Bloomington Historical Society banner

At the Museum

2014 Schedule of Events


If We Only Had Old Ireland Over Here
Lyndon Griffin celebrates St. Patrick's Day with Ballads, Stories and a Poem or Two

Sunday, March 16
1:30 p.m.
Bloomington Old Town Hall
102nd Street South and Penn Avenue

Enjoy the history, culture and songs of Ireland with talented entertainer, singer, lecturer and historian Lyndon Griffin. Listen or sing along with the many themes of Irish folk music. The concert is interactive, featuring Griffin’s unique performance style which weaves Irish history and the history behind the songs into a united package of emotion and intellect, energizing the songs with the urgency of a current event, though the music and story may be hundred of years old.

  • Discover the real Molly Malone and the truth about Danny's love.
  • Sing along with a prodigal son, a dying rebel, a grateful husband.
  • Dance at Mari's wedding reception, cry over Grace's honeymoon.
  • Drink with candlemakers and Mr. Finnegan's friends and relatives.
  • Musically woo the colleens of many a county, town and glen.
  • Fight for Irish freedom and long to be home again.

A Visit with Agnes Pond (Mrs. Gideon Pond)

Sunday, April 6
2 p.m.
Bloomington Old Town Hall
102nd Street South and Penn Avenue

Just seventeen and pregnant with her first child, Agnes Hopkins arrived at Fort Snelling in June 1843 with her husband Robert to serve as missionaries to the Dakota Indians in the St. Peter's (Minnesota) River Valley.

Enjoy coffee and cookies as Agnes, portrayed by Sheila Strobel Smith, who describes missionary life on the frontier, the accidental drowning of her husband, her second marriage to Rev. Gideon Pond, and raising sixteen children on their farm in Bloomington. Sheila is the president of the Pond Dakota Heritage Society in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Cover of book

"A Love Affair With Birds" -- the Life of Thomas Sadler Roberts

Sunday, May 4
2 p.m.
Bloomington History Museum

Thomas Sadler Roberts, a Minneapolis physician and naturalist, helped launch The Bell Museum of Natural History, and his research and collections helped preserve the memory of early Minnesota. Today, the man has been mainly forgotten. Sue Leaf, author of "A Love Affair with Birds," presents Roberts and his work.

Roberts Roberts, pictured far right, and his field assistant, L. O. Dart, at the Long Meadow Gun Club in Bloomington.

Sue LeafAuthor, Sue Leaf

Ice Cream Social/Sousa Band Concert

Sunday, June 22
7 p.m.
Gideon Pond House
401 East 104th Street

Summer Fete

Thursday, July 3
Normandale Lake
Mid afternoon and evening

Historic Pond Quilt

Sunday, July 27
2 p.m.
Bloomington Old Town Hall
102nd Street South and Penn Avenue

Quilter Jean Bellefeuille presents information about the historic Pond quilt given to the Pond family by the Indian Women's Missionary Society.

Saluting the Civil War

Sunday, August 10
2 p.m.
Bloomington Old Town Hall
102nd Street South and Penn Avenue

Noted photographer/author Doug Ohman

Heritage Day Parade and Festival

Saturday, September 20
Parade - a.m. TBA
Festival - Noon-evening

Harvest Fest

Saturday, October 18
Bloomington Old Town Hall
102nd Street South and Penn Avenue

Family autumn fun day!

November 17, 1862, Dakota March through Bloomington to Fort Snelling

Sunday, November 2
2 p.m.
Bloomington Old Town Hall
102nd Street South and Penn Avenue

Cover of book

Holiday Celebration

With Tom Hegg and "A Cup of Christmas Tea"

Sunday, December 7
Bloomington Old Town Hall
102nd Street South and Penn Avenue

Noted author, lecturer and master teacher, Tom Hegg has written several best sellers with Waldman House Press and now TRISTAN Publishing.  Among some of the classics are A Cup of Christmas Tea, A Memory of Christmas Tea and the successful PEEF the Christmas Bear series. Partnering with well-known illustrator Warren Hanson, the team of Hegg and Hanson have brought joy to millions of readers.

