Execution Artifacts Report

Execution Artifacts Report “A Veiled cabinet of Curiosities: A preliminary report on Minnesota’s 1862 gallows artifacts” April 26, 2012 by Carrie Reber Zeman

Summary: “My goal in this paper is to supply a preliminary public research base on two related artifacts from the December 26, 1862 executions of 38 Dakota men at Mankato, Minnesota: a beam reputed (currently disputed) to be a plate timber from the gallows, and a noose said to have been used on the gallows. I establish the period primary sources on both artifacts, trace their donation histories, and discuss the process by which later attributions have become entrenched as factual history, clouding modern attempts to reckon with the artifacts and their stories. I conclude that if a newly discovered photo matches the beam in Blue Earth County, then that artifact is the same one the donor claimed was a notched plate timber from the 1862 gallows. I also conclude that MHS is obligated to consider non-sensational contexts for exhibiting the rope.”

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