Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Minnesota Historical Society

  • St Paul, MN
  • http://www.mnhs.org

Mission Statement

Using the power of history to transform lives, the Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. The society preserves our past, shares our state's stories, and connects people with history. It does this through extensive libraries and collections, innovative exhibits, educational programs, historic sites throughout the state and book publishing through the MNHS Press.

Main Programs

  1. History Day
  2. Heritage Preservation
  3. Collections and Library
  4. Historic Sites
  5. MNHS Press
  6. History Center
Service Areas

Self-reported

Minnesota

The Minnesota Historical Society is one of the largest historical societies in the nation, serving the people of Minnesota at 26 publicly operated historic sites and through an extensive web presence. Its headquarters are located in St. Paul Minnesota, where collections, the Gale Family Library, and the History Center, a museum with hands on exhibits for all ages, are located. Additional service to the state occurs through the State Historic Preservation Office's outreach services.

ruling year

1944

Director

Self-reported

Mr. D. Stephen Elliott

Keywords

Self-reported

historical society, historic preservation

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EIN

41-0713907

 Number

6920757244

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Historical Societies and Related Activities (A80)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

The Minnesota Historical Society is a dynamic and widely recognized educational organization that is a trusted resource for history. It is highly valued for its historical resources, educational impact, service, advocacy and leadership:

As an effective leader and partner in educational initiatives that improve academic achievement and provide opportunities for life-long learning.
As a service-oriented and accessible repository of archival, documentary, photographic, archaeological, and museum collections and center for research;
As the State's premier presenter of history exhibitions and programs;
As the preserver and presenter of a compelling network of historic sites that make history meaningful for visitors and are supported by their local communities;
As a partner in expanding historic preservation and in providing professional field services, increasing the capacity of history and heritage organizations statewide; and
As a leading publisher of Minnesota and historical content in traditional and digital media for a variety of audiences.


Our mission is to use the power of history to transform lives. Our vision is to maximize the power of personal and community stories and shared history to enrich and transform lives. The Society is...
A partner in helping young people succeed educationally and realize their potential.
A home for collections, programs, staff and leaders that reflect and serve the diversity of people who are today's and tomorrow's Minnesotans.
An advocate for and steward of historical resources and facilitator of compelling, substantive and enjoyable learning experiences.
A workplace that attracts, retains and develops talented people and enables them to do excellent work.
An important priority for a broad network of supporters, public officials, members, donors, volunteers, trustees and others who work to extend the Society's impact and strengthen its future.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

History Day

The History Day program is co-sponsored by the Society and the University of Minnesota. Participating students are required to complete an in-depth research project based on a topic they select related to an annual theme. Students then present their findings in the form of an exhibit, performance, documentary, research paper or website. The Minnesota program has become a national leader in using the History Day program as a means of improving academic achievement for students of all abilities and creating partnerships with colleges and libraries that improve research skills and college readiness.

Annual participation:
• 30,000 students participated in 2012
• Program participation represents the full diversity of Minnesota’s education system – inner city, suburban and rural; public and private; charter and home schools all participate

Quote: “One of the things I love about History Day is that this unit has made it possible for many of our Special Ed students to shine. Because of the flexibility of the program, many have advanced to Regionals, State, and Nationals. It definitely reinforces the idea that people have far more abilities than disabilities!”

Category

Youth Development, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

None

None

Budget

Program 2

Heritage Preservation

The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 provided for a network of historic preservation offices in every state to spearhead state preservation initiatives and help carry out the nation's historic preservation program. Minnesota's office was created by state statute in 1969 to provide statewide leadership. The director of the Minnesota Historical Society serves as State Historic Preservation Officer.

Mission

The Society's Historic Preservation, Field Services and Grants Department fulfills its mission to preserve and promote Minnesota history by working to:
Identify, evaluate, register and protect Minnesota's historic and archaeological properties,
Encourage the development of local history organizations and activities, and
Assist government agencies in carrying out their historic preservation responsibilities.

