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Wangensteen Library receives Cultural Heritage Grant

By November 7, 2022September 16th, 2023No Comments

For Immediate Release

Dozens of brightly colored boxes that contain pharmaceutical products are on a table covered by a blue-quilted cloth. Anna Shepherd's blue-gloved hand is seen pointing at a box on the table.

Dozens of artifacts from the Wangensteen collection containing pharmaceutical products. Funding from the Minnesota Historical & Cultural Heritage grant will be used to provide access to these artifacts and more. (Photo by Allison Thompson)

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (11/8/2022) — The University of Minnesota’s Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine has been awarded a Minnesota Historical & Cultural Heritage grant in the amount of $103,162.

The funding will be used to provide “Access to Historical Healthcare Artifacts” currently in the Wangensteen collections but not yet available via its online catalog.

Curator Lois Hendrickson and Assistant Curator Emily Beck, who are the co-Principal Investigators, proposed this project to catalog records, enrich descriptions, and create reference photos of 4,000 medical instruments that document the history of medical practice and experiences of health care in Minnesota from c.1850 to 1950.

“The Wangensteen Library is an outstanding, unique collection among our University of Minnesota Libraries,” says University Librarian Lisa German. “I am so glad that its rarities will be made more accessible to our scholarly community and to students at the U and beyond.”

The curatorial staff is excited about the project.

“Researching artifacts and adding complete descriptions to the records will provide greater detail for users, help identify gaps, and ensure the objects can be better utilized for exhibitions, programs, and outreach,” says Curator Lois Hendrickson. “Finally, this work allows for improved access to the collections by staff, the campus community, and other scholars.”

In addition, the funding will support the creation of 3D digital models of several high-demand, fragile, or significant artifacts, making them available as part of the WHL’s permanent digital collections. This work will involve the expertise of other Libraries staff, including Anna Opryszko, Jason Roy, and kalan Knudson Davis, as well as contractors hired for specialized research, photography, and photogrammetry work.

About the University of Minnesota Libraries

The University of Minnesota Libraries is an innovative and award-winning academic library, which serves large and diverse communities — locally and across the globe. Its primary users include 50,000 students and 2,500 faculty members on the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota — a comprehensive research university that is home to 18 schools and colleges.

The University Libraries also serves all Minnesota residents through its state-funded Minitex service and shares its resources world-wide. The Libraries consistently ranks at the top of North American research libraries for the volume of lending beyond the University. The Libraries’ impressive Archives and Special Collections department is expansive and world-renowned. Included in its 15 collection areas are the internationally recognized Kerlan Collection of Children’s Literature and the largest collection of Sherlock Holmes materials in the world.

About the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants

Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants are administered by the Minnesota Historical Society based on the recommendations of its Historic Resources Advisory Committee, a volunteer citizen panel made up of representatives of local, county and statewide historical and cultural organizations across the state.

The grants program is made possible by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008. The Legacy Amendment supports efforts to preserve Minnesota land, water and legacy, including Minnesota history and cultural heritage.

About the Minnesota Historical Society

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. The Society collects, preserves, and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, the Minnesota Historical Society preserves our past, shares our state’s stories, and connects people with history.


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