Thursday, December 6, 2007

From Dylan to Prince and Spam to Greyhound Buses: 150 Years of MN History

In May 2008, the state of Minnesota will be celebrating its 150th anniversary of statehood. The Minnesota History Center in St. Paul has already begun the celebration with the MN 150 exhibit. I haven't been to the exhibit yet, but I did get a copy of the book "Minnesota 150: The People, Places, and Things that Shape Our State" and love all of the arcane trivia I now possess about my homeland.

The book and the exhibit reflect the input of thousands of Minnesotans who were asked to nominate the people, events and places that have shaped the state from over the years. The 150 items range from the inspiring (Paul Wellstone and Highway 61 on the North Shore) to the ugly (the 1920 Duluth lynchings and the US-Dakota War) from the funny (Spam and Burma Shave) to the lesser-known (Seymour Cray (inventor of the first supercomputer) and Robert Gilruth (launched the US space program)).

Looking through the 150 items, as well as all of the other topics that were nominated but not selected, it is clear that Minnesotans are an eclectic bunch. We have a rich and sometimes troubled history, with plenty of examples of smart, tireless individuals with big hearts, unmatched talent, and great ideas.

Image: Minnesota Historical Society

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