Monthly Archives: June 2021

Books Bands and History this Summer

Can reading make you happier?

Effective use of graphics. – Library of Congress collection

Text and book summaries of popular books

Bands on the Blvd are back at the Minnesota Historical Society – Tuesdays in July

For those that seek to learn about some of our important and darker past:
The Poetic Hannah Arendt

The Convict Leasing System: Slavery in its Worst Aspects


Mississippi River Blogs

Spring has sprung and the Mighty Mississippi bursts from its banks to refresh river-lovers from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico.   Follow the Friends of the Mississippi River blog ( to learn about the wonders of the river and the land through which it flows.   Several other blogs share stories of the Mississippi – one of the most fun is this blog sponsored by the National Park Service.  Check here to learn about the Mississippi River visitor center and much more about the history of the river valley.  

Interesting Finds in the Virtual World

You know the mantra – “Make new friends, but keep the old…One is silver and the other gold.”

It’s like that with life in general – good reads, thespian performances, stories of the past, even the printed – now virtual – written word.

Think about the amazing range of virtual options:

If you’re a local history buff don’t miss The Historyapolis Project (  The project was launched in 2013 in the History Department of Augsburg University, funded by a grant from state Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.  Focus on overlooked and essential history (e.g. a ground-breaking study entitled “Mapping Prejudice” topped with a host of fun facts, e.g. an underground history of the Minneapolis Riverfront, and stories of long-forgotten landmarks including The Persian Palms and the Pioneer Hotel.

Or explore the real reality of some virtual reality video samples:

Local VR with Rem5vr.

Music is available online of course, but now you can hear and see the orchestra.

Virtual theater

Sports can be virtual now too; here is another example.

This is shameless self promotion but you will get the idea.

And if real life fails to feed the mind, explore a mix  of virtual applications:

The New Yorker on crossing paths with strangers

PBS on what Thoreau going to Walden can teach us about being socially distant

Or explore the random postings of what’s happening in the World of Tumblr –

Virtual Kudos to Pulitzer Prizewinners Louise Erdrich and Natalie Diaz.

Online Tidbits

The Wandering Naturalist podcast explores the natural and cultural history of Three Rivers Park in Minneapolis and the surrounding area.  Brandon Baker, interpretive naturalist at Eastman Nature Center and wildlife biologist Angela Grill cover a new topic each month.  Listeners are invited to “wander from park to park and discuss the stories of the past, the nature of the present, and how they have shaped our parks. 

Poetry Archive – which includes the Children’s Poetry Archive, is a not-for-profit organization that produces, acquires and preserves recordings of poets reading their own work aloud.  Substantial excerpts from recording sessions freely available online.  Includes Children’s Poetry Archive, dedicated to poetry written for children and presented in a website that “is easy and fun to use.”  

E-Books Minnesota  Award-winning and/or nominated books and authors.  The curated collection contains fiction and non-fiction for children, teens and adults. 

Minnesota Digital Library Great photographs, maps, documents and more contributed to MDL by cultural heritage organizations throughout the state.  Items from historical societies, libraries, archives and cultural organizations across the state.  Curated collections range from the lumber industry in Minnesota, the state’s three major railroads, Sinclair Lewis letters, TC’s streetcars and much more. MDL is now on Instagram.

Maps – Library of CongressNearly a half-million maps of sites known and yet to be discovered by the energetic itinerant or armchair explorer of the known world!


Celebrating Pride Month

All across the country, people are celebrating L.G.B.T.Q. Pride this month. For decades, The New Yorker has taken a lead in chronicling the remarkable challenges and changes that have defined the battle for human rights for all. This week, we’re bringing you a selection of pieces about the progress of this:

  • “The Perfect Wife,” Ariel Levy profiles Edith Windsor, who fell in love with her partner and won a landmark Supreme Court case for same-sex marriage.
  • In “Larry Kramer, Public Nuisance,” Michael Specter examines the life of the playwright and activist and considers how his barbed, audacious advocacy helped transform the national conversation around AIDS.
  • In “Love on the March,” from 2012, Alex Ross reflects on the momentous efforts to advance gay rights in America.
  • In “Netherland,” Rachel Aviv reports on the lives of homeless L.G.B.T.Q. young people in New York.
  • Finally, in “Coming Out, and Rising Up, in the Fifty Years After Stonewall,” Masha Gessen contemplates the sweeping changes that have occurred since the history-making uprising, in 1969.  

Taken together, these pieces reflect the struggle, the accomplishments, and the myriad opportunities that lie ahead in legal, housing, athletics, employment, academics, the arts and myriad other aspects of American society.

Proclamation on Pride Month: