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Hidden Collections Rock!

by Bob Beatty, AASLH on

Minnesota Historical Society
Minnesota Historical Society

The headline grabbed me instantly, “Tiny Minnesota museum’s canoe a 1,000-year-old historic find.” I absolutely love to see these stories.

Often the stories involve items discovered in collections; sometimes the finds appear in attics and between walls of buildings. In this case, it was something hiding in plain sight at the Western Hennepin County Pioneer Association Museum.

The museum had the canoe on display for 46 years, all the while believing it to date to the 18th century. Then the Maritime Heritage Minnesota came calling and researched the canoe through its Maritime History Minnesota Project. Radio carbon tests reported the canoe was almost 1,000 years old, making it the oldest in Minnesota, and offering detail on early navigation of Minnesota lakes. The full article is here.

What’s great about these stories, which I often chronicle on Twitter with the hashtag #hiddencollectionsrock is that so often they are stories about small museums.

We know (in general) the treasures that await when visiting small museums, but do we (you) know what might be in your own town or collection?

What things have you “discovered” over the years in your own institution?

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