Smithsonian Institution exhibit opens Sunday, Oct. 25
By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN - The Dassel Area Historical Society is getting prepared for the exciting opportunity of having a traveling exhibit from the prestigious Smithsonian Institution, based in Washington, DC.
Fifteen crates recently arrived at the Dassel museum from the Minnesota Machinery Museum in Hanley Falls, MN, where the “Between Fences” exhibit was last.
More than 20 volunteers have been preparing to be docents, who are educated to guide visitors through the exhibit.
Visitors can tour the exhibit on their own during museum hours or get the full experience by making an appointment with a docent. A tour schedule will be determined.
The traveling exhibit will be in Dassel for six weeks, from Sunday, Oct. 25 through Saturday, Dec. 5, and will include four separate programs with local speakers and entertainers. There will also be a special opening program, Sunday, Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. with refreshments following.
The DAHS Museum is just one of six sites in rural Minnesota to host the traveling Smithsonian exhibit, which will explore the literal and figurative meanings of fences throughout US history.
“We are very pleased to be able to bring ‘Between Fences’ to our area,” said Carolyn Holje, director of the DAHS.
“Between Fences” will explore the multiple meanings behind the everyday icon of the fence through a selection of artifacts, photographs, and illustrations, according to Holje.
“[Its] purpose is to help people understand the different kinds of fences we encounter in life, including those that are physical and those that are invisible,” Holje explained.
The question will also be asked, “Do fences make good neighbors?”
Since the exhibit is in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, the DAHS, and the Minnesota Humanities Center, there will be national, state, and local components surrounding the topic of fences.
On the local level, the DAHS will focus on two aspects the ethnic clusters of early settlers, including artifacts illustrating their lives; and the barriers between farmers and main street merchants, highlighting work of a local politician, the late Magnus Johnson.
There is also an educational component, with a group of eight retired teachers working on material to present to Dassel-Cokato students.
The state component will address the fences that have been built between the settlers and the American Indians and how they view land use compared with the European settlers.
Dates to remember
There will be a special presentation with music by Minnesota folk singer and song writer Charlie McGuire Thursday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.
McGuire will also be visiting with Dassel Elementary fourth grade classrooms during the day interacting with students regarding the themes and concepts of the exhibit.
Then, Dassel resident Richard Tormanen will share “Between Fences Finns” on the culture of Finnish settlers in the Dassel and Cokato area Sunday, Nov. 8 at 2 p.m.
Macalester College professor and geographer Dr. David Lanegran will give a presentation Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. Lanegran will also be at the Dassel-Cokato High School that day addressing the topic of fences in people’s daily lives.
Dassel natives Julie Lindquist and Harland Anderson will share songs and stories about Swedish settlers, along with the early settlers from Kentucky Sunday, Nov. 22 at 2 p.m.
The Dassel Area Historical Society is located at 901 First Street, Dassel and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. During the exhibit, the museum will also be open Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Monday evening from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
There is no admission charge for any of the events or exhibits.
For more information, or to schedule a tour, call the museum at (320) 275-3077.