MN History Center

345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102

*Please be advised that April and May are very busy months with school groups before 2 p.m.


Tuesday: 10 am-8 pm 
Wednesday: 10 am-5 pm
Thursday: 10 am-5 pm
Friday: 10 am-5 pm
Saturday: 10 am-5 pm
Sunday: Noon-5 pm
Monday: Closed

Open Monday holidays year round, 10 am-5 pm
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Tuesday: 9 am-8 pm
Wednesday: 9 am-4 pm
Thursday: 9 am-4 pm
Friday: 9 am-4 pm
Saturday: 9 am-4 pm
Sunday: Closed
Monday: Closed

Library Holiday Hours

Free admission



2018 May 17


Minnesota and the Civil War

On view March 2–Sept. 8, 2013
The intense divide between North and South in the 1850s—an explosive mixture of politics, beliefs, and economics—turned to war in 1861. 
From a new state flush with patriotism, Minnesotans were the first in the Union to respond to the call. Romantic notions of battle quickly fled, even as perseverance in the face of unforeseen carnage sparked an enduring legacy. In family and friendship circles at home and on the battlefield, people mourned, made sacrifices and weighed every possibility and outcome. Minnesotans’ lives were changed forever.
I am sick of reading in the papers of “the glory” of war....Is there glory in the shrieks of men torn by bullet or shell? Is there glory in the cry of the mother as she sees her child’s head swept off by a cannonball? Is there glory in the weeping of widows and orphans? Is there glory in the burning cities and the desolated homes that War leaves behind him? Is there glory in the undying hatreds that war creates and nourishes?...Let these newspaper men come down here and see for themselves war in its terrible reality.
-William Christie, First Battery Minnesota Light Artillery, writing to to his father from Vicksburg, August 6, 1863.
The Civil War divided the United States in two, left more than 750,000 dead and resulted in the release of four million people from bondage. Explore the role of Minnesota's men and women on the battlefield and the home front in an exhibit that draws heavily on Minnesota Historical Society collections. Through artifacts as well as firsthand accounts drawn from letters, diaries, memoirs and reminiscences, learn about the everyday lives and the often extraordinary witness of individual Minnesotans during the war.

Learn more about Minnesota and the Civil War

Programs and Resources: Find out more about Minnesota’s role in the war; explore our collections of objects, books, letters, photographs and art; follow Minnesotans as they tweet about their experiences during the Civil War in real-time, 150 years later; read The Civil War Daybook; watch videos and more. 

Collections: Explore the Minnesota Historical Society's Civil War-related collections through this rich online resource.

Made possible by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008.

Civil War hardtack, 1861-1864. James Madison Bowler and Elizabeth Bowler, about 1862. Baby carriage, about 1860. Drum presented to Peter Hoffman who mustered into the 1st Minnesota on 5/31/1861 David, Thomas and Alexander Christie, October 1880. Col. William Colvill’s sword and scabbard made in 1850 by Ames Manufacturing Co. Frances Clayton, about 1864. Courtesy Library of Congress. Charles Goddard, 1861. 28th Virginia Regiment battle flag. Pvt. Aaron Greenwald, 1862. Confederate percussion rifle made between 1850-1860 by Henry E. Leman of Lancast Gov. Alexander Ramsey, 1860. Star patterned quilt made by Emilina Bistodeau, 1864. “Battle of Gettysburg” oil painting by Rufus Fairchild Zogbaum. Albert Woolson, last surviving Union veteran in the country, about 1950. Canteen used by Matthew Marvin of the First Minnesota, 1861-1865.