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Documentary, educational, amateur, and artistic films and videotapes make up the Minnesota Historical Society's moving image collection of some 1,130 cataloged items. Together they provide a vivid look at Minnesota past and present.
Some films, such as those of the St. Paul Winter Carnival dating back to 1916, document Minnesota events and activities. Films and videotapes made for schools range from travelogues of local sites to in-depth studies of a variety of topics. Home movies are a rich resource for studying family life and catching a glimpse of neighborhoods, towns, and social customs through time.
Special collections such as the Intermedia Arts Minnesota videotape collection blend the documentary with the artistic. This collection of 200 tapes, made from 1972 to 1989, showcases Minnesota's independent video producers during a period of tremendous creativity in the medium.
The Historical Society owns three million feet of news film from KSTP-TV in Minneapolis/St. Paul, dating from 1948 to 1980. It is not yet ready for prime time, but when the reels are transferred from film to video for reference use, this collection will be an invaluable document of life in the Twin Cities.
Searching the Collection
To learn what films and videotapes are held by the Minnesota Historical Society, search the library catalog using the keywords "motion pictures" or "video recordings."
Find information about the copy services available at the Society.
Donating items to the Society's collections.
The Historical Society would like to thank the National Film Preservation Foundation for their support in the preservation of Minnesota's film history. "Cologne: From the Diary of Ray and Esther" (pictured above) is now on the National Film Registry of the nation's most significant films.