Museum's township series turns to VasaAs people walk into the Goodhue County History Center and take a left, they’ll head up a few stairs and go down a long hallway, passing a handful of permanent exhibits the historical society has to offer.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
As people walk into the Goodhue County History Center and take a left, they’ll head up a few stairs and go down a long hallway, passing a handful of permanent exhibits the historical society has to offer.
If they continue walking, they’ll eventually find themselves in one small room that’s ever changing.
Despite its size, the room offers tons of information about each exhibit it houses.
Currently, an exhibit about Vasa Township is being showcased. Text and photos line the room’s walls while dozens of rare and antique items fill display cases. The Vasa Township exhibit is just one in a long-running series the Goodhue County Historical Society has been working on, and it’s been drawing attention since it first opened.
“We had quite a few people from Vasa Township come and they seemed to really enjoy it,” collections manager Johanna Grothe said about the exhibit’s open house July 28.
Grothe puts together the exhibits from start to finish, beginning with about two months of studying, exploring and investigating the township’s beginnings.
“A large part of the project is doing all of that research,” she said. “Actually assembling the exhibit takes about a week.”
Some of what is featured came from the historical society’s own collection, but other pieces were provided by the Vasa Museum and individuals who have embraced the township’s history on their own.
“It’s a way to get the whole township involved,” Grothe said, adding that the more people who contribute to the exhibit, the better Vasa Township can be represented. “We want to tell stories of the people who lived there, the churches, the schools, the businesses, the community.”
In studying Vasa, Grothe found it was rich in Swedish culture and was first settled in 1853 by Swedish immigrants.
“Each township does often times have an ethnic group that settles it,” Grothe said.
Other townships in the county are predominantly Irish, Norwegian or German, Grothe added. There are 21 townships in all.
If attending the Vasa exhibit piques visitors’ interest in other townships throughout Goodhue County, they can keep returning to the history center about twice a year to learn more.
“Every six months we feature a different township,” Grothe said, adding that the series began about seven years ago. “We’re just a little over halfway done.”
Vasa comes on the heels of the Pine Island Township exhibit. Vasa will be featured until the end of December 2012.