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Using SHPO Files

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has continued to operate through remote work and very limited office time. As the state implements the next phases of the Stay Safe Minnesota reopening of public facilities, the SHPO has been developing plans to fulfill researcher's needs to access paper files, and to resume digitizing inventory and site forms. In doing so, we are taking aggressive steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Organizing and digitizing Minnesota's historic inventory forms and archaeological site files began in December 2019 but was suspended in March due to COVID-19. As part of SHPO's reconstitution plan, the contractors will resume digitization of these files the week of June 15th. The contractors will also assist SHPO staff to fulfill researcher's requests for needed paper files, mainly inventory forms and site files.

SHPO anticipates initial researcher requests to be high due to the office closure since mid-March and your patience is greatly appreciated as we transition to this new process. Researchers should assemble their file needs and submit your request by following these steps:

  • Submit your request via email using DataRequestSHPO@state.mn.us. In the email subject line use either "Database Search Request" or "Paper File Request" based on the nature of your request.
  • Provide detailed information on your request using this guidance. Generally, inventory numbers, county, and city or township will be needed.
  • SHPO's Data Manager will respond with any questions regarding your request.
  • Once your request has been filled, the scanned files will be either emailed or provided through a Citrix Share file, depending on file size.

Researchers may also submit archaeological requests to the Office of the State Archaeologist using MN_OSA_ResearchRequests@state.mn.us.

We understand this situation is evolving and these plans are subject to change. We will continue to update you with any changes to this process, including when the office will reopen for researchers and visitor policies.

Notice to all of our partners and friends

Starting the week of December 9-13, 2019 and continuing to at least June 30, 2020 contractors at SHPO will be organizing and scanning our hardcopy historic inventory and archaeological site files. This is part of SHPO’s web portal effort to eventually make all of our information more readily accessible and useful. The contractors will be processing entire counties’ worth of files at a time so if you want a historic inventory or archaeological site file that’s being scanned please let Jim Krumrie (651-201-3299) or Michele Decker (651-201-3287) know and they will retrieve the documents for you as soon as possible.

Scanning Schedule

Aug. 3 - Aug. 17, 2020 Counties pending scanning
Architecture/History Carlton, Cass, Chippewa, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Cook, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dodge, Douglas, Faribault
Archaeology Koochiching, Lac Qui Parle, Lake
Counties completed with scanning
Architecture/History Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Goodhue, Kittson
Archaeology Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carlton, Cass, Chippewa, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Cook, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dodge, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Grant, Houston, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Jackson, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, Kittson

Note: The Metro counties Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington will be done last.

We apologize for any problems this may cause but like any good historic restoration project we believe the final goal will be worth any inconveniences generated along the way. For any questions regarding this scanning effort please contact Jim Krumrie (651-201-3299). Thank you!


All Standing Structures and Archaeology Inventories are housed at the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) in the Administration Building in St. Paul. SHPO files are open to the public. NOTE: The Minnesota Department of Administration (Admin) will be implementing major security upgrades throughout the Administration building. To increase safety within the building for team members and guests, new physical barriers, key card access points and security operating procedures will go-live on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.

Note: Access to some information about archaeological sites is restricted by state and federal law.

How to Arrange A Visit

With the new security system, we ask that you schedule your research times with us ahead of time. This will put you on the calendar at the front desk, and the guard can give you a visitor badge to access the SHPO office. You can schedule by emailing DataRequestSHPO@state.mn.us, or calling us at 651.201.3299. Research hours are Tuesday - Friday, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.

How to Request a File Search

Various types of cultural resource searches can be requested by e-mail. Follow SHPO's recommended guidelines and contact us with requests or questions.

How to Copy SHPO Materials

For office visits, you must make arrangements to do your own research and copying. We do not provide copying services and we recommend bringing your own USB flash drive to digitally scan the information you need. SHPO will fulfill small research requests for those who are not in the area for items we can scan and email.

Request a Database Search

Please note: research requests are answered in the order received and could take up to 30 days to complete. Please make sure you consider this as part of your project timeline. You are always welcome to search the inventory maps and records in person. SHPO is open Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 - 4 p.m.

Various types of cultural resource searches can be requested by e-mail. Results are generally e-mailed to the requestor in the form of Microsoft Word documents. Email datarequestshpo@state.mn.us with requests or questions.

Do you need information on a specific property?

When inquiring about a specific property, include:

  • Name of property, if it has a proper name (e.g. Central United Methodist Church)
  • Address (street number and street name)
  • City or Township
  • County
  • Historic inventory number, if known (e.g. HE-MPC-12345)

Note: SHPO property records contain varying amounts of detail.

Do you need to obtain new historic inventory numbers?

To perform a property survey for review you will first need to obtain an inventory number from SHPO. Please include the following information in your request:

  • Name of property, if it has a proper name (e.g. Central United Methodist Church)
  • Address (street number and street name)
  • City or Township
  • County

Other information is helpful (e.g. UTM coordinates, PIN) but not necessary at this point.

Are you a researcher looking for a customized search?

You may request customized searches by fields such as property type, architect or style. For additional fields see the database metadata for standing structures or archaeology. If you can't find what you're looking for, please contact us.

Are you an agency or preservation consultant doing work in Minnesota?

SHPO staff can perform inventory database searches at the township/range/section level. At this time we do not have the ability to automatically buffer search requests. If you require buffers for your search area, include all contiguous areas that you wish to have searched. Please format large search requests in Excel spreadsheets.

You may also request a search of the databases for some 4,000 archaeological reports and 1,000 standing structures reports. To help you determine what kind of search to request, see the appropriate reports metadata to learn what types of data are collected.

Note: Access to some information about archaeological sites is restricted by state and federal law.

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