By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN The Dassel Area Historical Society (DAHS) was recently informed that it will once again host a traveling Smithsonian exhibit next fall.
“We were thrilled to be selected,” said Dassel History Center and Ergot Museum Director Carolyn Holje. Holje and Mary Jensen will act as project coordinators in preparation for the exhibit’s arrival next September.
Many may recall that the DAHS previously was the host of a Smithsonian exhibit titled “Between Fences” in the fall of 2009. The exhibit explored both the figurative and literal meanings of fences throughout US history.
The Minnesota Humanities Center administers the traveling Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program to select communities across the state.
This past summer, Dassel applied again and has since been selected as one of six sites in the state to host the 2011 traveling exhibit.
The coming year’s exhibit is titled “New Harmonies,” which will look at the roots of music in America and how it has tracked the stories of people throughout history in their experiences and cultural identities.
There will also be a local component, which is currently in the planning stages, that will include identifying “cultural harmonies within our own community,” Holje said.
“New Harmonies” will be at the Dassel History Center from Sept. 24 to Nov. 5, 2011.
A harmony for ‘Harmonies’
Because the title of the exhibit is “New Harmonies,” the Dassel Area Historical Society wanted to be creative and include music in an effort to stand out in the application process.
“We thought we would write a song, since the theme is ‘New Harmonies,’ tape it, and send it with the application,” Holje said.
Mark Davis, production coordinator for the Sherburne- Wright Cable Commission, expanded on that idea and suggested making a music video.
Davis, along with Melissa Kraemer, a Dassel resident and a recent graduate of Moorhead State University in film, directed and produced the video.
The video included 14 Dassel residents singing to the tune, “Play a Simple Melody,” with lyrics written by Ronette Doering and Mary Jensen.
There were also about 40 volunteers who participated in a total of four hours of video taping which resulted in a four-minute completed DVD.
The lyrics to the song were:
Won’t you add to Dassel’s harmony,
Help us teach diversity?
Listen to our tuneful strategy
For creating unity.
There’s lots of space
It’s a magnificent place.
Oh, how we love the applause.
For the Smithsonian cause
The folks will ponder and pause.
If you will grant us a chance,
We’ll offer art, food and dance
The folks will flock through the door
To celebrate and adore
Our multi-cultural face.
The DVD may be viewed on-line by going to www.dassel.com/DAHS/dahs and clicking the link to New Harmonies.