May 2008

As this weekend many of my friends will be heading down to our alma mater for reunion, I thought it would be a good time to look over some web resources on Oberlin history.  This year is the college and town’s 175th birthday, and as the first college in the country to graduate women and African-Americans, as well as a center of social justice politics, Oberlin has had an important place in American history.

The college has a 175th portal with a few timelines:  the college timeline stops at 1850, so it’s not super useful at the moment.  The college president timeline is pretty nice, with a readable but not flashy interface.  An alumni-led effort, the Oberlin LGBT Community History Project, is a great online oral history repository.  The college library has a fascinating (well, I think it’s fascinating) article on library cataloguing at the college (note the brief mention of Cutter!) as well as digitized college and town publications.  The college archives have a huge wealth of resources on college and community history, a contentdm database of archives objects, and a bibliography of material on Oberlin history.  The Oberlin Historical and Improvement Organization also collects local history and the Electronic Oberlin Group has web exhibits.  Happy 175th and happy reunion!


Remember THATcamp, the humanities and technology unconference happening in two weeks over at the CHNM in Virginia? They’ve put up a great little website with profiles of all the participants, basic info about the conference, and a blog (the quote above comes from this post about TEI and digital critical editions). For those of us who can’t attend, this is a great opportunity to sit in on some great conversations about the digital humanities. Margie of Tellhistory, a camper, also set up a delicious account for sharing blogs on the subject (so that’s why my traffic spiked!). I’ll be keeping my eyes on thatcamp and the great projects the campers are developing.

The Minnesota Association of Museums annual meeting is on Monday, at the continuing ed center on the St. Paul campus of the U of M.  The theme is “Minnesota Museums Collaborate,” and there are lots of interesting sessions.  Later in the evening there’s a mixer at the Gibbs Farm, a living history museum that does some neat environmental interpretation, like an heirloom apple orchard.  Here’s the program and info.

8:30 to 9 a.m.


9 to 10:15 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions A

  • The Transforming Power of Collaboration
    Melinda Ludwiczak, MLIS, Partnerships Coordinator, Minneapolis Central Library, Hennepin County Library
    Camille Gage, Library Exhibition Review Committee Chair, Artist, Event Manager, Mondale Lectures on Public Service, Hubert, H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
    Carol Daly, Library Exhibition Review Committee Member, FORECAST Public Artworks Board Member, and Former State Director, Elderhostel
    The new Minneapolis Central Library, designed by Cesar Pelli, was set to open in May 2006 with a stunning exhibition gallery. A staff position was created and charged with building an exhibition program utilizing a collaboration model and a very modest budget. Find out how a multi-discipline committee was recruited to create an exhibition infrastructure and implement an exhibition schedule. This case study will describe how the exhibition committee was formed, techniques used to facilitate the committee’s work, and how partners are engaged through a collaborative exhibition program that reinforces and expands the mission of a 21st century public library.
  • Environmentalism Meets Local History
    Erin Anderson, Education Coordinator, Carver County Historical Society
    Larry Hutchings, Curator, Carver County Historical Society
    In July 2007, the Carver County Historical Society was awarded a grant by Community POWER (Partners on Waste Education and Reduction) to create and implement three day camps, two teacher workshops, and five school programs centered on eco-historical themes. By definition, eco-history is a collaboration, created by pairing historical topics with aspects of environmentalism (i.e. activism and education; land stewardship and historic preservation). This session will focus on teaching eco-history through collaborative efforts by the Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board, Carver County Environmental Services, and the Carver County Historical Society, and will include an overview of the museum’s proposed project.
  • Mixing It Up: Ideas and Action to Connect and Inspire
    Wendy Freshman, Public Programs Associate, Minnesota Historical Society
    Tim Barrett, Program Director, The Collaboration for the Advancement of College Teaching and Learning
    Performers from SteppingStone Theatre
    You literally will not sit still during this active session meant to connect participants and get you ready for the day.

