Become a Member of the Hiawatha Circle

The Hiawatha Circle is Hennepin History Museum’s leadership giving group and supports the continued growth of the museum’s mission and audience. Hiawatha Circle members receive all benefits of a Patron Member, plus exclusive Hiawatha Circle member experiences, recognition, and insight into the work of the museum. To learn more about becoming a Hiawatha Circle member, please contact Seth Goodspeed, development and membership manager, at

The Hiawatha Circle recognizes individual, corporate, government, and foundation support of Hennepin History Museum at the $1,000 level and above. We thank the following supporters for their generosity.

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Hiawatha Circle Members 2020

Individual Support 

Charles & Allison BallentineBruce Bruemmer • Richard, M.D. & Darlene Carroll • Janis Clay & Elam Baer • Karen Cooper & Bruce Schneier • John Crippen & Sheila Stuhlman • William & Charlotte Davnie • Elizabeth DeBaut & David Hartwell • Rosella & James DePietro • Jacqueline R deVriesRuth DrolsumCaroline C DunnKaren FasterRobert & Sylvia FineDebbie Goettel & Tor Ove LeiknesBarbara GrahnShawn HartfeldtWilliam & Cheryl HogleKim Jeppesen & Jeff StrandSam & Sylvia KaplanMiriam & Erwin KelenCarole J LarsonJennifer Lundblad & Eric EmmetteMichael & Elizabeth MacDonaldDeane Manolis*C Robert* & Sandra MorrisRebecca PlanerJudy SchwartauCharles TestRebecca TimmNancy & Douglas VerdierEleanor & Fred WinstonGlenn & Teri WoythalerKristina Youso 

Government, Corporate, and Foundation Support

Best & Flanagan LLPBest Buy FoundationBullis Insurance Agency LLCCharles B Sweatt FoundationGHR Foundation The Minneapolis FoundationThe Nash FoundationNordic WarePohlad Family FoundationS P Andersch TrustThermo KingXcel Energy


This list acknowledges Hiawatha Level support received between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020. We do our best to ensure that all donor listings are current and correct. To update your listing, please contact us at 612-870-1329 or 


About Hiawatha the Lion

In 1876, a man named Robert Jones moved from New York to look for opportunities out west, and settled in Minneapolis. Missing the fresh fish so easily found on the east coast, he established his own fish market. To his chagrin, he soon gained the moniker “Fish” Jones.

Jones was an eccentric man, who wore a silk top hat, a Prince Albert suit, high heeled shoes that masked his short stature, and sported a pointed beard with a curled mustache. The name “Fish” rather suited him, as it was his lifelong love of animals of all kinds which led him to create Longfellow Gardens, the largest collection of exotic animals in the United States at the time. The gardens hosted a wide variety of animals; cats, bears, wolves, camels, elephants, monkeys, antelopes, porcupines, storks, cranes, flamingoes, falcons, peacocks, ostriches, parrots, and owls.

Fish Jones greatly admired the works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, modeling his home after Longfellow’s own, and even taking names for quite a few of his animals from “The Song of Hiawatha.” Notably, the names included several of his sea lions; Minnehaha, Hiawatha, Paupukeewis, Mudgekeewis, and Nokomis.

Hiawatha was the premier lion of Longfellow Gardens, and so treasured by Fish, that when the lion passed away in the late 1920s, Fish took him to a taxidermist so Hiawatha could be preserved. Hiawatha the Lion now lives in the collection at Hennepin History Museum.