Both queries yielded interesting answers.
The animal on the blown-up vintage postcard is, in fact, a 13-striped ground squirrel, Minnesota Historical Society PR rep Lauren Peck tells us. But it's also known informally as a striped gopher, she adds, so everyone is sorta correct. Goldy Gopher, the University of Minnesota mascot, is fashioned after the 13-liner, further blurring taxonomic lines. Minnesota's origin as the Gopher State is pretty wild, Peck points out: A satirical cartoon from 1858 depicting corrupt politicians as human-gopher mutants spawned the nickname the very year we achieved statehood.
The phallic matter is more cut and dry: With 100-plus votes, the Reddit thread's most up-voted comment is simply a link to r/mildlypenis, a subreddit highlighting everyday things that resemble dingers.
The "weird-looking gopher/squirrel" has "definitely been a source of amusement for many MNHS staff over the years," Peck says.
Now go take your newfound gopher/squirrel/dinger knowledge to the History Center, whose fascinating First Avenue exhibit runs through next May.