10:30 to 11:45 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions B

  • The TRIO Institute: A Three Museum Collaboration for Teacher Professional Development
    Judi Petkau, Youth/Tour Coordinator, Weisman Art Museum
    Susan Rotilie, Program Manager for School Programs, Walker Art Center
    Cori Quinn, Manager of Teacher Resources, Minneapolis Institute of Arts
    This panel discussion will focus on a three-museum collaboration to address the needs of K-12 teachers and provide a forum to address related issues that museums share. The TRIO program grew out of a desire by the participating museum educators to create a sustainable professional development opportunity that could draw on the strengths of each institution and link into their shared audiences. Questions for discussion include: How do we engage teachers in an ongoing relationship of professional development across communities? What is the value of such collaboration? How might technology assist in our efforts? How can museums collaborate with higher education towards this end? What might be potential roles for museums in teacher professional development? Reflections on the pilot year of the TRIO Institute involving the Weisman, Walker and MIA will serve as a starting point for discussion.
  • The Northfield History Collaborative: Libraries, Archives, Museums and Businesses Working Together
    Hayes Scriven, Executive Director, Northfield Historical Society
    Sam Demas, Gould Library, Carleton College
    Debbie Nitz, Northfield Public Library
    Sue Garwood, Rice County Historical Society
    Attendees will learn how six cultural heritage institutions are collaborating to identify, catalog, and make accessible the records and artifacts relating to the history of Northfield, MN. They will hear how a group of librarians, archivists, museum professionals and business owners are bridging their professional differences and combining their expertise to provide seamless access across institutions. Attendees will participate in a conversation about the options under consideration to enable Northfielders to simultaneously search the local history holdings of the Carleton and St. Olaf College libraries and archives, the Northfield Public Library, the Northfield News, and the Rice County Historical Society and Northfield Historical Society.
  • The Minnesota Disappeared Collaborative Project
    Kerry Morgan, Director of Galleries and Exhibitions, Augsburg College
    Laurel Reuter, Director, North Dakota Museum of Art
    Colleen Sheehy, Director of Education, Weisman Art Museum
    Holly Ziemer, Director of Communications, Center for Victims of Torture
    Panel participants will discuss a unique collaboration that will culminate in fall of 2009 when the nationally-acclaimed contemporary art exhibition “The Disappeared” (curated by Laurel Reuter at the North Dakota Museum of Art) opens at the Weisman Art Museum along with eight coordinating art exhibitions at area colleges and universities. These academic institutions are working with non-profit organizations such as the Center for Victims of Torture to bring the issue of human rights to the fore and to engage as many diverse communities as possible in a variety of art exhibitions (including one at the Mall of America), readings, lectures and a film series.

11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Minnesota Association of Museums Annual Business Meeting

Keynote Address – Cathy Wurzer, Host of Morning Edition, Minnesota Public Radio

1:30 to 2:45 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions C

  • Pooling Resources = Big Results
    Tilly Laskey, Curator of Ethnology, Science Museum of Minnesota
    Joanne Jones-Rizzi, Director of People and Cultures Program, Science Museum of Minnesota
    Roxanne Gould, Independent Scholar and Professor, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
    The Twin Cities have some of the best cultural resources in the world, including museums, collections, visual artists, musicians, theaters, researchers, universities and colleges, and vibrant communities. At The Science Museum of Minnesota, we strive to collaborate and involve multiple audiences. But what if Minnesota’s cultural institutions pooled our resources? What if we worked together in a small town/university model of communication to have a national or even international impact? This session will discuss ideas and big dreams for playing well with others, as well as document successful collaborations, specifically an international partnership traveling programs, an exhibit and performances to Basque Country, Spain.
  • Scouts All About
    Claudia Nicholson, Executive Director, North Star Museum for Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting
    Shana Crosson, Web Content Manager,Minnesota Historical Society, and Girl Scout Troop Leader
    Representatives from area Girl Scout and Boy Scout Councils
    Minnesota museums are increasingly teaming with Scouting organizations to develop programs that meet and exceed the expectations of both groups. This session will demonstrate some successful partnerships, and introduce museum staff and Scouting staff who have developed programs. Hear directly from successful partners just what’s involved to make Scouting programs a highly successful element of your programming.
  • “Goldie’s Treasures”- a Cultural Walking Tour on the U of M St. Paul Campus
    Staff of the Goldstein Gallery, Bell Museum of Natural History, and University of Minnesota Raptor Center
    From 1:45-2:45 pm and from 3 -4 pm, visit one of three sites nearby to enjoy staff presenting about gems in their collections. Sign up at morning registration; first come, first served.

2:45 to 3:00 p.m.


3:00 to 4:15 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions D

  • Playful Partnerships: Children, Artists and Sharing Knowledge
    Michelle Blodgett, Program Developer, Minnesota Children’s Museum
    Amie Pence, VSA Arts of Minnesota
    Minnesota Children’s Museum’s patrons met, created and were inspired with the guest artist from VSA Arts of Minnesota Arts Ambassadors. This partnership brought in artists with disabilities for interactive activities with children focused on music, movement and visual arts to the Museum’s Rooftop Artpark. The Museum is continuing the partnership with VSA Arts of Minnesota to design a training workshop for staff and advising on the creation of a First Friday program to reach children and families with disabilities. Come join us as we discuss children, artists and playful partnerships.
  • The Neighborhood Forum: Building a More Literate Twin Cities
    David Stevens, Public Programs Coordinator, Mill City Museum, Minnesota Historical Society
    Lynne Burke, Children’s Literacy Liason/Reach Out and Read MN Coordinator, Hennepin County Medical Center
    Lisa Bugman, Community Relations Consultant, Thrivent Financial
    Learn about a unique group of nonprofit, corporate and public institutions in Minneapolis named the Neighborhood Forum: how it organized, why it adopted literacy as a common goal, and what disparate organizations bring to a collaborative event, the Go Read Day family reading festival. This event has boosted Mill City Museum attendance during an otherwise slow time of year and the museum has developed historical programming that supports the event’s literacy theme. The panel will discuss the challenges of creating a program that supports the mission and goals of all of the participating organizations.
  • “Goldie’s Treasures”- a Cultural Walking Tour on the U of M St. Paul Campus
    Staff of the Goldstein Gallery, Bell Museum of Natural History, and University of Minnesota Raptor Center
    From 1:45-2:45 pm and from 3 -4 pm, visit one of three sites nearby to enjoy staff presenting about gems in their collections. Sign up at morning registration; first come, first served.

