Tag: Minnesota History Center
Martin Luther King Jr. Day seemed an appropriate time for our family to visit the Minnesota History Center, which currently features the acclaimed 1968 Exhibit through February 20, 2012. Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis in June of 1968 and his death and the impact he had on America culture is one of the many seminal events of that year chronicled in the multimedia, interactive exhibit. As with all MHC’s displays, 1968 is a unique and effective blend of fascinating historical material for adults as well as a fun and meaningful way for kids to learn about our State and Nation’s past.
In wondering through the exhibit, it’s hard to imagine a more turbulent time in recent American history. In addition to Dr. King’s assassination and the subsequent riots that swept across the country, the Vietnam War, Tet Offensive and anti-war movement is well-documented, both in terms of historical context and also the impact it had on everyday lives. To illustrate a classic MHC learning tool, the exhibit has a full-sized “Huey” helicopter on display, with a video projected inside the craft, featuring archival footage and people from this area sharing their stories of the war.
Told within the context of a month by month timeline, the exhibit also tells the stories of the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, the Democratic National Convention, the rise of feminism and the 1968 Summer Olympics among other major events of that year.
In spite of the weightiness of these topics, lighter aspects of American life are also chronicled, such as the look of a common American living room, music, fashion, technology and other cultural imprints. For children, there’s the chance to try their hand at a rotary telephone, typewriter, phonograph and other relics from the area. One highlight was the chance to create their own custom album cover, which can be emailed as a keepsake.
We had a chance to visit a couple of the other ongoing exhibits at the History Center. Weather Permitting is always a favorite. My kids can’t get enough of the “tornado house,” a re-creation of 1960′s basement with a multimedia presentation of what it was like to experience a tornato that ripped through Fridley in 1965. Even Minnesota’s Greatest Generation offers kid-friendly displays and activities, including a period pinball machine and interactive drugstore soda fountain.
The 1968 Exhibit is around for another month at the MHC before it takes to the road for a national tour, check it out with your family, you won’t be disappointed. For more information on the exhibit, including timelines, a blog and videos, go to the1968exhibit.com. For more on the Minnesota History Center including tickets, hours and location, go to minnesotahistorycenter.org.
Real Haunted Tours at the Mounds
Theatrical freak outs are the name of the game at the Mounds Theater this month, where you can explore the nooks and crannies of the 1920s historic property. Noted as one of St. Paul’s most haunted spots by various paranormal experts, The Mounds is rumored to house three resident ghosts, who we’re quite sure will be in prime form just in time for you to tour the spooky space.
Daily through October 30 / $20
Mounds Theater, 1029 Hudson Rd., St. Paul
Shadows and Spirits at the Capitol
As if politics weren’t scary enough, the state capitol opens its doors for an eerie after-dark tour that will not only entertain, but will school you in historical tales of years past. Hear spectral re-tellings from old-timey figures such as a civil war vet, a night watchman, and more. To make things appropriately scare-worthy, the capital will be dimmed to turn of the century lighting conditions. Tours last one hour and tours leave every 30 minutes.
Daily, October 20-29th / $7-$10
Minnesota State Capital, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd, St. Paul
1968 Scary Movie Night
In conjunction with the Minnesota History Center’s new exhibit, 1968, clips from a fleet of era-appropriate scary flicks will be screened, along with colorful commentary from Twin Cities arty smarty, Andy Sturdevant. Play-act along to select scenes from films such as Rosemary’s Baby, George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and more. Prizes, trivia, popcorn, candy, and a cash bar will round things out. Awards for the best Mia Farrow “Rosemary” haircut will be given out as well.
Monday, October 31st / $12 ($10 for MHS members)
Minnesota History Center, 345 W Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul
Victorian Ghost Stories
Get a fancy scare at the James J. Hill House this month, as the historic mansion opens up its decadent parlor for a series of dramatic readings by costumed actors Craig Johnson, Laura Salveson and Ann Daly. Hear classic tales from the likes of Edgar Allen Poe, Edith Wharton, and the Brother’s Grimm, and more, plus a few “true” ghost stories that will likely send a chill up your spine. After the presentation, take a tour of the beautifully maintained Hill House and enjoy a cup of hot apple cider while you’re at it. Not recommended for children under the age of 8.
Oct 16th, 23rd, & 30th / $10 ($8 for MHS members)
James J. Hill House, 240 Summit Ave, St. Paul
On Thursday, the Minnesota History Center once again hosted RetroRama. In its fifth year (and my fifth year styling it), the show also served as the final time Voltage producer and MNfashion founder Anna Lee would direct and host the show. Every year, the show presents a handful of authentic vintage looks paired with retro-inspired looks by local designers. This year’s theme, underwear – presented on burlesque dancers as models – was certainly a contributing factor in the show’s sellout status, and was inspired by the Minnesota History Center’s new “Underwear” exhibition highlighting the history of Minnesota-born underwear brand Munsingwear. Since I was involved with the show personally, I won’t attempt to review it objectively, and instead am posting photos and descriptions.
