MHS Scorecard

Minnesota Historical Society Scorecard
January 1, 2017
Updated on May 29, 2017

Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) produces more products related to the 1862 Dakota War than any other organization or individual. Below are counts of incorrect, unbalanced and disrespectful statements in MHS products. The detailed reviews can be found elsewhere on this blog.

My Reviews

In my reviews, I call a statement incorrect if:

  • The statement is wrong
  • The statement is incomplete
  • The statement cannot be proven
  • The statement does not apply to all members of the group

I call a statement unbalanced if:

  • The statement gives information about one group while corresponding information is not given for other groups involved.
  • The statement gives only one side of an issue.

I call a statement disrespectful if:

  • The statement criticizes people without showing proof.

Counts of Incorrect, Unbalanced and Disrespectful Statements in MHS Products

Product Reviewed Incorrect Unbalanced Disrespectful
Books        
Northern Lights, 2nd Edition Jan 2012      72          11            7
Northern Lights, Rev. 2nd Ed. Jun 2014      117          14          11
Fort Snelling at Bdote (1) Feb 2017      76          23          10
Essays        
“Great Treasure…” (2) May 2013      21          1            0
“Survival…1863-1866” (3) May 2013      53          6            2
“Historic Fort Snelling” (4) Jul 2016      49          12            0
Exhibits        
U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 Jul 2012      43          4            4
Then, Now, Wow Apr 2013      48          15            8
Lower Sioux Agency Mar 2016      84          7            9
“Fort Ridgely” at Fort Ridgely (5) Jun 2016      35          2          10
Fort Ridgely Commissary Jun 2016      36          1            8
Lac qui Parle Mission Sep 2016      34          0            5
Signs        
Fort Snelling Trail Sep 2011      13          4            0
Traverse des Sioux Trail Jan 2013      35          2            5
Birch Coulee Trail Apr 2013      30          2            2
Fort Snelling – More Signs Jun 2013      19          0            2
Acton Incident May 2017      24          0            2
Fort Ridgely Site May 2017        6          0            3
Wood Lake Battle May 2017        6          0            3
Fort Ridgely Trail Oct 2014      61          5            3
Speeches
War within War: Lincoln… (6) Jul 2013      22          3            5
Audio/Video        
Internment Camp Jul 2013        8          1            0
Minnesota River Valley Tour Jan 2014    170          45            4
Fort Ridgely Intro May 2017      27          0            5
Lower Sioux Agency Intro Mar 2016      54          14            1
Websites        
Minnesota Territory Jun 2013      34          7            4
MN150 Wiki Jun 2013      37          13            2
U.S.-Dakota War FAQ Jan 2014      44          25            0
U.S. – Dakota War Jan 2014      353          87            9
Fort Snelling Jan 2015      54          8            3
Online Classroom Feb 2015      22          2            3
Fort Ridgely Information Aug 2015      54          2            6
Totals    1741        316          136

Notes:

  1. This book was written and published by Minnesota Historical Society
  2. “Great Treasure of the Fort Snelling Prison Camp,” Minnesota History Magazine, Spring 2010
  3. “Survival at Crow Creek, 1863-1866,” Minnesota History Magazine, Winter 2008-2009
  4. St. Paul Pioneer Press insert, June 24, 2016.
  5. This exhibit is on display in the Fort Ridgely Commissary.
  6. Hosted by Minnesota Historical Society

My Observations:

  • Some of these products have been removed or changed since my review.
  • This history is complicated. MHS permits inexperienced researchers and writers do some of their exhibits. This is evident in the 2 exhibits added this year at Fort Ridgely.
  • Unknowledgeable people are interviewed and statements from their interviews are used without editing.
  • Almost all of the Unbalanced Statements lack corresponding information about the Whites.
  • Almost all of the Disrespectful Statements are made about the Whites. MHS should not criticize anyone unless they have solid proof.
  • MHS uses an Indian Advisory Panel to review their Dakota War products. MHS does not have a corresponding White Advisory Panel.
  • MHS has at least 4 departments that do their own interpretation of this history. They appear to act independently of each other.

Why is this happening?

  • The only explanation I have ever received from MHS was in 2012. It was said that there had been 150 years of “White history”; now it was time to tell the “Dakota side.”

My Opinions:

  • MHS needs to recognize they have a problem.
  • MHS needs to raise their standards and start producing “good history.”
  • MHS needs to provide equal representation for all of the ethnic groups in Minnesota.
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