The following article summarizes the original event which is listed below the summary.

A fascinating glimpse into a rare collection

March 8, 2023, at 1pm

More than two dozen UMRA members gathered for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes visit to the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine on the U of M Twin Cities campus in early March. The visit was hosted by Curator Lois Hendrickson. She and her colleagues Emily Beck (pictured behind the table) and Anna Orskov assembled some 40 items from the library’s collection of 73,000-plus volumes of rare books, journals, and manuscripts that span more than 500 years, and 8,300 artifacts.

The event was the second in the new “Cabinets of Curiosity” series of visits to obscure collections on the U of M campus, organized by UMRA members Sally Gregory Kohlstedt, Jan Morlock, and Cathy Lee Gierke.

More events are being planned for the coming months. 




Cabinets of Curiosity: Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine

Wed, Mar 8 2023, 1pm

Phillips-Wangensteen Building
516 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis 55455

Medical books and artifacts remind us of the amazing breakthroughs that benefit us in the 21st century. At the same time, many remind of us of some surprising continuities in health challenges like pandemics and endemic medical challenges. Documenting this history is the goal of the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine. Somewhat hidden in the lower level of the Phillips-Wangensteen Building in the Medical School complex, the library houses both tantalizing artifacts and rare volumes that date back more than half a millennium. Strange instruments for bloodletting, advertisements for quack medicines, rare copies of books by Vesalius and other anatomical pioneers, and illustrated accounts of Japanese water cures are just a sample of its more than 75,000 holdings.

Participation will be limited to 25. There is no fee for the outing, but advance registration is required. Registration has now closed.  We hope you can attend a future event!  Contact Cathy at [email protected] if you would like to be added to a wait list.

The second in our series of Cabinets of Curiosity on the UMN  campus, the library was established by Owen Wangensteen, a renowned and successful surgeon who taught at the University in the middle of the 20th century. Aware of the importance of historical records and familiar with rare books collection in Europe and other major medical schools, he began to build a collection. He contributed part of his salary and encouraged grateful patients to support this university collection as it acquire books and manuscripts, as well as significant instruments. Generous and dedicated to science and medicine, he never patented his Wangensteen suction apparatus because he wanted it to be widely accessible at a modest cost, which is to the present day. It is another of the treasures on our campus.

Long-time curator and collector Lois Hendrickson has agreed to bring out significant examples of these rare materials for us to marvel about. This is a wonderful opportunity to see and view manuscripts and books primarily available primarily to scholars, some of come from well beyond our campus to use these materials for research purposes. This event is an opportunity to see them up close and hear about their provenance and currency today.

The plan is to visit from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on March 8 (while the campus is quiet during Spring Break). Parking is adjacent at the Washington Avenue Ramp, and there will be optional post-event conversation at the nearby Beacon Pub in the Graduate Hotel.

Questions? Contact Sally Gregory Kohlstedt at [email protected] or Jan Morlock at [email protected].

Upcoming Events

Event Date: October 2, 2023, at 9:30am

We will meet at the Mel-O-Glaze bakery on 28th and Minnehaha Parkway and walk to Minnehaha Falls and then back again.

Event Date: October 3, 2023, at 1pm

Some of the most valuable and rare maps in the world are held in UMN's own James Ford Bell Library, housed in Andersen Library  See https://www.lib.umn.edu/collections/special/bell .

Event Date: October 4, 2023, at 10am

The first meeting of UMRA’s Family History Interest Group for 2023–24 will feature a presentation by Marilyn DeLong about sharing family stories and learning surprising family connections. 

Event Date: October 4, 2023, at 10am

UMRA has a special opportunity to engage with the four newest members of the U of M Board of Regents on Wednesday, October 4, via Zoom. The purpose of the event is to share our perspectives as former University employees. 

Event Date: October 10, 2023, at 12:30pm

All UMRA members with an interest in photography are welcome to attend the meeting of the UMRA Photo Club on Tuesday, October 10. We welcome photographers of all abilities. Most of us are struggling amateurs. We laugh a lot and learn from sharing and talking about our pictures.

Event Date: October 16, 2023, at 9:30am

The walk along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis is always changing, with many attractions being added along both sides of the river and, now, the beautiful fall colors.

Event Date: October 19, 2023, at 11am

UMRA’s workshop on Open Enrollment for U of M retiree health plans for 2024 will include a briefing on the choice between Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans, by Jeff Snegosky of BCBS of Minnesota, followed by an overview of the U of M’s retiree health insurance plans, by Katie Kolodge from the Office of Human Resources.

Event Date: October 20, 2023, at 2pm

Mary Jane Towle will lead the discussion of The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams.

Event Date: October 24, 2023, at 11am

To help us understand the growing movement in the U.S. to ban books, especially children’s literature, and the critical role of libraries to protect intellectual freedom, UMRA will welcome U of M Librarian Lisa Von Drasek (pictured) and Rochester Public Librarian Kimberly Edson as the guest speakers for our October luncheon forum at Midland Hills. 

Event Date: October 27, 2023, at 2pm

The Fourth Friday Book Club will meet from 2 to 3:30 p.m. CDT on October 27 to discuss the life and narrative of Frederick Douglass.

Event Date: November 6, 2023, at 9:30am

Join us for a 5 mile moderately paced hike around Pleasant Lake located in the heart of North Oaks.  It takes us past some of James J. Hill’s original farm buildings as well as beautiful homes built along the lakeshore. The trail is wide, generally flat and consists of packed dirt and crushed rock. 

Event Date: November 6, 2023, at 9:40am

The documents noted for this event specify your managers and can minimize income taxes now, and estate taxes. 

Event Date: November 7, 2023, at 1pm

The material world we live in is shaped by design. While popular discussions of design typically focus on fashion and furniture, design is fundamental in art, architecture, and indeed nearly all aspects of the everyday world around us.  Goldstein Museum of Design curator Jean McElvain will demonstrate and discuss some of the fascinating and often unexpected holdings before we walk through the current gallery exhibit.

Event Date: November 27, 2023, at 9am - December 3, 2023, at 5pm

Get an insider's perspective on Santa Fe and Taos alongside local artists, exploring the Georgia O'Keeffe museum, enjoying traditional music and learning about native cultures. The deadline for reserving a space is June 2, 2023.

Event Date: December 4, 2023, at 9:30am

Please join us for an invigorating hike from The Monument located at the intersection of Mississippi RIver Blvd and Summit Avenue in St. Paul to Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis and back.  This hike is on paved trails, approximately 5.5 miles in length, and will be at a pace suitable to the weather.

Event Date: December 13, 2023, at 11:30am

Topics include tax changes; tax reducing moves required now and tax management in 2024 & 2025.