Edina Historical Society Brings the City’s Past to Life

by | Sep 2020

An historical photo of Southdale Mall from overhead.

As a 501-c nonprofit, EHS relies heavily on public and member support. Photos: Edina Historical Society

Edina Historical Society celebrates 51 years of storytelling and community preservation.

Established in 1969 as a way to collect and preserve community historical items, the Edina Historical Society (EHS) works to bring citizens together through storytelling.

Once a small mill town on Minnehaha creek, Edina flourished into a large central suburb. Southdale Mall, the first indoor shopping center, may have truly put Edina on the map in 1956. Beyond commercial advancements, Edina is also home to a rich agricultural past and is well-known for high quality residential developments and education.

In its 51st year of operation, EHS operates a museum and two living history programs. In an effort to make history more intriguing, board member Bob Moore says the organization works to captivate visitors (both new and reoccurring) through interactive experiences and visually appealing exhibits for all age groups.

The museum at Arneson Acres park is home to over 20,000 items (approximately 13,000 photos, 5,000 artifacts and 2,000 documents) which are displayed in a rotation between two galleries and a research library.

Edina Historical Society

Located on the other side of Edina are the two living history programs in Frank Tupa Park: Cahill School and Minnehaha Grange Hall. In conjunction with one another, these buildings are some of Edina’s oldest standing buildings and are frequently visited by thousands each year.

To bring the city’s pioneer past to life, the living history programs are comprised of interpreters from the 1888 Time Capsule program, an organization that combines authentic experience with Minnesota Education Standards-based lessons to retell the state’s history. Together these people work to create a realistic experience through basic lessons, storytelling, games and acting in the setting of the original 1864 schoolhouse.

Upcoming Events

Thank You for Shopping with author Kristal Leebrick
October 8, 2020 from 7-8:30 p.m.

For years department stores dominated the consumer industry. At this event, visitors will take a look at how megastores like Dayton’s, Donaldson’s and Young-Quinlan redefined the way we shopped and socialized.

100 years of Christmas at Dayton’s with historian James Negabour
December 4, 2020 from 7-8:30 p.m.
December 5, 2020 from 4-6:30 p.m.
Location: EHS Terrace Room

Come holiday season Dayton’s, the iconic department store, made magic through window displays, unique gifts, store promotions and Santa Land. This event will take a behind-the-scenes look at how Dayton’s became synonymous to Christmas shopping.

Edina Historical Society
4711 W. 70th St.; 612.928.4577;
Facebook: Edina Historical Society
Twitter: @edinahistory

Frank Tupa Park
4918 Eden Ave.; 612.928.4577


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