Heather Luca of Scoundrelle’s Keep has the theme of “restriction,” Munsingwear’s general theme in the ’50s that harkened back to Victorian corsetry. The model wore jewelry by local line Bionic Unicorn.
Sarah White of Jagress Intimates offered a humorous take on the garter belt with her underwear set that included a gartered skirt.
Christopher Straub (who was out of town during the event) presented a look inspired by the machinery of Munsingwear’s factory with screen-printed fabric featuring an original print by Straub and an external “caged” corset and headpiece. There was some criticism that the headpiece and look in general was too similar to Seth Aaron Henderson’s SolarWorld collection presented at Sol Inspirations, but metal caged masks aren’t exactly anything new. (Victor & Rolf featured them in their F/W 2006 show – which Gaga infamously donned at Sir Elton John’s Ball in June 2010.) Either way, it’s fun seeing the designer push himself in edgier directions with his fashions, though it’s hard to detect a style that is distinctly Christopher Straub.
Danielle Everine continued on her sheer look she presented during Voltage last month with this look inspired by Munsingwear’s push for active lifestyles in some of their 1940s ads. The sheerness of the garments allows the viewer to see every seam and stitch that goes into each piece – a really intriguing concept that is quite lovely and uniquely Danielle Everine.
Samantha Rei of Blasphemina’s Closet played with her theme of “exposure” by exposing the knickers of her models via a sweet floral print against sorbet green.
Here I am backstage with some of the “authentic look” models. Unfortunately I haven’t come up with any better photos of them, but the necklace on the model on the left is by Bionic Unicorn, and the flower hair clip is by Anna Lee’s line Ruby3.
The guests were also super stylish:
Here I am with designers Ivan Idland and Maritza Ramirez. Maritza and I are both wearing Ivan Idland designs, Maritza’s having been from 2010′s RetroRama.
The history of modern underwear can be traced to none other than Minnesota’s own Munsingwear. The Minnesota History Center’s new exhibit “Underwear: A Brief History” (opening today) offers an in-depth look at the history of the underwear manufacturing industry via the Center’s extensive collection of Munsingwear, a company that revolutionized the underwear industry as we know it. The exhibit showcases 50 pieces from more than 100 years of Munsingwear product samples (which were donated to the museum by the company).
The exhibition also comes just in time for the release of Susan Marks’ new book, In the Mood for Munsingwear: Minnesota’s Claim to Underwear Fame, which details the history of the brand and its lasting impact on textile manufacturing.
The MHC’s annual RetroRama fashion show and event on May 12 will also feature an underwear theme, with burlesque dancers-as-models wearing vintage lingerie and vintage-inspired looks by Christopher Straub, Sarah White of Jagress Intimates, Samantha Rei of Blasphemina’s Closet, Danielle Everine and Heather Luca of Scoundrelle’s Keep.
Exhibition opens today and runs through September 11, 2011. Museum admission is $8-10. RetroRama takes place 7-10 p.m. Thursday, May 12. Tickets are $12-15. Minnesota History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul, 651-259-3000, www.mnhs.org
Bet you didn’t know the art of the pinup was born in Minnesota – not to mention the lingerie industry. The naughtier side of Minnesota history is getting exposed (pun intended) tonight at the Minnesota History Center’s ongoing History of Hip series.
The spotlight tonight is on the life, times and pinup illustrations of St. Paul native Gil Elvgren, often referred to as “the Norman Rockwell of Cheesecake.” And for good reason: he single-handedly revolutionized the pinup industry, influencing retrophiles for years to come, and the recent wave of burlesque stars and pinup-style fashions over the past decade. Good thing he opted for illustrating over architecture, which he studied at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts before eventually embarking to Chicago. From the mid-’30s until 1972, Elvgren produced more than 500 paintings, later compiled in the book The Great American Pinup.
Also a heated topic of discussion will be Mungingwear, a Minneapolis-based underwear manufacturer that, by 1923, became the largest manufacturer in the world producing underwear. Susan Marks, author of In the Mood for Munsingwear: Minnesota’s Claim to Underwear Fame, will be on hand to share some of the company’s more provocative campaigns.
The program is free; beer, wine and food will be available for purchase. 7:30 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul, 651-259-3000, www.mnhs.org
Ah, Chocolate. Whoever had the brilliant idea to take beans from the rainforest and turn them into something that would be coveted by housewives worldwide must have been a genius. But who knows how the famed treat was really originated? The Minnesota History Center does. Starting the Saturday and running through January 2nd, Chocolate: The Exhibition will be on view.
