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‘On the Campaign Trail’ exhibit now open at DAHS

September 8, 2008

Exhibit features buttons, posters, and life-size presidential candidates

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

The Dassel Area Historical Society debuted it’s new exhibit at the Ergot Building, “On the Campaign Trail” just in time for the upcoming election season.

David Broesder has been collecting campaign buttons ever since he was 13 years old when his sister brought home a Lyndon B. Johnson button from college.

Broesder resides in Minneapolis and works at an architect. He has been vacationing in the area for about 40 years now with his wife, Barb, at his in-laws, Jim and Til Preston of Hutchinson, who have a cabin on Lake Jennie.

The exhibit, which is located on the fourth level of the Dassel museum, consists of Broesder’s collection of political memorabilia from 1932 to 1994 elections.

Among his collection on display are 750 political buttons, such as “I Like Ike,” 18 candidate posters, including a large hand-painted poster of Jimmy Carter that Broesder made himself while working for the Carter-Mondale presidential campaign in 1976; bumper stickers, and much more.

Visitors of this exhibit will also have a chance to have their picture taken with their favorite presidential candidate.

Broesder created two full-size caricatures of current presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama and modeled them after caricatures from the Star Tribune and The New Yorker.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to practice voting prior to the Nov. 4 election by voting for what they liked best about the exhibit and who their favorite president was or is.

Along with Broesder, other committee members working on the exhibit was Mary Jensen, Joyce Aakre, and Ronette Doering.

The exhibit has been evolving ever since Broesder walked through the Magnus Johnson exhibit at the Dassel museum, according to Julie Lindquist, former Dassel museum director.

That’s when the idea for the temporary exhibit was brought to the historical society board, according to Lindquist.

For Broesder, collecting political memorabilia was a way for him to investigate history, Barb said, who recalls her husband packing up the car with her and the children and going to different political conventions.

“It’s always nice when someone has a passion,” Barb said.

What Lindquist has enjoyed about the exhibit is reading the text Broesder has written to go along with the election memorabilia telling a story of that particular time.

“[The exhibit] has inspired interests and memories, and that’s what [the historical society] is all about,” Lindquist said.

The exhibit will be available for viewing through Dec. 1, according to Carolyn Holje, museum director.

POW memories displayed

The Dassel Area Historical Society has another smaller display of area residents’ memories of German POWs working in the area during World War II.

The display was in conjunction with a traveling exhibit put on by the TRACES Center for History and Culture based out of the Landmark Center in St. Paul.

The traveling exhibit which was done inside a converted school bus was available for viewing over Red Rooster Days.

With Dassel and Cokato’s own history of the German POWs working in and around the area, the museum was encouraged to have a small companion exhibit.

The display, which will also be up through Dec. 1, features memories from locals who encountered these POWs who had been in the area working for Northland Canning Company.

Visitors will be able to read stories from locals such as Delmond Borg of Cokato, John Rokala of Dassel, Jeanette Servin of Darwin, and Evelyn Madson of Dassel.

For example, Rokala recalls a POW coming to his Kingston school requesting to play the piano.

This particular POW had been a piano teacher in his homeland and most likely missed playing the piano for his students.

The Dassel museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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