Then Now Wow

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News Release

Largest Minnesota History Exhibit Ever Opens This Fall
“Then Now Wow” Opens at the Minnesota History Center, Friday Nov. 23, 2012

From past to present, many “Wow!” moments have shaped this great state. Visitors to “Then Now Wow,” opening Nov. 23, 2012 at the Minnesota History Center, will explore Minnesota history through the prairies, forests and cities, along the way meeting the people who have made their homes here. With more than 14,000 square feet of gallery space, “Then Now Wow,” is the largest exhibit ever created by the Minnesota Historical Society.

“Then Now Wow” is designed especially for children. The hands-on, interactive exhibit will use a wide range of story-driven features to explore immigration, transportation, family life, natural environments and Minnesota industries like fur trade, mining and agriculture.

Visitors will be able to trace the journey of wheat and corn by climbing into a grain elevator and sliding through the chutes; hop aboard a Soo Line boxcar and “tour” southwest Minnesota with original music by Charlie Parr; visit an 1870s pioneer family’s sod house; step inside a modern tipi and learn Dakota history and culture from poet/artist Bobby Wilson; “travel” on a Twin Cities streetcar to hear and see stories as different eras and places pass by; stand at the marker of the headwaters of the Mississippi; descend into an Iron Range mine and dynamite for ore; and barter for goods inside a fur post.  In addition, there will be programming space where History Players will perform and hands-on history programs and museum theater are presented.

“We are very excited to launch an exhibit that delves into Minnesota’s past and present in such a unique and active way. This is THE exhibit on Minnesota history and should be a destination for all children and their families,” said Stephen Elliott, Minnesota Historical Society director and CEO.

The visual look of the exhibit combines “then” and “now” imagery in a number of unique ways. Entire walls will feature modern photography of the Minnesota landscape, carpeting will mimic the Mississippi River in color and pattern and large scale Eames-style cards will feature bold images and historical content.

In fall 2013, the Minnesota History Center will launch an innovative new mobile application for “Then Now Wow” called “History In Our Hands.” The application will be used by students visiting the exhibit on field trips.

Opening Weekend, Nov. 23 & 24, 2012

The exhibit opens with much fanfare with a two-day family program. For the price of admission, visitors of all ages can take in live performances by Charlie Parr, photo ops with Paul Bunyan, dancing, storytelling, trivia and lots of demonstrations and hands-on crafts.

Exhibit & Program Support

“Then Now Wow,” is funded in part by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF) through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.  The Minnesota state legislature appropriated $2,500,000 in ACHF funds to the Minnesota Historical Society “for an exhibit on the regional, local, and cultural diversity of Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage,” Laws of Minnesota, 2009, Chapter 172, Article 4, Section 2(e).

Major support is also being provided by the 3M Foundation, the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation, and the Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation with additional support from the BNSF Foundation, Rosemary and David Good Family Foundation, Grotto Foundation, Hardenbergh Foundation, the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council and the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation.

Hours and location

The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Exhibit gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays (admission is free on Tuesdays from 5 to 8 p.m.), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, call 651-259-3000 or 1-800-657-3773.

Admission

Admission to "Then, Now, Wow" is included with regular History Center admission of $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and college students, $6 for children ages 6 to 17; free for children age 5 and under and Minnesota Historical Society members.

Opening Weekend

“Then Now Wow” Opens with a Two-Day Family Celebration 
Fri. Nov. 23 and Sat. Nov. 24, 2012

Visitors will find plenty of “wows” during the opening weekend of “Then, Now, Wow” with a two-day family celebration of Minnesota’s unique people, places and cultures.

WHAT:

  • Live performance by Minnesota singer/songwriter Charlie Parr
  • Tall tales and photo ops with Paul Bunyan
  • Hip hop and breakdancing with dancers from the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent
  • History Players:  Joseph Nicollet, who mapped the upper Mississippi River, fur trade clerk George Nelson and baseball player Toni Stone, the first female to play in the Negro Leagues.  Also, a special program by 19th century Iron Range prospector Cuyler Adams, from the Minnesota Discovery Center
  • Minnesota trivia games and prizes
  • Build your own boxcars and transform yourself into an iconic “Minne Me” bobble head
  • Ojibwe beadwork demonstrations with beadwork artist Cheryl Minnema
  • Multi-cultural cooking demonstrations and samples
  • Hands-on Dakota learning trunk with educator Elaine Beaudreau Patton and the St. Paul Public Schools’ Multicultural Resource Center

WHEN: Nov. 23 and 24, 2012

TIME: Noon to 4 p.m.

WHERE: Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd. W, St. Paul, MN 55102

COST: Free with History Center admission of $11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17, free for children age 5 and under and MHS members.

Exhibit Experience

“Then Now Wow” explores Minnesota’s people, regions and cultures, past and present, through three distinct areas of the state: the prairies, the forests and the cities.

