NHS will open our normal hours on Friday November 28, but check out the upcoming deals in the Museum Store!
Come into the Museum store and this Friday (11/28) and receive member discounts! Non-Members receive 10% off ALL merchandise!
Current members receive 15% off all merchandise!
BLACK FRIDAY ONLY! Become a member of the Northfield Historical Society* and receive 50% THREE Items in the Store and 15% off the rest of your purchases!
*Must sign up at the Family Membership level ($50)
SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY!
All members receive 50% off ONE item in the Museum Store! All your other purchases you will receive at your current membership discount! Not a member of the Northfield Historical Society? Sign up and receive your discounts at the checkout!
CYBER MONDAY SALE!
10% off site wide! Discounts good online only!!!
Enter the code HISTORY ROCKS to get the discounts.
This month the Northfield Historical Society added to its collection via long term loan one of the most important known artifacts from the 1876 robbery attempt by the James-Younger Gang: the rifle that Henry Wheeler used to defend the First National Bank of Northfield. The weapon — a .50 caliber Smith carbine — is on loan from its anonymous new owner and will be on display in the museum in the coming months.
“We have so many artifacts from the James-Younger Gang members, but little that represents the town’s defense of the failed 1876 raid,” says Hayes Scriven, NHS executive director. “Our being able to display this rifle with its rich backstory is remarkable.”
“As a young college student Henry Wheeler put his life on the line to help prevent a bank robbery that would have devastated Northfield residents,” adds the owner. “I’m glad to be able to help keep his legacy alive.”
NHS first learned about the Wheeler collection in 2012 when Dr. James Bailey, a forensic scientist who conducted a study of the skeleton in the NHS collection, was researching the Smith carbine and Henry Wheeler. Earlier this year Scriven made an unsuccessful bid to get a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society that would allow NHS to purchase the rifle. Scriven then reached out to a mutual friend of the new owner and “the rest is history,” quips Scriven.
The current owner purchased the weapon with the intention of letting NHS put it on long-term display. NHS is currently evaluating its exhibit on the failed 1876 raid. “It’s a quality exhibit, but we could make better use of our space,” says Scriven. “In addition, new raid facts and artifacts have emerged over the past few years, and we want to better highlight local responses to the failed raid — something the current exhibit does not do well.”
The Wheeler collection will be the “crown jewel” in the new exhibit that should open sometime next summer. Along with the rifle, visitors will see the Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver that Wheeler carried after the family of Clell Miller threatened his life because Wheeler had shot and killed Miller during the raid. A gold pocket watch the First National Bank presented to Wheeler for his efforts in defending the bank also is on display, along with a recently discovered photo of Wheeler during his time as a student at Carleton College.
The Northfield Historical Society is looking for your help to meet its fundraising goals on Give to the Max Day 2014. This year, the historical society has secured $2,000 in matching funds! By making a donation on November 13, you can help us meet this match and end our 2014 fundraising on a high note.
We are also participating in the Northfield Gives at the Grand event from 5:00 -9:00 p.m. at the Grand Event Center. Come by and give us your donation and be entered to win a gift basket from Northfield Olive Oils and Vinegars.
Donations can be made through the GiveMN.org portal, the NHS website, by calling the Historical Society, by stopping by the Historical Society or at the Grand Event Center between 5:00-9:00 p.m. on the 13th to make your donation in person. Unable to participate on November 13th, no problem! Donations can be scheduled through the GiveMN.org website to go through on Give to the Max Day or you can send in a donation to the Historical Society ahead of time.
Dave Silvester will be presenting on the book, Minnesota’s Own: Preserving our Grand Homes, he will speak at the Northfield Historical Society on Thursday, October 30 at 6:30 PM about this new book he will show us pictures of some of Minnesota’s beautiful homes from around the state and tell us stories about their construction, original owners and restorations. This program is cosponsored by the Northfield Historical Society and the Friends and Foundation of the Northfield Public Library.
Northfield Historical Society has decided that the next presentation of its popular Cemetery Stories series will be delayed until sometime in 2015. The NHS board of directors has cited a variety of reasons for the decision, including a shortened organizing period this year due to the timing of the next full moon plus a shrinking volunteer base.
“We love the way our Cemetery Stories program presents history to people of all ages and we want to provide a quality experience for all involved,” says Hayes Scriven, NHS executive director. “But we’re just not in a position to do that this year.”
After running the program in much the same way for nine years, Scriven also wants to comprehensively review it and look for ways to enhance the presentation. “When the event happens next year it will be a better and different experience that will expose history to a wide variety of people,” he says.
In the meantime, the society plans to make videos from previous Cemetery Stories — available for free online here.
2011 Cemetery Stories
2010 Cemetery Stories
This Sunday will mark the 138 anniversary of the failed bank raid by the James-Younger Gang. The gang rode into Northfield intent on robbing the First National Bank of Northfield. It was just a bit before 2:00 p.m. when three of the raiders entered the bank. It only lasted seven minutes but those seven minutes have stayed with Northfield forever.
This week Northfield celebrates the Defeat of Jesse James Days (DJJD). The celebration is for the towns people that defeated the James-Younger Gang. People like, J.S. Allen, Henry Wheeler, Elias Stacy, A.R. Manning, Frank Wilcox, Alonzo Bunker and of course Joseph Lee Heywood. It was because of the bravery of these men the gang was defeated and Heywood paid the ultimate price. He refused to open the vault for the gang even after multiple beatings and was killed for protecting Northfield’s future.
It is the extraordinary courage of these ordinary men that we honor this week. DJJD starts tomorrow (September 3th) with a graveside memorial for Joseph Lee Heywood and the other heroes of September 7 in the Northfield Cemetery at noon. It is a great way to start off a fun-filled weekend as it really helps put things in perspective.