Somali Dance and Weaving Featured in 2019 at MN History Center

For immediate release

Release dated: 
January 2, 2019
Media contacts: 

Lauren Peck, 651-259-3137,
Jessica Kohen, 651-259-3148,

Somali Dance and Weaving Featured in 2019 at MN History Center

Following the civil war that broke out in Somalia in 1991 large numbers of immigrants began arriving in Minnesota and today the state is home to the largest population of Somalis in the United States.

Through the migration process, traditional lifeways are often disrupted. But Somalis in Minnesota are working to preserve and share their cultural traditions including Somali dance and weaving.

On Tuesday, Jan. 8, 6-8 p.m. the Somali Museum Dance Troupe will lead a free Traditional Somali Dance Night. The troupe will teach dances like the Jaandheer which means big leap or step. The dance originates in northern Somalia and is danced at most Somali weddings and festive occasions. The young men and women of the Somali Museum Dance Troupe study and perform traditional dances from all regions of Somalia. The dancers are high school and college students passionate about sharing their culture.

On Tuesday, March 19, 6-8 pm visitors can take part in a free Somali Weaving Workshop. Women design and build the traditional nomadic house called an Aqal Soomaali, including using a finger weaving technique to create colorful mats that cover their homes. In this workshop participants will learn weaving basics from some of the women who built the Aqal Soomaali for the exhibit, Ardho Ismail, Amina Shire, and Halwa Aden.

These programs are suitable for all ages and for Somali and non-Somali alike. Support is provided by the Marney and Conley Brooks Funds.

Explore more programs and events at

Somalis + Minnesota is created in partnership with the Somali Museum of Minnesota to tell the story of Somali immigrants, their arrival in their newly adopted home of Minnesota, and the successes and struggles they have faced. It is on view through June 9, 2019.

“Somalis + Minnesota” is made possible in part by the Legacy Amendment through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008. Additional support comes from Knight Foundation, 3M and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

The Minnesota History Center holds the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. The History Center is home to an innovative museum, engaging public programs, a research library, distinctive gift shops and an award-winning restaurant.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.