Tom HeggAuthor, Tom Hegg

Tom is the director of drama at Breck School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he holds the rank of Master Teacher. He is the recipient of several awards and commendations in connection with his teaching career, including the titles of Teacher of Excellence and Honor Roll Teacher bestowed on him by the Minnesota Education Association. He also holds a listing in the "Who’s Who Among America's Teachers"”

Tom is an excellent public speaker with extensive national experience. His programs gather around the theme of the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Audiences will find themselves buoyed by frequent and hearty laughter and touched by sweet tears. Tom and his wife Peggy are residents of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and have one son named Adam. Adam and his wife, Breanne, made Tom and Peggy proud grandparents with the birth of Imogen Beatrice and Helena Blythe!

The Book

A Cup of Christmas Tea is the story of a young man's reluctant visit to an elderly aunt at Christmastime, and the unexpected joy it brings. This book has sold more than 1.7 million copies and has been featured on the New York Times Bestseller list four times!

Be a Part of Bloomington Forever!

Bloomington's Old Town Hall History Plaza has a place for YOU!

close up of bricks

Sponsor an engraved History Brick on Old Town Hall History Plaza for your family, friends, business, school, sports team, special milestones in life, memorials, awards and other commemorations. Purchase a 3 line 4"X8" brick for $100 or a 6 line 8"X8" brick for $175. Write 18 characters per line, including spaces between lines.

Deadlines are September 14 or February 14 ongoing.

Visit the Old Town Hall History Center at the corner of Penn and Old Shakopee.

  • Include a visit in your itinerary of summer events for visiting guests, reunions, social gatherings.
  • Learn about Bloomington's ancient and recent history.
  • View our cultural collections of historic artifacts, photos and memorabilia of many generations.
  • Hours are Tuesday - Thursday and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m., Sundays, 1 - 5 p.m., closed Mondays and Fridays.

The Bloomington Historical Society is a 501©3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible. Questions? Call 952-881-4327.

An Interesting Artifact

Dugout canoe

Dugout canoe antiquity ~ Circa 1600s

The Bloomington Historical Society-owned dugout canoe antiquity was found by George Hopkins, farmer-historian of Bloomington, on his property between 1966-1968. The canoe was partially buried in mud in the Minnesota River Valley approximately one-third of the way uphill of the lower bluff. Mr. Hopkins sought the opinion of fellow historian Stanley Danielson who realized the significance of finding the rare archaeological treasure. Otto Christianson of the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Division was contacted and Park Maintenance staff uncovered the dugout, Approximately 16 feet in length, the find was transported to the Bloomington Old Town Hall Museum, 10200 Penn Avenue South.

An evaluation was requested from the Minnesota Historical Society conservator, who advised that the dugout be soaked in an ethylene glycol product for an indefinite period so as to permeate the dugout for preservation purposes. Glycol was the recommended conservation product at that time. The canoe was on exhibit in the lower level of the the Museum until 2007 when it was removed during the restoration of the building to its 1892 appearance. At that time, to conserve and stabilize the dugout, the Bloomington Historical Society consulted Minnesota Historical Society experts and then enlisted the expertise of Terry Brown of Museum Professionals, Inc. of Loretto, Minnesota.

The dugout has been cleaned of all sand and dirt embedded deep in the recesses. An archival-approved product (b72) was applied that permeated the decayed cells of the dugout and provided strength to the ancient cottonwood. Mr. Brown will also build and install and archival artifact mount for the canoe. The padded steel mount will provide support and long-term exhibition. A maple surface platform on rollers will be used with the archival artifact mount; a graphic panel will provide historical information about the use of dugout canoes by the various indigenous peoples, and will include the processes used in the construction. Following completion of the project, the dugout canoe will be on exhibit at the restored 1892 Bloomington Old Town Hall. The time period for the dugout canoe was estimated by area historians to be circa 1600s, indicating usage by the ancient Iowa/Oneota tribes and later the Dakota peoples.

Birch bark canoes were not used in southern Minnesota at that time.

Sponsor a custom-designed exhibit case

The Bloomington Historical Society is refurbishing the Old Town Hall History Museum with custom-designed exhibit cases, pedestals and kiosks. These items are donor-sponsored. For further information or if you would like to contribute to this effort, please contact 952-881-4327.


Learn More About Bloomington

Old Town Hall


Read the short version of the town's history since 1600.

Bloomington History Timeline

A picture history that fuses our geological and cultural heritage.

  Home     About BHS     Collections     Heritage     History     Links