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Hennepin History Museum maintains historical archives pertaining to the Hennepin County region including photos, maps, letters, books, blueprints, diaries, school yearbooks and postcards dating back as far as the mid-1900s.  Our photography collection includes historic realty photographs for many Hennepin County neighborhoods, along with a collection documenting the 1960s demolition of The Gateway District in downtown Minneapolis. 

A portion of our archival collection is processed with finding aids. Finding aids are documents that offer an overview of what is in each archival collection, letting you know if a collection is worth exploring further. You can see the list of Finding Aids here.

Research Library

Doing research on your own or with the assistance of our full-time archivist is offered to both members and the public alike.  Everyone wanting to do research, whether on your own or with assistance, must submit an appointment request to: 

The Research Library has one computer station available for use with free access to and Minneapolis newspapers on  A copy machine is available with a small printing fee.  Public access resources include: 

  • Card catalog for archival collections and library materials
  • Sanborn fire insurance maps
  • Clipping files
  • City directories
  • Reference books on Hennepin County
  • Maps and atlases

In order to better serve our patrons, the Hennepin History Museum partnered with Minnesota Digital Library and Hennepin County Library Digital Collections to create digitized copies of some of our collections. The original content still remains in the museum archives.

Hennepin History Museum collection hosted by Hennepin County Library Digital Collections

Hennepin History Museum collection hosted by Minnesota Digital Library

Memory Lab

As part of the Museum’s new program, Radical Roots: A New Approach to Family History, which launched in 2022, the Museum offers a variety of equipment to assist you in converting your family records and documents into digital form, including legacy equipment to digitize out-of-date formats like audio and VHS tape, and a film deck for 8mm and Super 8 film conversion to mpr4 format. A scanner to digitize photos, negatives, and slides is also available. Training and guidance will be provided.  Use of the Memory Lab is free, but reservations are required at  The Memory Lab is located just outside the Research Library.

This is part of Hennepin History Museum’s Radical Roots: New Approaches to Family History, a multi-faceted program to provide the tools, training, guidance, and inspiration to experience your own personal family stories. Learn more.

Need Further Assistance?

For researchers that require additional assistance, please contact our Museum Archivist.