Random Thoughts: Change, Primary Sources & Other Stuff

Posts Tagged ‘Winona Minnesota

The new Mississippi River bridge connecting Winona, Minnesota to Wisconsin (NORTH)  was dedicated yesterday (August 26).  It was a wonderful and fun event attended by many including the usual mix of local and state dignitaries. I especially enjoyed seeing what will be in a Winona time capsule that will be placed inside the new bridge.  A few of the items people may be able to view in the future include

  • Artifacts representing the Winona’s higher education institutions: Winona State University, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical
  • Products from local manufacturers such as St. Croix knits sweater, a Winona State  University pennant from Wincraft, and a Peerless Chain link
  • Hot Companies, Cool Jobs, a Chamber of Commerce publication
  • A high school yearbook and a working laptop with the School District’s Winhawk mascot as a screen saver (Will the computer still be functional when the time capsule is opened many years into the century?)
  • A Jim Heinlen print of Winona’s architectural highlights
  • Commemorative magnets t-shirts and caps
  • A Great River Shakespeare festival poster depicting the Mississippi River and bluffs;  it is also by autographed by company members
  • Tributes to notable Winona State theater professor Vivian Fusillo
  • Copies of current local newspapers (Winona Daily News and the Winona Post)  including special publications about the old and new interstate bridges
  • . . . and an autograph book to preserve the names of people who attended the dedication
  • . . . and much more

It’s a great and appropriate collection representing Winona 2016!

What would you include in a time capsule representing you community?

An abundance of photos!  (Winona Daily News, August 28, 2016)

 

1942_2016_bridges.jpg

A first drive across the new bridge from the North and Wisconsin. The iconic and historic old bridge will be the bridge to Wisconsin when all construction is complete.

 

FromWisc

The same familiar city sites and bluffs to the South.

 

Winona. Quiet bridge!

The “old” bridge was quiet for a week in 2008 when it was closed for repair

 

The Polish Cultural Institute and Museum celebrates Winona’s Kashubian heritage and the prominent role Kashubian Poles and their descendants have played in Winona’s history and culture since the mid 1800’s.
wagon_mural

The museum is located in the original headquarters of the Laird-Norton Lumber Company, a large lumber mill that operated during Winona’s heyday as a lumber milling town. Many immigrants were employed in the lumber industry.

Notable exhibits include wedding dresses and photos, household tools, lumber and farming tools, household objects,musical instruments, photos, religious artifacts and contemporary history artifacts.

fabric_artifactsGrants and other funding have provided opportunities  to translate, digitize and archive archives and documents.  A portion of the web site is in Polish Language translation services are provided by a young man who immigrated to Winona from Poland as a nine year-old.

The museum’s web site has biographical information on many deceased and living Winonans of Polish, links to genealogy sites, a list of pictures and stories related to Winona landmarks with Polish and Kashubian connections. The original (Washington) Kosciuszko School, the Hot Fish Shop and the Basilica of Saint Stanislaus Kostka are examples of significant local structures represented.

wordsThe Heritage and Community center has a large pictorial timeline display reflecting significant events and people (including contemporaries.)  A large sign showing language differences in English, Polish and Kashubian spellings caught my eye. The adjacent heritage house is furnished with artifacts representing Polish culture and used as a guest house.

The impressive museum is maintained by people who are passionate about preserving their heritage. Notable exhibits include wedding dresses, wedding photos, household tools, lumber and farming tools, vehicles, musical instruments, photos, religious artifacts and contemporary history artifacts.  Many Winonans and residents of Western Wisconsin where Kashubians also settled maintain ties with Winona’s sister city Bytow.  What’s in your backyard?

Resources
Polish Museum of Winona
Laird Norton Company & Family Foundation

I can remember the time I spent in this state park. We had to work at Plainview in the cannery. I enjoyed very much the landscape surrounding us. The trees, the rocks. It was similar to Germany.
Ernst Kohleick, former POW, 1974.

A major character in Chris Bohjalian’s Skeletons at the Feast is a Scottish prisoner of war working on a family estate in Eastern Germany as Russian forces are invading at the end of World War II. German internees are employed on a farm during an episode of the British detective series Foyle’s War. Both situations renewed my interest in learning more about the German POW camp at Whitewater State Park in Southeast Minnesota, a short distance from my home. Housed in a former Civilian Conservation Core barracks, POWs worked on area farms and in canning factories. They were paid a minimum wage so they could resettle in Germany after the war. Friendships developed between POWS and county residents, including some of German descent. Some POW returned to the area in the 1970’s to revisit the former campsite; some oral interviews were recorded.

German_POW

Wounded German prisoners being loaded aboard a United States Army transport plane at an advance air base in North Africa (Library of Congress)

Camp Whitewater POWs were from North African and Normandy campaigns. Whitewater was one of 20 POW camps in Minnesota and a “branch” of the Algona, Iowa base camp. On Veterans Day an area television station broadcast a video featuring the camp setting, an interview with the park naturalist, and historic photos.