4:15 to 4:30 p.m.

Raffle Prizes announced (must be present to win)


After-Conference Mixer

Monday May 19 at 4:45 – 7PM
Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakotah Life
2097 West Larpenteur Avenue, Falcon Heights

The Gibbs Museum and Minnesota Association of Museums (MAM) invite you to an informal get-together open to all. Enjoy wine, beer, light hors d’oeuvres and homemade ice cream along with the company of your colleagues, all while taking in the history and beauty of the Gibbs Museum. If weather permits, grab a glass of wine and head outside on a guided stroll through the unique Gibbs Heritage Orchard in bloom and other historic Dakotah and pioneer sites. This is a great opportunity to continue the collaborative discussions started during the day at the 2008 MAM Meeting. (The Mixer is also open to museum professionals and volunteers not attending the meeting)

The Gibbs Museum is less than 1 mile from the conference site. From the CECC parking lot (Lot S-104), go west on Buford Avenue. Take a right on Cleveland Avenue (travel north). After crossing Larpenteur Avenue, take the first left into the Gibbs Museum parking lot. Directions

Free parking! Go to the Red Barn to check-in.

Admission: $10 for MAM members; $15 for non-members.

Please sign up in advance by calling Peter Olson at 651-225-6037, or e-mail Cash and checks will be accepted at the event.

Today was my last day at the HCMC History Museum.  After 2 years, I’m moving on (though I have a few projects I’m still wrapping up).  I’ve enjoyed working with our awesome, dedicated volunteers and staff.  Our great new exhibit just went up, so it’s nice to go out with fireworks.  (Did I mention?  Go see our great new exhibit!)

I’m moving south, to Rochester, to do some collections work at the Mayo Clinic.  (Who knew there were so many great institutions doing the history of medicine in Minnesota?  Collect them all!). 

PH, of course, is not moving anywhere, no matter that I’m trading the Mississippi for the Zumbro.  Talk to you next time!

This week (last Sunday, really) marks the 150th anniversary of MN statehood.  There will be music and fireworks at the capitol next weekend, and one of only a few extant versions of the Declaration of Independence will be on display at the History Center.

I was very pleased to hear (as the Monitor reported) that the Sesquicentennial Commission is recognizing that for many indigenous residents of Minnesota, statehood is not a celebration, but a commemoration and an occasion for mourning.  The Sesquicentennial Advisory Committee for Native American Partnering has an excellent blog, with commentary on important stories and events about native Minnesotans during the sesquicentennial year, like the interruption this weekend of the wagon train at Fort Snelling, commentary on the Dakota War and the calls for an official apology to American Indians in Minnesota for the terrible injustices perpetrated against them in the past 150 years (and earlier). May is American Indian Month in Minnesota, and this commemoration of our statehood is an important opportunity to think about what it means to share the land and work deeply on issues of reconciliation and justice for all Minnesotans.  As public historians, we have a responsibility to make room for and facilitate discource on what Minnesota’s 150th means.

To celebrate both Nurses’ Week and Minnesota’s 150th birthday, the Hennepin County Medical Center History Museum and the Metropolitan Medical Center Historical Library are putting up a special exhibit, “Hospital Stories:  150 Years of Minneapolis Health Care.”  We trace the history of hospitals in Minneapolis from Cottage Hospital in 1870 to the present, talking about people and noting dynamic changes in hospital organization and in training for nursing, medical and other staff.  The exhibit is supported by a grant from the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission.

An open house is today, May 6, from 1-4 pm in the Blue 1 and Blue L lobbies of HCMC on 8th and Chicago in downtown Minneapolis.  The exhibit is spread across 4 locations on the HCMC campus:  Blue Lower Level atrium, Blue 1 lobby across from the Gift Shop, Orange 3 next to the cafeteria, and the Purple Lobby near the pharmacy, and will be up through May and June.  Come visit!