An elk in a field near a forest

Minnesota: A History of the Land

Take a journey through time across Minnesota's changing landscapes.

Minnesota: A History of the Land vividly brings to life the epic story of the people and landscapes of Minnesota. From the retreat of the last ice sheets to the growth of today’s suburbs – the series seeks to entertain as it enriches our understanding of Minnesota’s past, present, and future.

A visually stunning and groundbreaking 4-part documentary series featuring nature videography from across the state, never before seen historic images, state-of-the-art animations and historic recreations. Original soundtrack by award-winning composer, Peter Ostroushko.

To purchase the 4-part documentary visit the link below or contact us at or 612-626-9660

Minnesota: A History of the Land DVD and Soundtrack


Download the series viewer guide

I: Ordering the Land  |  16,000 – 1870s

Witness 16,000 years of Minnesota’s fascinating early history. Its unique place in North America is revealed through state of the art animations and graphics. Prominent members of Minnesota’s Native American community describe their long relationship with the land.

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II: Changes in the Land  |  1870s – 1900

Voices from the past and stunning nature videography re-create the natural world Euro-Americans first encounter. Find out what happens to North America’s most abundant wildlife species as commercial hunters and the railroad arrives in Minnesota.

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III: Out of the Ashes  |  1900 – 1940s

Never before seen historic footage brings to life the beginnings of conservation in Minnesota. Discover why Minnesota was at the forefront of conservation in the United States and the key role that women play. Through historic stills, footage and interviews see what happens to the Mississippi River as the population of the Twin Cities explodes.

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IV: Second Nature  |  1940s and Beyond

Unique historic footage and photographs depict the momentous changes brought to Minnesota during and after WWII. A vivid re-creation brings to life the revolutionary work of a University of Minnesota graduate student. Simple inventions like nylon nets and the introduction of an exotic species bring the fishery of Lake Superior to the brink of collapse.

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V: The Northern Forest  |  1910s – Early 21st Century

With its majestic pines, glittering lakes, and rich human history the northern forest is central to many Minnesotan’s sense of place. But at the turn of the 20th century, the landscape lay in ruins; decades of unchecked logging had been followed by catastrophic fires. This new episode chronicles efforts to understand and restore this important landscape just as a new threat looms.


This series received development funds in 1999 from the late Wallace Dayton and his wife Mary Lee, long time benefactors of the conservation of Minnesota’s environment. Major funding followed from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources and The McKnight Foundation.

Critical additional support was provided by Minnesota-based family and corporate foundations and individual donors.

MetroEnvironment Partnership 2000
Metropolitan Council
Wallace and Mary Lee Dayton
Schott Foundation
Huss Foundation
Elmer and Eleanor Andersen Foundation
Edward Dayton Family Fund
Helen E. and Daniel T. Lindsay Family Fund
of The Minneapolis Foundation
Freshwater Society
Marbrook Foundation
Wood-Rill Foundation
Quetico Superior Foundation
Suzanne Johnson
W. Duncan and Nivin MacMillan
Bellcomb Technologies, Inc.
Deborah Ann Reynolds
May Department Stores Foundation
General Mills Foundation
Malt-O-Meal Corporation