 

A tornado destroyed the Whitewater camp barracks in 1953 leaving few visible remains. There are, however, primary sources about camps in Minnesota and other states available in digital collections.  A comprehensive starting place is The Library of Congress State Memory Collections Portal.  One Minnesota Reflections artifact is a Letter from Alois Sauer to Henry Peterson in Moorhead, Minnesota. Sauer shared fond memories of his time at in Minnesota:

AloisSauer_1The time I lived in America, especially on your farm, was the best of my life. I learnt [learned] this, when I came as a prisoner from the U.S. to France. What a contrast! In the U.S. we had plenty to eat and the people were so good to us, and there in France we met only hunger and hate. And when I returned at home the conditions were not much better. Our food-rations were and are still today terrible small, and I often wanted to have only a small amount of the foods I got in the USA.

More resources

German POWs, treatment of POWs and unlikely friendships between POWS and civilians are timely classroom topics!

Historical fiction suggestions

  • Bohjalian, Chris. Skeletons at the Feast. Crown, 2008. For older readers.
  • Greene, Bette. Summer of My German Soldier. Puffin Modern Classics, 2006. Story of a young Jewish girl in Arkansas and a German POW. For middle level readers
  • Dallas, Sandra. Tallgrass. St. Martin’s, 2007.  Weaves the story of an unlikely friendship between  internees at a Colorado Internment Camp and a beet farmer’s family throughout the book. A parallel plot is the anti-Japanese behavior and attitudes of other community citizens. Upper middle level and senior high readers.

Primary sources offer exciting possibilities for all content areas
Learn how to find and use primary sources in your classroom!

 

Quilt_1b

Get Carried Away ~ 2014 Great River Shakespeare Festival ~ Photo by Sydney Swanson

A Stitch in Time Turns a Dime.  Our quilt made the Front Page, Winona Daily News July 24, 2014.

In May I described the inspiration for the design of this year’s Great River Shakespeare raffle quilt.  The post also has links to primary sources about quilts. Our 2014 GRSF  “Get Carried Away, Birds in the Air” themed quilt is complete and hanging in the Festival’s performance lobby.  The original painting that inspired the quilt design is nearby.  It is incredibly beautiful and a true collaborative project. We are thrilled and excited.

Quilts have a major role in Sue Monk Kidd’s newest novel, The Invention of Wings (Penguin, 2014).  The historical fiction novel expands on (and heavily imagines) an actual relationship between abolitionist Sarah Grimke and her house slave, Handful. Charlotte, Handful’s mother, the Grimke household seamstress, creates story quilts telling stories of life in Africa and America.  She wouldn’t say what happened to her with words. She would tell it in the cloth

Red and Black triangular quilt blocks also are described in Monk’s book.  In Africa, her mauma was quilter, best there is. They was Fon people and sewed applique, same like I do. They cut out fishes, birds, lions, elephants, every beat they had, and sewed em on, but the quilt your granny-mauma brought with her didn’t have no animals on it, just little three-side shapes, what you call a triangle. Same like I put on my quilts. My mauma say they was blackbird wings.

Kidd used many primary sources and visited historic sites as she prepared to write the novel. The quilts that inspired Kidd as she researched background information  for the novel were created by Harriet Powers, a slave.  Powers’ quilts are archived at the Smithsonian Museum of American History and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  Powers is highlighted in Americas Library,  a Library of Congress selection of primary sources young learners.  Powers is also featured in Seven Southern Quilters from the University of Virginia.  Stitching Stars: The Story Quilts of Harriet Powers (Mary Lyons) is an ALA notable book for children.

Have you seen quilts that tell a story? What stories do your quilts tell?   Quilts are primary sources too!

May 6 post: Quilts are Primary Sources too!  Includes links to primary sources about quilts and a photo of the original painting.
Season 10 Great River Shakespeare Festival Quilt ( Mary Lee Eischen, Breeze on My Skin, June 8, 2013)
Great River Shakespeare  Festival

carried_away

Get Carried Away, GRSF 2014. Painting based on an original painting by Julia Crozier

Let us, ciphers to this great account, on your imaginary forces work.
Chorus, King Henry V, Act I Prologue, William Shakespeare

 

Each year a group of quilters create a raffle quilt highlighting  Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF) costume shop fabrics. The inspiration for this year’s “Will Quilt” group was the Festival’s Get Carried Away tagline and the season poster of birds flying.

Our own imaginary forces guided us to select fabrics in the poster’s color palette and design a quilt reflecting the poster’s theme. Fabrics used in costumes for King Lear, Cordelia, Olivia, King Henry, Desdemona and a host of other Shakespearean characters are combined with quilt cottons in a traditional “Birds in the Air” design.

Our quilt tells a story about GRSF.  It also depicts a historical story connected to freedom and possibly the Underground Railroad. The connection between  the “Birds in the Air” design origin and the Underground Railroad is uncertain, but the design is an inspiration for many variations and fictional books. A few suggested links for learning more are below.

Creating a GRSF quilt is an annual project. Ten unique blocks representing ten plays recalled a decade of plays in our 2013 quilt. Our 2012 art quilt wall hanging included nine  panels of “wavy” fabric representing nine Festival seasons and the Mississippi River.

