Spirits Dancing Author Event and Exhibit Opening Mill City Museum

“Spirits Dancing” Exhibit Opening & Book Launch


704 South 2nd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
United States



About This Event

Join us for the book launch of "Spirits Dancing: The Night Sky, Indigenous Knowledge, and Living Connections to the Cosmos", an exploration of human connection to the aurora, the Milky Way, and the wonder of the universe above us, with stunning photographs by a master photographer. For millennia, humans have marveled at the night sky: the wonder of the aurora, the glory of the Milky Way, and the peace that comes with stargazing. In this remarkable book, Travis Novitsky’s photographs portray these majestic phenomena, while astrophysicist Annette S. Lee discusses how Western science and Indigenous knowledge can work together to provide a deeper understanding of our place in the universe. Light appetizers will be available at this launch. The book will be available for sale in the museum store and the photographer will sign copies of the book.

The event is also the opening of a companion exhibit “Spirits Dancing: Photographs of the Night Sky by Travis Novitsky,” which will be located in the museum’s central Mill Commons, and is free and open to the public during regular museum hours through April 7, 2024.

Novitsky has been photographing the night sky for decades, and his vibrant images reflect and transmit the experiences he has had under the night sky. Astrophysicist and artist Annette S. Lee has been teaching about the stars and creating art that shows them for more than 30 years. She provides a brief but thorough overview of how Western science explains the aurora, from the 17th-century astronomers who first studied sunspots to the 21st-century acoustic scientist who recorded their sounds. Lee also presents examples of the ways Indigenous skywatchers have seen the sky and our place in it.


More information about "Spirits Dancing: The Night Sky, Indigenous Knowledge, and Living Connections to the Cosmos"

Photography by Travis Novitsky, Text by Annette S. Lee
Minnesota Historical Society Press (Pub date: November 7, 2023)

An exploration of human connection to the aurora, the Milky Way, and the wonder of the universe above us, with gorgeous photographs by a master photographer.

Author Information

Travis Novitsky, a lifelong resident of the North Shore of Lake Superior, is a nature and wildlife photographer living in Grand Portage, Minnesota. He is most known for his images portraying the wonders of the night sky. His work is prominently featured in the documentary "Northern Nights, Starry Skies", a film that he narrated and co-produced along with PBS North and Hamline University's Center for Global Environmental Education. During the day, he works for the Minnesota DNR as the park manager at Grand Portage State Park. He is a mixed-race Native American of Ojibwe, French, Swedish, Russian, and Polish ancestry and a member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Annette S. Lee, PhD, MFA, is an award-winning visual artist, science communicator, and civic engagement leader who leads social transformation work with Indigenous communities worldwide, especially Ojibwe and D(L)akota people on Turtle Island (North America) and Mni Sota Makoce (Minnesota). She has been working at the intersection of science, art, and culture for a lifetime and continues this work as executive director of "Native Skywatchers" and as a self-employed visual artist. Annette is a member of the International Astronomical Union, and she holds academic positions as an adjunct professor, Centre for Astrophysics, University of Southern Queensland, and associate adjunct professor, Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of California-Santa Cruz, where she is also an OpenLab Arts Collaborative researcher. She is a mixed-race Native American of Lakota, Chinese, and Irish ancestry.

Event Type:
  • Lectures & Talks



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