In each region in the exhibit, visitors will find a range of hands-on activities, multimedia experiences and compelling artifacts, images and installations that share the stories and experiences of people who have come to call themselves Minnesotans. Visitor experiences include:

The Prairies

  • A modern take on a traditional Dakota tipi where visitors learn about the history and culture of the Dakota people by “virtually” hanging out with visual artist and poet Bobby Wilson (Dakota/Lakota).
  • A replica of an 1870s sod house based on a real one built by Ole and Gro Rollag, newlyweds from Norway, that encourages visitors to explore and imagine what it was like being a pioneer on the prairie.
  • A sod busting plow interactive where visitors become a farmer or ox working a plow.
  • Grainland play area, where visitors can trace the journey of soy and corn by climbing into a grain elevator and sliding through the chutes.
  • A multi-media Soo Line boxcar takes visitors on a “journey” through southwestern Minnesota. An original song by Minnesota musician Charlie Parr narrates the stories of the area’s people and the places they came to call home.
  • A computer interactive where users become a Dakota leader negotiating treaties with the U.S. government while learning about the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.
  • A life-size buffalo puzzle that visitors can take apart while learning how American Indians used each part of the animal.
  • A photo essay featuring Worthington, the city with the largest Latino population in Minnesota.

The Forests

  • A multi-sensory underground iron mine where visitors will “descend” into a mine, don headlamps and work their way through tasks like finding, drilling and dynamiting ore.
  • A full-scale replica of a 29-foot-long birch bark voyageur North Canoe.
  • Fur post where visitors become a clerk or hunter trying to get the best deal.
  • Two schoolroom settings where visitors will learn what it was like attending an Indian boarding school and also living and going to school on the Red Lake Reservation today.
  • A Mississippi River Headwaters monument, one of the actual iconic monuments that once stood where the Mississippi begins in Lake Itasca State Park.
  • An amusing video on the fur trade featuring the trade’s main commodity, the beaver.
  • Giant white pines that visitors can peek into and learn about Minnesota’s logging industry then and now.
  • Recovered personal effects from the 1894 Hinckley fire including a watch and teaspoon found at the fire.

The Cities

  • A Twin Cities streetcar that visitors will “ride” while traveling through time and places along University Avenue like:
    >> the University and Marion intersection where Dillinger gang member Homer Van Meter was shot by St. Paul police in 1934
    >> the University and Dale intersection, where today more than 100 Asian-owned businesses have transformed University Avenue
    >> the University and Washington intersection where African-American student protestors took over the University of Minnesota’s Morrill Hall in 1969
  • The emergency exit door from the school bus that was on the I-35W bridge when it collapsed on Aug. 1, 2007, signed by all the children and adults aboard the bus.
  • Riverside Plaza and the story of how and why Minneapolis has one of the largest Somali populations in the country.
  • One of the very first photos of Minnesota, a daguerreotype from 1855 showing tipis in the foreground of what is now downtown Minneapolis.
  • Immigration stories, including two cardboard boxes used by a Hmong man to carry his belongings when he moved to Minnesota in 1993 from a Thai refugee camp.
Spokespersons

Dan Spock, Director, Minnesota History Center

Dan Spock has worked in museums for more than 28 years in numerous positions including exhibit designer, exhibit developer and program administrator. At the Minnesota History Center Spock oversees exhibits, educational programs, visitor services and facilities management. Under his leadership his team has developed a number of dynamic exhibits including the award-winning “The 1968 Exhibit” which is currently travelling nationally, and most recently, “The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.”

Wendy Jones, Head of Museum Education and Public Programs

Wendy Jones has more than 20 years experience developing educational programs at the Minnesota History Center. Jones is leading several initiatives to improve the Society’s service to K-12 audiences, including the “History In Our Hands” project, a digital component of “Then Now Wow” that students on field trips will begin using in fall 2013.

Ellen Miller, Lead Exhibit Developer for “Then Now Wow”

In her nearly 20 years with the Minnesota History Center, Ellen Miller has developed exhibits on a wide range of topics from the fur trade to forest fires to city life. Her projects include “Minneapolis in 19 Minutes Flat,” an award-winning film currently on view at Mill City Museum and “Right on Lake Street” a dynamic and playful exhibit developed in partnership with Macalester College and In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre in 2007.

Images

Then Now Wow Images

For immediate release

Release dated: 
August 17, 2012
Media contacts: 

Julianna Olsen
Marketing and Communications
651-259-3141
julianna.olsen@mnhs.org

Jessica Kohen
Marketing and Communications
651-259-3148
jessica.kohen@mnhs.org

Then Now Wow Images

These images may be used for editorial purposes in magazines, newspapers and online to promote "Then Now Wow," opening Nov. 23, 2012 at the Minnesota History Center. They may not be used for advertising or promotional efforts.

Please credit Minnesota Historical Society unless otherwise noted.

A replica of an 1870s sod house that encourages visitors to explore and imagine what it was like being a pioneer on the prairie.

This sod house was located seven miles east of Madison, Minnesota. Mrs. Beret Hagebak is seated in front of the house. Around 1896.