The Library of Congress acknowledges the stories in quilts tell and includes quilts in digital collections of primary sources. Collections include oral interviews with quilters and photos of quilt including some made by students. Historic photos show us quilting bees; historic sheet music celebrates the art of quilting. Letters tell stories.

Quilts and Quiltmaking in America 1978-1996 from the Library’s American Folklife Center is a digital collection that has recorded interviews with quiltmakers and graphic images from two collections in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress: the Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project Collection and the Lands’ End All-American Quilt Contest Collection (Text abbreviated text from the collection overview)

Searchers can also go to www.loc.gov and simply search for quilts. Select the gallery view for a quick overview.

Let your imaginary forces work to imagine the stories these quilts tell.  Come back later to see the GRSF Birds in the Air Quilt!

Using primary sources in your classroom; Online course for educators

Resources
Library of Congress Digital Collection: Quilt Making in America, 1978-1996
Civil War Quilts Reproduction Quilts and Fabric
Jennifer Chiaverini, the Runaway Quilt
Underground Railroad Quilts & Abolitionist Fairs

 

Where can I find information about. . .?      civilwarmonumnet

The First Minnesota Volunteers
Company K
Photos of Charley Goddard’s mother and brother
Charley Goddard Biography
Battle of Gettysburg primary sources
Charley Goddard letters
Charley Goddard 15 years old
Charles Goddard
Old Abe

It looks like middle level students are reading Gary Paulsen’s young adult novel Soldiers Heart; at least that’s what the search term log suggests. This post suggests resources for students and teachers who are looking for the background and historical information behind the novel. Some of these were cited in an earlier post.

Catherine Goddard SmithThe real-life Charles Goddard  lived in Winona, Minnesota, served with Company K of the 1st  Minnesota Volunteer Regiment, and fought at Gettysburg.   Regiment casualties were high and many Winona County soldiers lost their lives.  Charles survived the battle and returned to Winona.  He died in 1867 at age 24.  The Goddard family name appears often in accounts of early Winona.
Resources

What about  Old Abe?  Was he in Company K? This gallant eagle was from our neighboring State of Wisconsin, but he also served in the Battle of Gettysburg!

Photos: Civil War Memorial, Winona Veterans Memorial Park; Catherine Goddard Smith

Previous post:  Charlie Goddard and Company K

ShowBoatPlaybillMy collection of playbills began in the late 60’s when my high school English teacher introduced us to Shakespeare and took us to plays. We saw Richard Burton as Hamlet in the 1964 movie and plays at area colleges. I loved the St. Mary’s University Theater department’s performance of Sheridan’s The Rivals and put the program the fan-shaped program trimmed with doilies in my scrapbook.When I was a college student I attended Winona State University theatre department productions, had a very small role in the controversial St. Mary’s production of The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade and ushered at many others.

AresenicOldLaceMy collection grew to include programs for countless plays I enjoyed at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, 70’s era musical such as Hair and Godspell in Chicago, Winona Summer Theater, Lacrosse Community Theatre, and even programs for plays I co-redirected Caledonia High School.  Among these treasures are programs for The Man Who Came To Dinner, The Skin of our Teeth, Arsenic and Old Lace, and You Can’t Take it With You.  It’s fun to remember the students; it’s even more fun when I see them at a theater event.

CoyasHousePlaybillPlaybills from the 1990s bring back memories many trips Minneapolis to see Broadway touring productions of musicals such as Showboat at the Ordway, Cats at Northrup Auditorium, In Coya’s House at St. Paul’s History Theater, or dinner shows at The Chanhassen Dinner Theater.   Other programs evoke memories of going to the Milwaukee Rep or theaters in other cities. A huge part of the collection is over 50 programs from Lanesboro’s  Commonweal Theatre.

Some surprises.  Have I really seen The Fantasticks 5 or 6 times?   I was convinced I had only seen twice before seeing the Great River Shakespeare Festival’s production.   I can’t remember a thing about the Merry Wives of Windsor, but I apparently saw it at the Guthrie many years ago.

Lasting connections.   The box has several playbills from Winona Community Theatre productions from the late 1980’s – early 1990’s.  I was on the theatre board and was a stage manager for a couple. Some of the people I work with as a volunteer for the Great River Shakespeare people are people I met through Community theatre.  My expanding collection of Great River Shakespeare Festival playbills documents the festival’s history, actors, staff and my involvement as a Friend of Will.

Regrettably, I’ve tossed some programs from the past few years.   Those hundreds of playbills I kept tell stories about of my love of the theatre, places I’ve been, plays I’ve enjoyed, people I’ve met.  They tell the stories of theatres, the people who make them happen and for many, the community and regions strong support for the arts.  It’s impossible to name a favorite in this collection of treasures; each tells a story!

What have you collected?  Could you use your collection to make a personal primary source display?
How can I  use primary resources in the media center and classroom or to support Common Core Standards?
Teaching Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas: Using Primary Sources 


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