What happens when history relocates?
Flour mill artifacts more than a century old, rare original paintings of Betty Crocker from the 1940s, the Pillsbury Doughboy’s commercial props, Star Wars memorabilia. We’ve got lots of history in the General Mills Corporate Archives and, recently, we relocated to a new space. That means we can spread out, unpack some more boxes and have room to show off some of our best stuff.
When history relocates it’s sort of like a time machine, right?!
And, it’s appropriate that the new home for all our historical artifacts, publications, products and portraits – among other things – is now near the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, where the company got its start in the 1800s.
“Being near the birthplace of Washburn Crosby, General Mills and Pillsbury, is fantastic,” says Susan Wakefield, our corporate archivist. “The location brings to life the actual work and dedication of the people, not just the founders and the financiers, but the individuals who worked in the mills. It’s wonderful to see the connection with our past and today come alive.”
The Archives is now in our Riverside office.
Our one-of-a-kind collection moved into its new space earlier this year, allowing for a more centralized facility where historically significant and valuable non-current records are preserved, organized and made available to further the study and understanding of General Mills’ vision and legacy.
The General Mills Corporate Archives’ primary purpose is to be a resource for our internal brand and company teams to better understand the historical significance of our products as well as a springboard for the development of new products and business development.
The team also works with external researchers on approved projects, however the Archives is not open to the public for walk-in visits.
Because of that, I wanted to show the new location to you, with Susan’s help.
The highlight of the area is its temperature and humidity-controlled archival space, nearly 4,000 square feet. Movable compact-shelving, organized by various collections, takes up most of the room. There are framed photos and portraits on the walls, and display shelves with a variety of publications and reference materials. Additional resources include speeches, biographies, oral histories and cookbooks.
Outside the archival space, you’ll find the office and research area, highlighted by more framed pieces and a display case featuring various historical products, as well as some of the company’s premiums and promotions. In addition, there are rooms containing artwork, large format materials and more.
You enter the new Archives area through a spacious lobby with room for events and meetings. Its walls are covered with several enlarged photos from over the years, each one telling a part of our company story.
The General Mills Corporate Archives was established in 1980 and is based entirely on donations from employees, retirees and consumers worldwide.
If you have items to donate to our collection, email the Archives team.
For more on the history of General Mills and our brands, visit our Tumblr blog at GeneralMillsHistory.com. We post something every weekday. Of course, we also regularly feature interesting stories from our past in our History category, here on “A Taste of General Mills.”
And stay connected with us – we will celebrate our 150th anniversary in 2016.
That’s a lot of history for our Archives team to keep track of!
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