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For Educators

Teach or learn about the original Capitol builders, their jobs and their communities (1896-1907) - or the present-day restoration project!

Whether enjoying a simple pursuit of information or a deeper quest for understanding, these resources are perfect genealogists, students, teachers, and those who just love architecture and history.

Learn about the Past

Who Built Our Capitol?

A resource developed by the University of Minnesota's Labor Education Service.


The Who Build Our Capitol? website is a treasure trove of information about the original Capitol builders, their jobs and their communities. You'll learn about the people, work, community and their legacy through photographs, interviews, biographies, and other carefully-researched information.

Video Documentary

The Who Built Our Capitol video documentary reveals the untold story of the lives and work of the men and women who constructed the Minnesota State Capitol building from 1896 to 1907.

The documentary follows the producers as they uncover the names of the original builders and trace their descendants. Living family members, as well as historians and people involved in the restoration of the Capitol, are featured in the program. Former WCCO-TV anchor Don Shelby narrated the show and Julie Ayer, Susan Billmeyer, Don Chouinard and Butch Thompson recorded period music for the soundtrack.

Middle School Lesson Plans

Curriculum for middle school teachers includes five lesson plans. They meet Minnesota Social Studies Academic Standards and are complementary to the Northern Lights history textbook.

Objectives for Curriculum: Students will identify the countries or regions from which Capitol builders immigrated and reasons they came to Minnesota. Students will analyze photographs, pointing out construction site dangers and ways to make the workplace safer, investigate and identify the specific jobs involved in the building of the Capitol, and generate a list of items they would have placed in the Capitol's cornerstone.

Genealogy Resources

Who Built Our Capitol is a collection perfect for genealogists who want to dig deeper.

  • Community Walks Map - See a Google-generated map of the locations of the homes of the various workers who worked on the Capitol construction.
  • Featured Biographies - Read about individual workers for whom the research team was able to locate either a number of images, extensive biographical materials, or both.
  • Individual Stories - Over 700 names are in the Who Built Our Capitol database. Find out their occupations, ethnicity, and where they lived.

The Who Build Our Capitol website also contains information on:

Learn about the Present

Minnesota State Capitol Tour

A resource developed by the StarTribune

Interactive Module

The StarTribune has created an interactive module about the Capitol restoration. Explore the Capitol as it now stands, the Capitol under construction, and hints of what is to be. See 360-degree pictures floor by floor, maps and more. It has many pictures of the Capitol before the restoration started.

Resources on the Minnesota State Capitol Restoration Project Website

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