Category

Public, Society Benefit

Population(s) Served

None

Budget

Program 3

Collections and Library

The Minnesota Historical Society is home to a vast collection including over 500,000 books, 50,000 boxes of manuscripts, 200,000 photographs, 25,000 maps, 6,000 works of art, 1.25 million archaeological specimens, 225,000 artifacts and a comprehensive collection of Minnesota newspapers. This collection is accessible to the public through the Gale Family Library, websites, and exhibitions.

Category

Historic Preservation & Conservation

Population(s) Served

None

None

None

Budget

Program 4

Historic Sites

The Minnesota HIstorical Society operates historic sites throughout Minnesota, of which 26 are open to the public. Programs range from the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Split Rock Lighthouse in Northern Minnesota to Historic Forestville in the Southeast and Oliver Kelley Farm, Fort Snelling, and the Mill City Museum.

Category

History & Historical Programs

Population(s) Served

None

None

None

Budget

Program 5

MNHS Press

Minnesota Historical Society Press publishes books on the history, art, and culture of the Upper Midwest. Founded in 1859, it is the oldest publisher in the state and the largest historical society press in the country. We seek to publish books for a broad audience of general readers and specialists. Understanding that where we come from is crucial to who we are, the press publishes books that explore the importance of place in this rich and varied region we call home.

Borealis Books, the national trade imprint of Minnesota Historical Society Press, strives to publish works of enduring value that illuminate our shared quest for identity, place, and heritage.

A lively magazine about the history of the state and the Upper Midwest, Minnesota History features well-researched, engaging articles on fresh topics ranging from the early jazz scene in Minneapolis and a historic high-school basketball “dream team” to rural school consolidation and the birth of civil rights in Minnesota.

Category

Publishing

Population(s) Served

None

None

None

Budget

Program 6

History Center

The History Center in St. Paul houses a museum, library and many collections, education programs, and administrative offices for the Minnesota Historical Society. With over 200,000 visitors annually, the History Center contains multiple galleries with resident and changing exhibits on various aspects of Minnesota life.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Population(s) Served

Adults

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Educational Achievement: The Society is engaged in partnerships that leverage historical resources and educational expertise to make a difference in the lives of more Minnesota youth, with special focus on underachieving students.

    Diversity & Inclusiveness: The Society is continuously engaged with communities of color and American Indian nations, and the diversity of Minnesotans is reflected in the Society's collections, programs, staffing and governance.

    Lifelong Learning: The Society is deeply engaged in cultivating meaningful relationships with adult audiences as lifelong learners, members, donors, volunteers and supporters.

    Oliver Kelley Farm and Historic Ft. Snelling: The Society is successfully addressing the major preservation and interpretive needs of its historic sites and museums, with special focus on Oliver Kelley Farm and Historic Fort Snelling.

    Sustainability & Stewardship: The Society develops and manages its resources to ensure the long-term sustainability of the programs it provides in service to the people of Minnesota. It provides good stewardship of all resources - financial, human capital and collections.

    Content Development: The Society develops engaging historical information and resources that inspire the public. This content is shared effectively and broadly through exhibits, programs, books and products, reaching audiences digitally and through print, outreach and other media.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    2012 - 2017 Strategic Priorities

    The Society is engaged in partnerships that leverage historical resources and educational expertise to make a difference in the lives of more Minnesota youth, with special focus on underachieving students.
    The Society is continuously engaged with communities of color and American Indian nations, and the diversity of Minnesotans is reflected in the Society's collections, programs, staffing and governance.
    The Society is deeply engaged in cultivating meaningful relationships with adult audiences as lifelong learners, members, donors, volunteers and supporters.
    The Society is successfully addressing the major preservation and interpretive needs of its historic sites and museums, with special focus on Oliver Kelley Farm and Fort Snelling.
    The Society develops and shares great content that informs, engages, and inspires. All content is produced with a deep knowledge of the constituency that cares deeply about the subject, is edited, rich in metadata, packaged for optimal consumption, and sustained for relevance as long as possible.
    The Society develops and manages its resources to ensure the long-term sustainability of the programs it provides in service to the people of Minnesota. It provides good stewardship of all resources - financial, human capital, and collections.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    As evidenced by our strategic planning priorities, the Minnesota Historical Society has devoted resources to ensure that Society's collections, programs, staffing and governance reflect the diversity of the state.

