 11 am on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 for a special groundbreaking ceremony commemorating the beginning of construction on a host of new park amenities coming to Sheridan Memorial Park.

The Sheridan Memorial Park Improvements project features a new playground, picnic shelter, basketball court and playable art, along with benches, a drinking fountain, portable toilets and path connections. The $1.5 million project began with soil cleanup earlier this year. This fall construction crews will perform site work like grading and paving to set the stage for installation of all the new park structures in 2019.

The MPRB would like to thank the Sheridan Neighborhood Organization, which has committed thousands of dollars in funds and many volunteers to help plan and construct past improvements in the park.

An illustration showing part of the new areas

Project History

In April 2015 the MPRB received a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership project to develop recreation facilities at Sheridan Memorial Park. The grant was matched with $1 million from Minnesota Parks and Trails Legacy Funding, administered by the Metropolitan Council.

Community engagement in 2016 and 2017 helped decide which improvements were chosen for the park and how those improvements were designed. Project work was first bid in 2017 but the bids received exceeded the project budget, so the design was adjusted and bid again in 2018. Construction will occur fall 2018-summer 2019.

A sundial/radial feature will be part of the playground

Park History

A grand opening celebration for the Sheridan Veterans Memorial occurred on June 28, 2014 after nearly 20 years of planning, fundraising and environmental remediation.  Read more of the park’s fascinating backstory on the MPRB website: Sheridan Memorial Park History

Currently the park centers on a large spherical sculpture of protective shields created by local artist Robert Smart. The sculpture is surrounded with quotes about peace engraved into granite and vertical markers describing the ten conflicts in which Minnesotans have served. Smart imbued the steel and granite markers with faces of veterans cast in iron.

In 2016 the Mississippi East Bank Trail opened. The two-way, off-street, lighted riverfront trail runs through the park.

Project Page

Thursday
Oct182018

October News from the Minneapolis Parks Foundation

Via an October 18 e-newsletter from the Minneapolis Parks Foundation:

Making Progress on Water Works

If you’ve been by the Water Works site on the Central Riverfront recently, it’s evident that a great deal of work is being done to prepare the land and mill remnants for the future park's next phase – construction. It's within this context that the Parks Foundation, together with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, recently released a refined design for the project that sets us up for a successful launch. Read More »

Design Team Named for Great Northern Greenway River Link

On October 3, 2018, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board approved the selection of a design team to advance the 26th Ave N Overlook, a RiverFirst signature project also known as the Great Northern Greenway River Link. The design team is led by two esteemed local firms with ties to the community - TEN X TEN landscape architecture and 4RM+ULA architecture. Design and planning get underway this month, ahead of planned construction and grand opening in 2019. Read More »

"The Nature Fix" with Florence Williams

Join us for opening night of the 2018-2019 Next Generation of Parks Event Series, featuring Florence Williams, renowned author of the best-seller, The Nature Fix. At the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Get your free tickets today! Thursday, Nov. 15, 6:30pm • Free Read More »

Three Fall Foliage Superstars

According to the Minnesota DNR, we're at peak leaf-peeping season. Now's the time - with sunshine and more temperate temps - to get out and explore these three sites for maximum color: Wirth Lake (from the boardwalk), West River Parkway near Bassett Creek, and Wabun Park to the Ford Bridge. Read More »

Call for Ideas

In 2018, we introduced small group tours of Minneapolis parks that opened eyes to new places and practices. These events proved so popular last summer that we're expanding the program in 2019. If you have an idea for a location, speaker, or theme that you think we could explore, please share it with Christine Moir at CMoir@MplsParksFoundation.org.

 

Stories and Ideas of Interest and Impact

2018-2019 Next Generation of Parks™ Season

Through the Parks Foundation’s always-free Next Generation of Parks™ events, global design innovators and thought-leaders showcase the most exciting new parks destinations and delve into important issues of place affecting the Twin Cities community today.

Thursday
Oct182018

MNHS Staffer Caps Off Over Year-Long Project to Digitize 700+ Women’s Hats

Via an October 18 e-newsletter from the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS):

While visiting one of the Minnesota Historical Society’s 26 historic sites, you’ll only get a glimpse of a small percentage of the history that MNHS collects for the state of Minnesota. Beneath the Minnesota History Center, MNHS houses hundreds of thousands of items: everything from furniture to maps to historic papers and fashion.

Staff is constantly at work to digitize collections and make them available online to the public. In early 2017, Stephanie Olson, collections associate, noticed a gap in online collections: women’s fashion hats. MNHS has a collection of more than 700 women’s hats, but the public could only explore about 12 percent of that on mnhs.org

So in May 2017, Olson began a project to review and digitize the full collection. In addition to photographing hats as they were worn, she also researched designers, different eras of hat fashion and other information to create robust records documenting the history and style of each hat. 

Olson learned a great deal about women’s fashion history in her work. “The oldest hats we have are from the 1860s, which mirrors women’s fashion trends. Before then, women wore more bonnets,” she said. “The majority of the collection dates from about 1910 to 1950. From the 1960s onward, hats were falling out of fashion, but we do have several from the 21st century.” 

The collection varies from everyday straw and felt hats to more elaborate numbers made of velvet, silk or lace with feathers, beads and even stuffed hummingbirds. The largest one is a Merry Widow-style hat from about 1909 that spans a staggering 22-inches wide. 

Olson completed her work in September 2018, digitizing a total of 717 hats which are now available to view online. 

Her next digitization project? Clothing from national and international designers. “Some people are surprised to learn how fashion forward Minnesotans have always been,” she said. 

Digitization of collections items for online access is made possible by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.