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Digital Reflections

Historical photos & documents online in the "Minnesota Reflections" collection of the Minnesota Digital Library 

MNCDHH is proud to present an important archive of historical photos and documents that are available online in the "Minnesota Reflections" collection (external link) of the Minnesota Digital Library (external link).

The items in our online collection were donated by the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing community. On behalf of the community, MNCDHH submitted 173 items to the Minnesota Digital Library, including:

30 from the Charles Thompson Memorial Hall (a deaf clubhouse in St. Paul that is also on the National Register of Historic Places) 
24 from the Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens 
119 from the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf Alumni Association Museum

It was a lot of work to put this collection together, but we enjoyed traveling through history and learning about the vibrant lives and celebrated accomplishments of this strong community.

We invite you to take your own journey online through this amazing collection, which is free and available to everybody who is interested in learning about the history of deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing people in Minnesota.

How to view the community collection in "Minnesota Reflections." 

To see the whole collection and choose individual items to view:

Go to the web page for the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans' community collection. 
Click on the Browse Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans button (near the top of the web page). 
Change the "Display" button (near the top of the web page) from 50 to 200 items. 
To search the items, use the search bar (near the top of the web page). Click on "Advanced Search" if you want to search in specific fields. 
To see an individual item, click on the thumbnail or title to get the full image. 
You can use the zoom bar above the image to zoom in or out of the image. 
Below the image, you can read the full description of the item. 
For documents, you can use the text tab above the image to read electronic text from that page. You can also click on "Text Search" to find words in the document. You can also click on "View Image & Text" to see the image and text side-by-side.

The Minnesota Digital Library has tip sheets to help you search the community collection and other historical items in the "Minnesota Reflections" collection: 
Minnesota Reflections User Guides web page 
Guide to Browsing & Searching 
Guide to Viewing Objects 
Guide to Using the Minnesota Newspapers Collection 
Guide to Special Features

What's in the community collection? Read the Digital Delights article. 

We found many fascinating stories as we journeyed through the collection, and we wanted to share them with you. Read our article and then click on the links to see the photos and documents which are part of those historical stories. Don't stop there - explore the collection on your own, too!

The PDF version of the Digital Delights article is available on the Minnesota Digital Library website. MNCDHH provides a text version in MS Word of the same Digital Delights article.

Have questions or information to add? 

If you have questions about items in our collection, or if you have information to add to the item descriptions, please contact MNCDHH

Background on the "Minnesota Reflections" project 

The "Minnesota Reflections" (external link) collection is a project of the Minnesota Digital Library (external link). The collection currently has over 116,000 images, maps and documents from more than 133 of the state's cultural heritage organizations. This site offers resources on Minnesota's history and geography for researchers, educators, students, and the public.

Our collection in "Minnesota Reflections" consists of items contributed by deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing community members in order to preserve their unique heritage and make it available for sharing. The collection includes photos and other historical information contributed by the Charles Thompson Memorial Hall (external link), the Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens, and the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf Alumni Association Museum.

Our collection was supported by a grant from the Minnesota Digital Library. Current funding for "Minnesota Reflections" comes from the Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the state's constitution.

Acknowledgements and credits 

Special thanks go to:

Marian Rengel, Minnesota Digital Library Outreach Coordinator, for her steadfast support of this very special project. We couldn't have completed it without her expert assistance! 
The trustees of the Charles Thompson Memorial Hall, the board members of the Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens, and the keepers of the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf Alumni Association Museum for their generous donations of these valuable historical items. 
Doug Bahl and Cynthia Weitzel for selecting the items to be included in our collection and bringing them to be scanned at the University of Minnesota. 
Doug Bahl for providing the historical details for the item descriptions, and Teika Pakalns for writing and compiling the metadata that was submitted to the Minnesota Digital Library.

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