The Minnesota Historical Society has awarded a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant to the Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) at the University of Minnesota. The project titled Minnesota's Immigrant Life Writings will identify unpublished Minnesota collections with an emphasis on letters, diaries, memoirs and oral histories in languages other than English and create an online directory that will help to make them more accessible to scholarly and community researchers.
Partnering with numerous smaller historical and ethnic societies that operate libraries, museums and historic houses around Minnesota, IHRC seeks to involve the local repositories in an emerging international collaboration that aims to identify and digitize letters written by and to North American immigrants, and currently housed in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere in North America. Plans are underway for U of M graduate students with language skills in Finnish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Polish, Slovenian and Croatian to begin work with curators and archivists around Minnesota. Additional language specialists will be consulted as needed. The preliminary survey is expected to be completed in Fall 2010.
This project has been made possible in part by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund created through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008 with passage of the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution. These grants seek to preserve and enhance access to Minnesota's cultural and historical resources and to support projects of enduring value for the cause of history and historic preservation statewide. They are available in two categories (history projects and historic preservation projects) and at three levels: small (up to $7000), mid-size (< $50,000), and large (> $50,000). The fund is administered by the Minnesota Historical Society. For more information, including application deadlines, visit http://www.mnhs.org/legacy/grants/.