Download high-res image (2.83 MB)

Grainland play area, where visitors can trace the journey of soy and corn by climbing into a grain elevator and sliding through the chutes.

Download high-res image (2.6 MB)

A multi-media Soo Line boxcar takes visitors on a ride through southwestern Minnesota with original music by Charlie Parr.

Download high-res image (4.58 MB)

A computer interactive where users become a Dakota leader negotiating treaties with the U.S. government while learning about the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

Download high-res image (2.51 MB)

A photo essay featuring Worthington, the city with the largest Latino population in Minnesota.

Download high-res image (2.51 MB)

A multi-sensory underground iron mine where visitors will "descend" into a mine to find, drill and dynamite ore.

This image shows workers at the Fayal underground mine in Eveleth, part of the Mesabi range. 1915.

Download high-res image (12.3 MB)

Two school room settings where visitors will learn what it was like attending an Indian boarding school in the 1910s and also living and going to school on the Red Lake Reservation today.

Nearby, in the fur trade section, Ojibwe arts and crafts are highlighted including this beaded yoke which would have been stitched onto another garment, probably a woman's jacket or dress.

Download high-res image (6.15 MB)

An amusing video on the fur trade featuring the trade's main commodity, the beaver.

Download high-res image (1.61 MB)

Recovered personal effects from the 1894 Hinckley fire including a watch and teaspoon found at the fire.

Download high-res image (5.44 MB)

Miss Hallie Q. Brown and Mr. Popularity contest, Hallie Q. Brown Center, St. Paul, about 1956.

Hallie Q. Brown was a popular community center in the Rondo neighborhood.

Download high-res image (2.53 MB)

A Twin Cities streetcar that visitors will "ride" while traveling through time and places along University Avenue.

This image shows streetcar #315 on University Avenue near Snelling, St. Paul. 1953.

Download high-res image (3.48 MB)

The streetcar will visit stops including a Dillinger gang member house in 1934; an African-American student protest at the U of M in 1969; and the frogtown area where today more than 100 Asian-owned businesses, like Saigon restaurant, have transformed University Avenue.

Download high-res image (8.53 MB)

The emergency exit door from the school bus that was on the I-35W bridge when it collapsed, signed by all the children and adults aboard the bus, Aug. 1, 2007.

Download high-res image (1.47 MB)

One of the very first photos of Minnesota, a daguerrotype from 1855 showing tipis in the foreground of what is now downtown Minneapolis.

Download high-res image (2.79 MB)

Then Now Wow logo

Download high-res image (24.83 KB)
Rondo

RONDO'S LEGACY JOINS PERMANENT EXHIBIT AT THE MINNESOTA HISTORY CENTER

New section debuts July 16, 2013, during 30th Anniversary of Rondo Days Celebration

The story of Rondo, a thriving St. Paul African American community torn apart by I-94, will soon be part of “Then Now Wow,” a permanent exhibit at the Minnesota History Center, just in time for the 30th anniversary Rondo Days parade and festival.  The new Rondo section will debut Tuesday, July 16 at 6:30 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting inside the exhibit and an outdoor concert at 7 p.m.

“Rondo was Minnesota’s largest African American community and it’s still alive in the hearts and minds of many who grew up there,” said Ellen Miller, Lead Exhibit Developer for “Then Now Wow.” “It’s important that Rondo be included in “Then Now Wow,” an exhibit featuring Minnesota's vibrant and varied people and places."

The new section, titled “Rondo: A Community of Memory and History,” was developed in collaboration with the Rondo Ave, Inc. Board of Directors.  Rondo Days co-founders Marvin Anderson and Floyd Smaller, Jr. served as historical advisers.  The section features historical images, first-person reflections, oral histories and videos about the way Rondo residents worked, played and socialized.
  
“Rondo was a source of great pride and energy, an oasis from the larger community,” said Anderson, who grew up in the Rondo neighborhood. “Our goal to preserve the history and legacy of Rondo is being realized through our relationship with the Minnesota Historical Society,”

Free Outdoor Concert Celebrates Rondo

After the ribbon-cutting, visitors are invited to take in the jazz, rhythm and blues of the Rockin’ Rondo Quartet with T. Mychael Rambo and Friends on the plaza of the Minnesota History Center. The free event, presented in collaboration with Rondo Avenue, Inc., celebrates community spirit through songs, storytelling, poetry and dance. Appearances by the Half Pintz Drill team, Walker West Jazz Ensemble and special surprise guests.  Dance instruction begins at 6:30; live music begins at 7 p.m.

About Rondo

Rondo, a thriving African American community in St. Paul, was virtually eliminated by construction of the I-94 freeway in the 1960s. Over the past three decades the Rondo Days celebration has featured parades, music and activities that resurrect the proud legacy and memories of the old neighborhood.  To learn more about the 30th anniversary celebration of Rondo Days, visit www.rondoavenueinc.org.

B-Roll for Exhibit Construction
B-Roll for Black Friday Event and Exhibit Opening