ST. PAUL, Minn. -- For years his was the first face many visitors saw upon entering the Minnesota State Capitol, and it was a visage more memorable to many than the statues and portraits that line the halls.
Michael Salzberg spent 15 years working as tour guide and historic interpreter, often in costume, as part of the Minnesota Historical Society's operations in the Capitol Building, which is both the seat of state government and a museum.
He could often be seen wearing the garb of Minnesota's 1850's early statehood days, speaking to school children.
Salzberg died April 27 at the age of 63.
On Monday Salzberg's family members were on hand as the State Senate marked Salzberg's passing with a moment of silence, preceded by floor speeches in his honor.
"It's hard to believe we won't see him anymore in this building, because he seemed so a part of coming here to work," Sen. Scott Dibble, a Minneapolis Democrat, told his colleagues.
"And I know that literally thousands – it would be interesting to know how many thousands – of young people and other tourists of this building benefited from his knowledge and his kindness and his tours."
Sen. Chuck Wiger, a Maplewood Democrat, recalled seeing Salzberg at history themed events in his district.
"I just want to thank Michael for being an incredible ambassador for our great state. He touched so many people and had so much pride in his work," Sen. Wiger remarked.
"The button we see sometimes about 'History Matters' radiated through his spirit and everyone he touched."
Roseville Democrat John Marty added, "He was a treasure for the Historical Society, and a treasure for all of us who've known him."
Salzberg, a native New Yorker with a masters degree in history, moved to Minnesota in 1997. He is survived by wife Claudia Nicholson, daughter Marianne Dannell Salzberg, sister Julie Perlin of New York and others.
A memorial service for Salzberg was held May 3 at the historic James J. Hill House in St. Paul.