    We are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

    Our tradition of excellence and leadership is upheld and supported through staff recognition and professional development. As a recipient of awards by the American Association of State and Local History Organizations, MNHS ensures that creativity and effectiveness are recognized, supported, honored and rewarded.

    We responsibly care for the historical resources that have been entrusted to us. MNHS operated 26 public sites and another 5 that are entrusted for preservation but not publicly accessible, with a total of 150 buildings across the state of Minnesota.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Our institutional dashboard, available to all staff, includes attendance by historic site, monthly revenue, evaluation summaries by audience (teachers, adult visitors, families, etc.), and statistics categorized by specific exhibit or program.

    Logic models for each strategic priority and department also exist.

    Institutional planning efforts take dashboards and logic models into account when making program decisions and allocating budgets.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    While progress is constantly changing, in FY 2015, MNHS:

    * shared history with more visitors, 985,152 visitors to our historic sites and museums, a 17% increase;

    * made history more accessible for all - over 162,000 visitors took advantage of free admission offers;

    * inspired 25,000 students from 44 Minnesota counties participating in the 2015 National History Day in Minnesota. Sixty advanced to national competition in Washington DC, and two earned first place medals;

    *Northern Lights, our sixth grade Minnesota studies textbook, was used by 43,000 sixth graders across the state;

    *Over 150 high school and college students served as interns, and 45% of these interns were from diverse backgrounds;

    *We Are Hmong, a new exhibit celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Hmong migration from Laos to Minnesota, drew a record opening day crowd of more than 3,500 visitors; and

    * Construction began on the new Oliver Kelley Farm visitor center, thanks to an appropriation from the State of Minnesota and generous private donations.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Minnesota

The Minnesota Historical Society is one of the largest historical societies in the nation, serving the people of Minnesota at 26 publicly operated historic sites and through an extensive web presence. Its headquarters are located in St. Paul Minnesota, where collections, the Gale Family Library, and the History Center, a museum with hands on exhibits for all ages, are located. Additional service to the state occurs through the State Historic Preservation Office's outreach services.

Social Media

Funding Needs

The rehabilitation of historic buildings at Historic Fort Snelling to serve as a new visitor center and education building and create new exhibits and amenities, is MNHS' top capital project need. This work will serve as the basis for new interpretation of many stories that are not being told to their full potential at the site, such as the site's significance for the Dakota, slavery, the rivers' role in trade from the fur trade to today, and the World War II military intelligence school. The project is a private-public partnership, with predesign funding received from the State of Minnesota and an additional $34 million in state construction funds requested. There is a private fundraising goal of $12 million for the project. Other needs include a major digital access and preservation effort, and support for the institution's diversity, inclusion and community engagement efforts.

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Minnesota Historical Society

Leadership

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Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Director

Mr. D. Stephen Elliott

BIO

Stephen Elliott became the 11th director and CEO of the Minnesota Historical Society on May 1, 2011. He previously served as the head of the New York State Historical Association. He began his career at Colonial Williamsburg where he spent 28 years in various positions including vice president of education administration and planning. He then served for five years as executive director of the First Freedom Center in Richmond, Virginia. He has served on many museum, history, education, and civic boards and is the current chair of the American Association for State and Local History.
He is known for his commitment to education and his passion for history.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Ms. Phyllis Goff

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


ORGANIZATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

Gender
This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Volunteers.
Race & Ethnicity
This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Volunteers.
Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Disability

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Diversity Strategies
Yes
We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
No
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
No
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
No
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
No
We have a diversity committee in place
Yes
We have a diversity manager in place
No
We have a diversity plan
No
We use other methods to support diversity