About MNopedia

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Welcome | Funding | Mission | Timeline | Content | Technology | Credits | Acknowledgments |


Welcome to MNopedia (min-ō-ˈpē-dē-ə | min-oh-PEE-dee-uh), an online encyclopedia about Minnesota developed by the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) and its partners. It is a free, curated, and authoritative resource about our state. All of our articles are prepared by historians, consulting experts, professional writers, and others who have been vetted by MNHS.

If you'd like to learn about the details of how MNopedia articles are published and shared, you can refer to our editorial policy, writers' guidelines, and citation formatting guide.

For more general background information, listen to a radio story about MNopedia from KFAI and the Ampers network.


Who funds MNopedia? Minnesotans! MNopedia is made possible by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008. Learn more about MNHS and the Legacy Amendment.


MNopedia's mission is simple: to share current, reliable and relevant information about significant people, places, events, and things in Minnesota history. To accomplish this mission we:

• Collaborate with a variety of expert contributors.
• Align our content with state education standards.
• Enliven our entries with images, audio, and video.
• Maintain a user-friendly Web site.
• Take advantage of the latest tools and technologies.
• Continue to add new entries and resources.


Phase One: Planning. In 2010, the Minnesota Historical Society met with potential users and contributors to hear their ideas about MNopedia. We consulted with national technology experts and evaluated similar Web resources. Then, we created a detailed work plan and took action.

Phase Two: Building. In 2011, we built MNopedia. It features content from the Minnesota Historical Society and leading Minnesota historians. It is designed so its content can be easily moved, updated, and shared.

Phase Three: Testing—Ongoing. Having completed an initial round of testing, we continue to test and refine this unique resource based on feedback from our users.

Phase Four: Expanding. This is where we are now. We'll continue building on what we've learned from users to expand MNopedia. We'll add new features and consider new ways to deliver content. We'll also explore content partnerships with other organizations, find more experts to contribute, and integrate new articles.


Each article in MNopedia is a curated package of information that introduces a subject and points to valuable related material. Packages are composed of:

Narrative text explaining why a subject is significant.
Related media featuring images, audio and video.
Related articles linking to more MNopedia content.
A turning point/overview summarizing the narrative text.
Chronology points noting important dates in the text.
A bibliography citing sources used to create the text.
Related resources listing additional credible sources.

Our content covers a variety of eras:

Before European Contact: Pre–1585
Colonization and Settlement: 1585–1763
Revolution and a New Nation: 1754–1800
Expansion and Reform: 1792–1861
Civil War and Reconstruction: 1850–1877
Development of an Industrial United States: 1870–1920
Great Depression and World War II: 1920–1945
Post World War II United States: 1945–1989
The United States in a New Global Age: 1980–Present

*MNopedia eras are aligned with the 2011 Minnesota K–12 Academic Standards in Social Studies.

African Americans
American Indians
The Arts
Business and Industry
Cities and Towns
Health and Medicine
Religion and Belief
Sports and Recreation
War and Conflict



The Minnesota Historical Society has chosen to put MNopedia content into a flexible, standards-based database equipped with an API—Application Programming Interface. That means that MNopedia can talk to other applications and our content can be used in mobile apps, audience- or situation-specific products, as a component in other Web projects, in print publications, and more, whether these products are created by the Minnesota Historical Society or by others. Here are some of the essential building blocks behind MNopedia:

Database: MySQL
Metadata Standard: Dublin Core, specifically DCTERMS
Web Framework and Search: Drupal (Version 7)
Plugins/Modules: Biblio, Views OAI-PMH, and Workbench
Geotagging: Addresses and lat/long coordinates, when available
API: Queryable OAI-PMH feed


Initial Staff and Internal Project Advisors
Molly Huber, Content Developer; Editor and Project Manager
Ryan Cartwright, Content Developer
Erica Hartmann-Skinner, Editor
Matt Hill, Project Manager, Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund
Suzi Gran, Curriculum Specialist
Jennifer Jones, Director, Library and Collections
Marj Kelly, Senior Web Developer
Pamela McClanahan, Director, Minnesota Historical Society Press
Mary Poggione, Sales and Marketing Manager, Minnesota Historical Society Press
Kate Roberts, Senior Exhibit Developer
Adam Scher, Senior Curator
Rose Sherman, Director, Enterprise Technology and Business Development
Jennifer Sly, Museum Education and Technology Specialist

Initial External Project Advisors and Consultants
James Halabuk, Digital History Associate, Center for History and New Media
Jaime Haire, Archivist and Metadata Specialist
Diane Herman, Consultant, Cincinnatus
Ron Jerome, Drupal Programmer/Analyst
Sharon Leon, Director, Public Projects, Center for History and New Media
Josh Welsh, Consultant, Frederickson Communications
John Wooden, Director, Usability Services, Frederickson Communications
Liam Wyatt, Cultural Partnerships Fellow, Wikimedia Foundation

MNopedia gives special thanks to the Internet Digital Encyclopedia Alliance, Minnesota history scholars, Minnesota Wikipedia editors, county and local history professionals, History Day and Northern Lights instructors, and other Minnesota Historical Society staff members who have provided support for this project.


MNopedia also wishes to thank the following for their support in helping us to fulfill our mission:

• Our many authors
• John and Stephanie Rupp
• Joan Mathison, Adventures with a Locavore, LLC