×The Research Center at the Nicollet County Historical Society is currently closed to the public. Research can be conducted virtually. For assistance, please contact the Research Coordinator at research@nchsmn.org or 507-934-2160.

Examples of materials we collect (with some exceptions):

  • Objects that were created, designed, or used by Nicollet County individuals, families, organizations, and businesses, such as:
    • Clothing, uniforms, and textiles (the earlier the better, if in good condition)
    • Promotional give-aways, advertising, and signage
    • Artifacts relating to service in the military
  • Archival papers, such as personal correspondence and journals/diaries, especially when the author is writing about historical events, such as military experiences, or describing aspects of life in Nicollet County
  • Photographs (when the locale and/or individuals are identified)
  • Genealogies/family histories
  • Organizational, business, and faith community records, including:
    • Bylaws and constitutions
    • Membership lists/rosters
    • Newsletters and programs
    • Meeting agendas and minutes
    • Correspondence
  • Directories & phone books, especially if early
  • Indentures (land deeds, mortgages, etc.)
  • Maps, plans, drawings (including architectural and technical drawings)
  • Scrapbooks
  • Personal identification documents like old passports and driver’s licenses (case-by-case basis)
  • Audio/video recordings of events in Nicollet County and oral histories of county residents

Wedding dress of Harriet Dodd, c.1854.

We tend to not accept (with some exceptions):

  • Material created or used outside of Nicollet County
  • Poor quality photographs and photos with no identification
  • More than two (2) copies of any given item
  • Duplicates of material where the original exists
  • Routine financial records (bank books, cancelled checks, receipts, etc.), unless early
  • Newspaper clippings (unless they are from a rare paper or are part of a larger scrapbook)
  • Religious texts
  • Travel documents, such as airline tickets, brochures, or museum guides
  • Unused items, such as blank notebooks, exercise books, and ledger books
  • Plaques and other mounted items (unless unusually significant)
  • Published books, unless directly relevant to the history of Nicollet County or the State of Minnesota
Five Governors from St. Peter, MN post card

Five Governors from St. Peter, MN post card

What factors impact the acceptance of materials?

All materials must have a meaningful connection to Nicollet County. Other factors include the condition of the materials, due to concerns about our ability to properly care for the item(s) and danger posed by mold or infestation; size of the item or quantity of documents due to storage space limitations; and similarity to materials already in the collection.

Are all donations accepted?

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept everything submitted. The Collections Committee is tasked with carefully assessing offered items to ensure that our collections help tell the history of Nicollet County while also being the best steward of our limited resources.

Can I give you copies instead of the originals?

Archives collect original records; however, in certain cases NCHS may accept copies or scans.

Yearbooks

Yearbooks

What happens to my donation?

Archival records are re-housed in acid free materials, placed in storage, cataloged, and made available to researchers, unless restrictions have been applied. Artifacts are carefully stored and may be displayed in exhibits.

Will my items be put on exhibit?

NCHS mounts exhibits in which archival material and artifacts are often included, but we are unable to guarantee that your donated items will be placed on display.

Can I lend my historical materials, or can my heirs get things back once they are donated?

Materials are not accepted on long-term loan, nor can agreements be made to return deeded materials to heirs. The Deed of Gift, signed by every donor, transfers to the Nicollet County Historical Society (NCHS) ownership of the materials. NCHS accepts responsibility for preserving each donation for generations to come.

Is my donation tax deductible?

The Nicollet County Historical Society is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by the law. Please consult your tax advisor regarding specific questions about your deductions. NCHS staff cannot appraise materials for tax purposes.

Can I bequeath materials to the Society?

Yes. Please contact our research coordinator at 507-934-2160 or research@nchsmn.org and let them know of the planned bequest, along with as much information as possible about the items you wish to donate. Make sure it is clear in your Will that you have bequeathed the material to NCHS. Please note, bequests must meet collections requirements at the time of the donation. Please consult your legal advisor regarding specific questions about bequests.

Other questions?

Contact the Research Coordinator at 507-934-2160 or research@nchsmn.org.

Artifact storage room

Artifact storage room.

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