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Creating a great exhibit requires several skills:
  • spatial sensibility for visual anchors and traffic flow
  • design capabilities to give each exhibit a look and feel through colors and fonts
  • research skills to get the facts straight and write labels
  • that "something extra."
Our Brown County Historical Society exhibit, Never Shall I Forget: Brown County and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, (upper left) received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. We incorporated not just good stories but immersive experiences such as a multimedia recreation of the Erd basement — a refuge for women and children during the battles of New Ulm. The exhibit was further enhanced by eight "learning stations" with video commentary by historians, plus "Faces of New Ulm," a touch screen interactive with nearly 1,000 biographies.

Our 2017 exhibit, Loyalty and Dissent: Brown County and WWI (lower left), also was given an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History as well as a Minnesota History Award. The exhibit included an interactive walk-thru WWI trench as well as a video installation that included oral history interviews with local people who lived through those difficult years. As Michael Lansing wrote: "As an academic historian who studies the World War I home front, I can assure you that this exhibit shows real integrity. It also represents a successful effort to engage everyone from county residents to out-of-town tourists to school-age audiences (the rights and freedoms room clearly connects to a number of Minnesota’s social studies standards for secondary school students). This is a difficult balance to strike, one worthy of attention. Simply put, this is not just another county historical society commemoration of the war on the event of its centennial. This was something special."

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