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DPLA Brings National Attention to the Blue Earth County Historical Society

DPLA Brings National Attention to the Blue Earth County Historical Society
Heather Harren is the Education and Outreach Manager at the Blue Earth County Historical Society in Mankato, Minnesota. The BECHS is a contributing institution to the Minnesota Digital Library, which partners with DPLA as a Service Hub.
William and Jane Jones farm, Blue Earth County, Minnesota, ca.1888. Courtesy of the Blue Earth County Historical Society via the Minnesota Digital Library.

William and Jane Jones farm, Blue Earth County, Minnesota, ca.1888. Courtesy of the Blue Earth County Historical Society via the Minnesota Digital Library.

The Blue Earth County Historical Society (BECHS), founded in 1901, is located in Mankato, Minnesota. The content submitted by BECHS to the Minnesota Digital Library (MDL) and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is unique to this county of Minnesota. Our collection chronicles the people, places, and events that shaped Blue Earth County from our agricultural roots to the rise of our cities.  The images tell a variety of stories and showcase all walks of life across decades of time.  All of the images have been donated to BECHS by people who wanted to preserve the past for future generations.

BECHS was honored when the DPLA selected one of our images to represent MDL when it came on as a partner in April 2013. The image was of Dr. G. A. Dahl posing for a photograph at a local photography studio. The interesting aspect of this image was that there was a photographer in the image as well as Dr. Dahl. It seems Dahl was fascinated with photography as he had interior photographs taken of his home and office, in a time when photographs of living spaces were rare. These images are also a part of our collection.

Hubbard House from Broad Street with four women, Mankato, Minnesota, ca.1900. Courtesy of the Blue Earth County Historical Society via the Minnesota Digital Library.

Hubbard House from Broad Street with four women, Mankato, Minnesota, ca.1900. Courtesy of the Blue Earth County Historical Society via the Minnesota Digital Library.

Our involvement in MDL helps people across Minnesota locate our images and have access to our collection. BECHS’ involvement with the DPLA has amplified that reach. People from across the country, and the world, are able to locate our images, which gives the user a glimpse into our collection and history. Based on the analytics from our MDL webpage, the DPLA is the highest referral to our webpage for visitors.  Because the DPLA is a national resource, people can search this one site to find images from different locations and be directed back to the image’s home location. It is an excellent resource, especially for genealogists.

The Blue Earth County Historical Society is located in Mankato, Minnesota. BECHS was founded in 1901 in preparation for the semi-centennial of Mankato and Blue Earth County. In 1938, BECHS purchased the Hubbard family home and opened the first public history museum. BECHS operated from this location for 50 years before moving into our current location. The Hubbard House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and is still operated by BECHS as a living history museum. As we enter into our 113th year, BECHS has upcoming expansion plans in our current facility and will continue to collect, preserve and present the history of Blue Earth County for present and future generations.

Featured image credit: Detail from Portrait of Dr. G. A. Dahl, Mankato, Minnesota, ca.1900. Keene, George E. Courtesy of the Blue Earth County Historical Society via the Minnesota Digital Library.


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