On loan from the Chicago Field Museum, this traveling treat will fill you in on the real history of chocolate, from the plant to the products and everything in between. Learn how chocolate played a role in pop culture and history; see Mayan, Aztec and 17th century artifacts from some of the early chocolate makers and embark on a journey through a delicious history. Did you know that in 16th-century Mexico cacao seeds were so valuable they were used as money? Follow the timeline on up to the introduction of chocolate to Europe and subsequently the world. Believe us, you’ll never think of that candy bar the same way again.
There’s so much going on in St. Paul this summer that we simply can’t cover it all ourselves. Check out this week’s link roundup of the many happenings in St. Paul.
Vita.mn art director Leslie Plesser shoots the Art Bra-wearing, burlesque-infused action at last Saturday’s Racktacular benefit at the Turf Club. (via LOL OMG!) City Pages also has a slideshow of pix.
City Pages has a slideshow of images from the Beatles’ exhibition at the Minnesota History Center.
Once again, the Minnesota Historical Society’s annual fashion-infused event RetroRama is returning to the grounds of the Minnesota History Center. The MNfashion-produced show is one of my favorite events to style every year, as it gives me the chance to delve deeper into retro style inspiration and explore how it affects modern fashion.
As usual, a crop of some of the most exquisite local fashion designers known for incorporating retro style inspiration will showcase one fantastic piece inspired by a decade from the 20th century. This year’s designers include Ivan Idland (1920s), Joy Teiken of Joynoelle (1930s), George Moskal (1940s), Max Lohrbach (1950s), and Kerry Riley of Red Shoe Clothing Co. (1960s). Each took a particular leisure activity popular in the decade as a point of inspiration. Here’s the designer’s sketches to give you a glimpse into what to expect at Thursday’s show:
More on RetroRama:
Guests can also pick up retro accessories at the Minnesota History Center stores, and unearth unique finds at vintage boutiques, courtesy of Blacklist Vintage, Spectacle Shoppe, and Spinario Design.
Belt out favorite oldies with Joel Stitzel in the karaoke lounge, and make throwback specs, courtesy of the Spectacle Shoppe. Who knows more about specs than Ben Franklin? Learn about the man who invented bi-focals in the History Center exhibit “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World.” Visit with chef Dan Ritter as he shares a few tips on mid century cuisine and bartender Ryan Eklund from Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge and Tiki Garden will be on hand to demonstrate a few delicious cocktail recipes. Members of Dark Dark Dark provide a musical backdrop to the evening.
Vintage attire is encouraged. For inspiration, visit www.mnhs.org/retrorama and check out past RetroRama evenings with an online video showcasing some of the most fashion-forward vintage looks. Plus, explore a timeline of fashion history from the 1920s through the 1960s.
RetroRama is May 13, from 7 to 11 p.m. The fee is $15 or $12 for Minnesota Historical Society members. Parking is $5. Cash bars will be available and snacks can be purchased. Advanced tickets are recommended; for more information, call 651-259-3015 or purchase tickets online at www.mnhs.org/retrorama.
It’s an acoustic weekend in St. Paul, with national heavyweights Jason Mraz and Dar Williams, along with local favorites Haley Bonar, who is back with her first local show since moving to Portland earlier this summer, and Michael Rossetto and Nicholas Lemme of Spaghetti Western String Co. Other highlights: The Nightowl Classic Bike Ride makes its way from Minneapolis to St. Paul; Jazz Implosion at the Clown Lounge; and local calypso music at the Minnesota History Center’s 9 Nights of Music.
THURSDAY: Jason Mraz, K’Naan, G. Love & Special Sauce + Bushwalla at Xcel Energy Center
Sure, Jason Mraz is a huge star, finding success with his blues-pop sound that only seems to be expanding with last year’s We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. The Virginian singer-songwriter will try his hand on putting his intimate sound in the colossal Xcel, with a slew of energetic openers, K’Naan being the most intriguing of which. The Somali-born Canadian hip-hop artist blends an African folk influence into his songs about poverty, injustice, and of course, Somali pirates. (7 p.m. $25-45. All ages. 199 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. 651-265-4800.)
Also Thursday: Music in Mears features Latin hip hop band Maria Isa and a screening of “Field of Dreams”; Ghostband turn up the volume with their difficult-to-categorize trippy electro sound at Big V’s.
The Kimono Show
Friday, August 7th
Reception 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Through September 5th
Tonight’s festive opening reception at the Artists’ Mercantile is a doozy. Lay eyes on gorgeous Japanese kimonos of all shapes, styles and colors. The opening reception will include an Origami paper folding demo, appetizers from Sakura, Asian-inspired art of all mediums by local artists, and a raffle to win your very own kimono! Don’t miss this vibrant exhibit based on Japanese tradition, and the beauty surrounding it.
The Artists’ Mercantile, 24 West 7th Place, St. Paul