Clicking on the Web: Black Friday at state history center

Two of my best friends are Megan Lawson and Jessica Kohen of the Minnesota Historical Society.

Howard Lestrud
Howard Lestrud

It’s their job, and they do it well in supplying news releases about upcoming activities sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society and the Minnesota History Center.

Megan and Jessica have done a superb job of helping promote some of the History Center’s upcoming events.

Both are involved in media relations.

Also making Minnesota Historical Society events a success are: Joanna Danks, community relations manager; Julianna Olsen, legacy amendment communications manager and Lory Sutton, chief marketing officer.

One of the events they promote will tie in with the retail promotional event, Black Friday.

Many retail stores open, either Thursday night, Thanksgiving, or early on Friday, Nov. 23, hence the name Black Friday.

These retail promotions nationwide have helped spark retail sales because of their low prices.

The low prices can only be obtained, however, if you are willing to get up early in the morning, or willing to stay up late the night before.

This Black Friday the Minnesota History Center opens at 6 a.m. with deals and doorbusters that would make Paul Bunyan proud.

Early birds will be wowed with free gifts, donuts and coffee, memberships and more – plus free admission from 6 to 9 a.m. to the opening of “Then Now Wow,” the largest Minnesota history exhibit ever.

Visit for details on all the family fun.

The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul.

Here’s what’s free if you show up at 6 a.m. on Black Friday at the Minnesota History Center:

• Free admission and parking, 6 to 9 a.m.

• Free gift bags with more chances to win

• Free limited edition knit caps to the first 200 kids

• Free donuts and coffee, while supplies last

• Free memberships to the first 50 families

• Doorbuster 25 percent gift shop discount

• Live music

The Minnesota History Center’s exhibit, “Then Now Wow,” opens at 6 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 23.

Kid-tested and parent-approved, “Then Now Wow” is 14,000 square feet of Minnesota history that kids of all ages can touch, step in, climb on and talk about…in their outdoor voices, if they’d like.

To learn more about this new exhibit, go to

Read this on the Then Now Wow website:

Explore Minnesota’s history in the prairies, forests and cities, interacting with the people and animals who have made their homes here.

On your journey, you will:

• Ride a Twin Cities streetcar and peek out the windows as different times and places go by.

• Descend underground into an Iron Range mine and drill the ore.

• Sit in a modern tipi and learn about Dakota history and culture through Bobby Wilson’s poetry and visual art.

• Visit a pioneer family and imagine what life was like in an 1870s sod house.

• Hitch a ride on a Soo Line boxcar through Southwestern Minnesota and learn about the history of the area through original music by Charlie Parr.

• Learn about the fur trade from the perspective of its main commodity, the beaver.

• See the emergency exit door from the school bus involved in the I-35W bridge collapse signed by all the children and adults aboard the bus.

• Encounter more artifacts and images unique to Minnesota’s diverse people and historic events.

While designed for school-aged children, this exhibit is perfect for everyone who wants to learn more about Minnesota!

Looking ahead to other Minnesota History Center exhibits, be sure and mark the date, March 2, 2013 as the opening of the exhibit, Minnesota and the Civil War.

The Minnesota Historical Society extends an invitation: “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 during the Civil War 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.

“The Civil War holds a pivotal place in the history of the United States.

“Citizens of the new state of Minnesota were a major part of the national story, from being the first state to offer troops through their dramatic role at Gettysburg to Appomattox and beyond.

“To commemorate the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of these events, the Minnesota Historical Society is offering a broad range of programs, publications and online content from now through 2015.

“Minnesota, as the free-state home of Dred Scott, played a critical role in one of the national events that led to the Civil War.

“Before the war, Minnesota had been the temporary home of Dred Scott, a slave at Fort Snelling.

“This detail factored prominently in a landmark Supreme Court decision that would portend the eventual conflict.

“Minnesota, admitted as a free state in 1858, helped to elect Abraham Lincoln, who won the state’s electoral votes in 1860 and again in 1864 with the help of many, including St. Cloud newspaper publisher and abolitionist Jane Gray Swisshelm.”

Our ECM Publishers founder, Elmer L. Andersen, was a big supporter of the Minnesota Historical Society and always urging the public to use this outstanding repository of historical information. Hope you visit soon.

Editor’s note: Howard Lestrud is ECM online managing editor.