Personal Histories

The museum has a growing collection of personal histories about Minnesota veterans and their military service.  These histories can take different forms:

Minnesota Veterans Registry

The Minnesota Veterans Registry provides a new avenue for documenting personal histories. This is an online database containing information about individual Minnesota veterans.  The database is searchable by the public and anyone can add to it. It's the easiest way for you to permanently document basic information about a veteran's service and to make it widely available.  Learn more

Written History

Written histories are usually more comprehensive than those found in the Registry.  A veteran or family member provides the museum with a written account of the veteran’s military service—a summary, a more detailed account of one or more specific incidents, or both. Ideally, they are accompanied by photographs and supporting documents.

Veterans or family members are strongly encouraged to write about their military experiences and to send a copy to the museum.  You can fill out a form (click here) or use it as a guide to write your account.  If accompanied by good, high resolution photographs and copies of official documents (enlistment papers, orders, discharge, etc.), all the better!  You can submit hard copies to the museum by postal mail, addressed to the archivist, Ryan Welle, or as attachments to an email to him at rwelle@mnmilitarymuseum.org

Oral History

In an oral history, an interviewer from the museum meets with the veteran face-to-face and the exchange is recorded in audio or video format.  Most such recordings are eventually transcribed (typed word-for-word) and become part of the archives.  If you are interested in oral history and might like to be interviewed about your military service, or might like to get involved with the project as an interviewer or transcriber, please contact the archivist, Ryan Welle, at rwelle@mnmilitarymuseum.org or 320-616-6050.

Memoirs 

These are autobiographical books, often self-published, that include an extensive re-telling of the veteran’s military experiences.  If you have written a memoir, please send a copy to the Minnesota Military Museum Library, where it will be added to our growing collection of similar books.

All the above materials become part of the museum’s permanent library/archive collection, where they can be used for reference and research or possibly excerpted in publications, documentaries, or exhibits.  They provide a unique way for the actual voices, images, and memories of Minnesotans to live on, preserved for future generations.