Archives and Special Collections are open by appointment only, limited to UMN affiliates. Appointments must be made one week in advance of your visit. Contact or the curator of the collecting area you wish to use for assistance. We continue to provide scans of requested research materials when possible, especially for our non-campus clientele.

Explore the digital exhibits showcasing materials from Archives and Special Collections.

A Woman's Place: Women and Work

Whether their work is paid or unpaid, by choice or by necessity, a path to freedom or a system of exploitation, the idea of “women in the workplace” has embodied many of society’s greatest hopes and fears about what it means to be a woman. This exhibit attempts to unpack the stories of what “women’s work” truly embodies by pulling materials from units across the University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections.

Balloons Over Broadway, Melissa Sweet, and the Engineering of a Picture Book

This exhibit shows the process of making a nonfiction biographical picture book, using Melissa Sweet's Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade as an example.

Children’s Book Art: Techniques and Media

This is a digital resource examining the works of over 60 artists' materials and process for the making of illustrations using primary sources held in the Kerlan Collection of the University of Minnesota’s Archives and Special Collections.

Digitizing Immigrant Letters

The Digitizing Immigrant Letters Project aims to make available on-line letters from the IHRC Archives and other collections (private individuals, partner institutions) that were written between 1850 and 1970 both by immigrants (the so-called “America letters”) and to immigrants (“homeland letters”).

Early Atlases and How They Shaped the World: Examples from the Bell Library

Tracing the myriad geographical discoveries that were made between the 15th and 17th centuries, the maps in early European atlases formed powerful perceptions of the newly mapped regions of the world by publicizing the most accurate geographical information shortly after it was known to explorers and scientists. This exhibit explores that history, and the achievements of six landmark atlases in shaping human perceptions of world geography, illustrated by images from the James Ford Bell Library.

Gender Codes

This exhibit is intended as a companion to Gender Codes: Why Women Are Leaving Computing, edited by Thomas J. Misa, former director of the Charles Babbage Institute.

Memorial Stadium 1924-1992

With this interactive digital archive, the University of Minnesota honors the history of Memorial Stadium. In 2008 while watching enthusiasm grow as TCF Bank Stadium came to life an inspired group of University Libraries staff explored how the rich archival resources and the digital technology expertise of the Libraries could be channeled to capture and share the history of Memorial Stadium.

Open Heart: Intracardiac Surgery at the University of Minnesota

Open heart, or intracardiac, surgery became a research priority at the University of Minnesota in the late 1940s. Through the availability of state and national funding for medical research, increased awareness of heart disease, and an environment of collaboration and committed inquiry within the Department of Surgery, doctors at the University of Minnesota were able to perform the world’s first open heart surgery in a dry field under direct vision on September 2, 1952.

Portolan Charts

Maps called "portolan charts" recorded the accumulated experience and wisdom of generations of Mediterranean seafarers. Portolan charts were practical, no-nonsense tools made for the use of sailors who sailed "great waters."

The Making of Picture Book Illustrations: What is Preseparated Art?

The Kerlan Collection of Children's Literature contains thousands of pieces of production materials and original artwork. Collectively these materials contain the history of modern children's book publishing. Many of the pieces of artwork in the collection, particularly those created between the mid-twentieth century and the late 1980s, bear little resemblance to the art on the page of the final printed book.

The Tretter Transgender Oral History Project

The Tretter Transgender Oral History Project (TTOHP) is committed to collecting, preserving, and making available oral histories of gender transgression, broadly understood through a trans framework. This digital exhibit features interviews from Phase 1 of the project.

YMCA in America

For 150 years, the YMCA has been a pioneering force in the United States—a force so powerful that, as we begin the 21st century, it is arguably the most successful social institution this country has ever known. Above all, the YMCA movement is about people—all ages, races, religions and incomes. Forever mission-driven, Ys exist to mold the kind of people who care about each other, who are firm in their own sense of worth and that of others, who try to foster understanding and respect, who take responsibility for their own lives and help improve the lives of others.

Explore more digital exhibits