Connecting people through the power of history and culture

Museum Board Member Receives County Honor
Stearns County recognizes educator, author for lifelong work, public history advocacy


Annette Atkins, a longtime board member of the Stearns History Museum, was named a historian laureate by the Stearns County Board of Commissioners at its November 3 meeting. The honor recognizes her professionalism, zest for history, and more than 30 years of service promoting the rich history of Stearns County and Central Minnesota.

A historian laureate promotes the history of a region and its citizens by documenting, researching, interpreting, and speaking about the people, places, and events that have created the fabric of an area. Atkins’ advocacy for local history is unparalleled. She supports the representation of all people through programs, exhibits, and research at the Museum and throughout the community. She most recently led “Missing Pieces,” a walking tour of St. Cloud, which explored the influence of race on the city and the state of Minnesota.

Atkins is a professor emerita at Saint John’s University and the College of St. Benedict, where she taught history and humanities for nearly 34 years. She also authored of several articles and books, including Creating Minnesota: A History from the Inside Out, an innovative state history which won awards, and Challenging Women Since 1913, a history of the College of St. Benedict and women’s higher education. Atkins’ professional goal is to create a sense of connection between contemporary individuals and their history.

“The Stearns History Museum appreciates the County Commissioners for recognizing Annette’s groundbreaking historical studies of Minnesota and Stearns County,” said Executive Director Carie Essig. “We are thankful for her faithful service to the Museum and her creative and comprehensive approach to historical conversation. I am personally grateful to Annette for being an inspiration to me in my work and career as a museum professional. Congratulations, Annette!”

Atkins has been on the Stearns History Museum’s board of directors for more than 14 years and also served as its interim director for one year.

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