The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) wants the public’s input on its plan to rename Historic Fort Snelling, the 23-acre plot of land surrounding the 1820s military compound.
“For many years, the Minnesota Historical Society has been broadening the stories shared at Historic Fort Snelling, and in fact all of our MNHS sites and museums,” said Phyllis Goff, a member of MNHS’s governing board who’s been tasked with leading the renaming effort.
“As part of a revitalization now underway at the site, we’re looking at whether the current name adequately reflects the expanded stories—stories of the women and men whose paths have crossed here, including soldiers, veterans, and their families, enslaved and free African Americans, Japanese Americans, and Native Americans who have lived in the area for thousands of years,” she added.
MNHS is now accepting name suggestions from the public, and plans to host a number of public meetings before its November 15 deadline. The governing board expects to have a decision on the new name by early 2020.
The name of the physical structure (pictured in blue) will remain Fort Snelling, but the surrounding area (pictured in pink) will change.
Any name change, however, will require approval from the Minnesota Legislature.
“Visitors, so far, have told us we’re on the right track. They want to hear these complex stories, which allow them to more clearly see themselves and others in the site’s history,” Goff added. “Our vision for Historic Fort Snelling is to inspire a better future by being a place where people learn, share, and connect to all the complex stories that shape our history here in Minnesota.”
The name change would likely receive support from the DFL-controlled Minnesota House, which introduced a bill earlier this year to consider a redesign of the state’s flag. As The Minnesota Sun reported, some took issue with the flag’s tribute to the founding of Fort Snelling.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Fort Snelling” by Tony Webster. CC BY 2.0.