Minnesota’s “Greatest Generation” Exhibit to open

Marines from St. Paul on Guam, 1944.

The Minnesota History Center’s newest exhibit, "Minnesota’s Greatest Generation: The Depression, The War, The Boom," opens on May 23.

The exhibit features more than 6,000 square feet of artifacts, interactive displays, and innovative multimedia experiences to reveal the lives and stories of the men and women who came of age during the Depression and World War II and who went on to create the phenomenal postwar boom.

Every generation faces the world as it was given to them, and strives to leave it safer for the next. For those who came of age in mid-20th century America, the challenges were particularly daunting.

After a childhood overshadowed by the Great Depression, world war rushed these young men and women into adulthood. This generation’s endurance and ingenuity brought not only wartime victory but unprecedented prosperity in the post-war years. In recognition of their courage and in gratitude for their efforts, many have called them the "Greatest Generation."

A part of the exhibit will include "In Their Words: Stories of Minnesota’s Greatest Generation"; a collection of more than 150 personal stories that follow members of this remarkable generation through the pivotal decades of the Depression, the War, and the Boom. It is illustrated with more than 900 photographs, objects and other materials found in the Minnesota Historical Society’s Collections and shared by storytellers. Included is a segment documenting the Minnesota Civilian Conservation Corps Experience.

 To help kick off the new exhibit, the Museum is planning three days of family activities, including dance workshops, sing-alongs, cooking demonstrations, discussion with exhibit curator Brian Horrigan, and a Memorial Day Honor and Remembrance Ceremony. All events will be held at the Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd W., St. Paul, Minn.

A highlight will be the RetroRama on May 21. It promises a rollicking review of the popular culture of the last century. Produced by Anna Lee, DJ’d by Jake Rudh and styled by Eclecticoiffeur, the runway show "Fashion Comes Full Circle," is emceed by FM 107.1’s Colleen Kruse and features Twin Cities designers who have taken inspiration from five decades of style: the 20s through the 60s. Enjoy shopping at a vintage boutique courtesy of Via’s Vintage Wear and Swank Retro, try a round of mid-century trivia with Chuck and Sean of Trivia Mafia and make a souvenir corsage or boutonniere. Pick up a few tips on old school entertaining with Chowgirls Catering as they share a few recipes. Bartenders from Bradstreet Craftshouse Restaurant will demonstrate classic mixology. To round out the night, enjoy the foot-stomping, gritty tunes of "A Night in the Box". RetroRama runs from 7 to 11 p.m. The fee is $15 or $12 members. Reservations are recommended; call 651-259-3015 or purchase tickets online at www.mnhs.org/retrorama.

The Society’s calendar of events is posted online at www.mnhs.org. The web site also has information about all of the Society’s programs, museums and historic sites. To request a free guide to museums and historic sites, call 1-800-657-3773.

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