University History Projects
Until further notice, the University of Minnesota Libraries Archives and Special Collections are open by appointment only and appointments are limited to UMN affiliates. Appointments must be made one week in advance of your visit to enable us to page and quarantine collection materials before use.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance or, if known, the curator of the collecting area you wish to use. We will continue to provide scans of requested research materials whenever possible, especially for our non-campus clientele.
The Academic Health Center History Project documents and preserves the institutional memory and historical events that chronicle the establishment of health sciences education and research at the University of Minnesota through the development of the six schools and colleges of medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, public health, and veterinary medicine, and interdisciplinary centers.
The University of Minnesota's Academic Health Center Oral History Project preserves the personal stories of key individuals who were involved with the formation of the university's Academic Health Center, served in leadership roles, or have specific insights into the institution's history. By bringing together a representative group of figures in the history of the University of Minnesota's AHC, this project provides compelling documentation of recent developments in the history of American health care education, practice, and policy.
The University Archives selects, preserves, and provides long-term access to historically valuable documentation of the University, no matter what its format. Web pages can be an excellent source of historical information precisely because they are ephemeral. Websites are "of the minute" – they provide concise snapshots of institutional priorities, evidentiary information, and organizational identity as expressed through graphics, logos, links and text.
Explore campus through time using an interactive application that includes maps, aerial images, building photographs, and data layers.
In March of 1872, the Minnesota Legislature enacted a bill establishing the Minnesota Geological and Natural History Survey. The project provides digital access to three major collections that contain unique photographs, slides, notebooks, correspondence, and departmental records that document Minnesota’s natural history from the 1870s to the early 20th century.
Occasional posts related to University history provided by the staff of the University of Minnesota Archives.
The University Archives' agricultural collections date from 1871 to the present and document the development of Minnesota's agricultural extension and experiment stations, and the University's campuses, colleges, and departments where generations of Minnesotans were educated in plant pathology, home economics, beekeeping, forestry, agronomy, horticulture, plant genetics, veterinary medicine, entomology, animal husbandry, food science, and more.
In an unprecedented effort, University of Minnesota faculty, students, staff, and alumni banded together to raise almost $2 million in the 1920s to build "greatly needed structures" taking the form of "two inspiring memorials" – Northrop Auditorium honoring President Cyrus Northrop and Memorial Stadium paying tribute to the men and women of Minnesota "who fearlessly sacrificed themselves in the great war."
The roots of the Green Revolution are part of a tradition of agricultural research, teaching and outreach at the University of Minnesota from 1871 through the present. This legacy is documented in the rich historical collections of the University Archives. Support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund made it possible to digitize over 58 cubic feet of unique archival material, including photographs, letters, field notebooks, and administrative records.
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.
The collection, which begins in the 1930’s when WAM was first known as the University Gallery and guided by director, Ruth Lawrence, also covers the restructuring and adjustment to the title of University Art Museum, and additionally records the planning and correspondence related to the museum’s move from a few rooms in Northrop Auditorium, to the internationally known Frank Gehry designed Weisman, under the leadership of current director Lyndel King, in the 1990’s.