minnesota's state capitol turns 100
The Minnesota State Capitol opened to wide acclaim on Jan. 2, 1905, as thousands of Minnesotans streamed through the richly decorated halls and chambers of this "everlasting monument to the sovereignty of the state," in the words of the Minneapolis Tribune.
Celebrate this monumental anniversary! Bring your students on a special capitol tour. Choose from a variety of K-12 tours, such as Architecture Adventure or Voice of the People. The capitol connects to a variety of classroom themes: Minnesota history, civics, art, and architecture, just to name a few. Take a tour and bring new concepts alive for your students.
The next time you visit the History Center, be sure to check out our new hallway exhibit honoring the capitol.
somali oral history documents newest immigrants
A group of young women are chatting amongst themselves, discussing a French language test one of them has the next day at school. She rolls her eyes and says, "I have learned five languages, but French is too hard!" Other girls name the multiple languages they speak, and several agree that they are having a hard time retaining all of them.
Of the three languages many have in common--Somali, Swahili, and English--it's Swahili, the language spoken in Kenyan refugee camps, that they are losing the fastest. These young women are living the history of many Minnesotans, past and present, trying to make a home in their new country while remaining true to their traditional ways. Minnesota has the largest Somali community in the country and there are many stories to tell.
Now, schools across the state have access to a free DVD documenting some of these amazing stories. Filmed and edited by fifteen young Somali women, this documentary was created as part of an oral history project led by the Minnesota Historical Society. Over an 18-month period, the young women received training in oral history methods, digital technology, and language skills.
"It is a good opportunity to learn about Somali culture and educate others about it," says Fardus Osman, one of the film's co-creators. The film investigates cultural identity and adjusting to life in America. Covering topics from wearing the hijab to difficulties encountered in school, the film explores what life is like for Somali students, teachers, and elders living in the Twin Cities.
Lead your students on this unique journey of cultural exploration. To order a free copy for your classroom, contact Andy Wilhide at 651-215-6844 or by email.
This project was funded through a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, along with the Minnesota Historical Society. It was created in conjunction with CommonBond Communities, the largest affordable housing project in the Twin Cities.
make history with the president At our ball
On Sunday, Jan. 23, educators and families will have the chance to experience one of the History Center's most popular field trips this year, "Making History with the President." This engaging performance, written for grades 4 and up, entertains adults and youths alike. Performed by the Galumph Interactive Theater, the play will take you back in time to advise a president just before he makes an important decision.
The opportunity comes as part of the History Center's Presidential Sundays program. Experience the sights and sounds of the 1865 Presidential Inaugural Ball with special guests President Abraham Lincoln and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. The Living History Society of Minnesota will perform historical dances and music while visitors create and model their own 19th-century political kerchiefs. Included with regular admission.
Have you and your students visited The American Presidency exhibit yet? Don't miss this unique exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution. Open through May 15, 2005.
new video curriculum explores minnesota's 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.
This visually stunning and groundbreaking 4-part documentary series is recommended for grades 6-12. It features nature videography from across the state, never before seen historic images, and state-of-the-art animations and historic recreations.
The series will be broadcast on Feb. 21. and 22 on TPT2. To purchase, visit the series' web site. A teacher's guide will be available soon.
Produced by the Twin Cities Public Television and the College of Natural Resources, University of Minnesota.
Back to top.
northern Lights Minnesota history Curriculum
I have taught Minnesota history for the past 11 years. I am lucky because I get to teach social studies for 40-50 minutes a day. We do current events daily, along with Minnesota history. I have been using the Northern Lights curriculum for years, and I really enjoy the second edition.
We just finished Chapter 6 with a book test. After learning about the different treaties, our classes had a debate about whether or not the Dakota should have signed the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux. Those representing the Dakota did a great job, as did those representing the U.S. It was neat to hear the students' views and their points. I was the mediator during the debate.
We also do a project that goes with Chapters 7 and 10, which relates to Swift County. The students work in partners or groups and research a topic or building. Examples may be businesses or how diary farming has changed. The students use the Swift County Historical Society (they are great to work with and it's in Benson) to get their information. Students make a timeline, interview people associated with their topic, and give oral presentations. The students have really enjoyed this project, as have their parents.
--Scott Gonnerman, Grade 6, Benson, MN
Do you have a classroom idea you'd like to share with other educators? Please contact us with your idea. If your idea is chosen, we'll send you a free book from the Minnesota Historical Society Press.