United By History

by Margaret Michaletz | Mar 07, 2012
| 2 Comments
Competition Finalist

This entry has been selected as a finalist in the
Challenge III: Working Together Across Cultures and Faiths competition.

Summary:

My best idea to build bonds and work together across cultures and faiths in my community is to enable the cultures to share their history.
As a volunteer at the Steele County Historical Society, I am embarking on recording a series of oral histories by immigrants of the last seventy-five years. Like other Minnesota areas, Steele County has become a diverse community with these new immigrants. We will interview representative residents from Somalia, Mexico, Viet Nam, and the Baltics and capture the interview with a video camera. They will tell the story of their journey to Steele County. The data will be archived by the Steele County Historical Society. Together with the early German, Czech, Danish, and Norwegian settlers, the new immigrants will continue to make the history of Steele County. They will preserve artifacts that tell the story of the multi-cultural people of a southern Minnesota rural area.
We hope to collect artifacts – the asparagus knife of a Hispanic migrant worker should be preserved like the steamer trunks of our early settlers. As a Historical Society we will have an opportunity to bring the new immigrants together through our Round Table Discussion program in our new History Center. Round Table Discussions are interactive with the audience uniting attendees and facilitating a common bond.
Combining cultures at the roots of their immigration to Steele County is cohesive and contributes to the civic, social, and economic health of our community.

About You

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About You

First Name

Margaret

Last Name

Michaletz

Country

United States, MN

City

Innovation

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Title

United By History

What is your best idea to build bonds and work together across cultures and faiths in your community?

My best idea to build bonds and work together across cultures and faiths in my community is to enable the cultures to share their history.
As a volunteer at the Steele County Historical Society, I am embarking on recording a series of oral histories by immigrants of the last seventy-five years. Like other Minnesota areas, Steele County has become a diverse community with these new immigrants. We will interview representative residents from Somalia, Mexico, Viet Nam, and the Baltics and capture the interview with a video camera. They will tell the story of their journey to Steele County. The data will be archived by the Steele County Historical Society. Together with the early German, Czech, Danish, and Norwegian settlers, the new immigrants will continue to make the history of Steele County. They will preserve artifacts that tell the story of the multi-cultural people of a southern Minnesota rural area.
We hope to collect artifacts – the asparagus knife of a Hispanic migrant worker should be preserved like the steamer trunks of our early settlers. As a Historical Society we will have an opportunity to bring the new immigrants together through our Round Table Discussion program in our new History Center. Round Table Discussions are interactive with the audience uniting attendees and facilitating a common bond.
Combining cultures at the roots of their immigration to Steele County is cohesive and contributes to the civic, social, and economic health of our community.

Impact and Sustainability

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How will your idea have a positive impact on your community?

"United By History" will have a positive impact on my community when the new immigrants become a part of our permanent history via the Steele County Historical Society (SCHS). The project will be sustained as long as the SCHS exists. My idea can be implemented with $15,000 as we have already started collecting Oral Histories. The prize money will be used to expand our Past Perfect software, enhance the intake of immigration stories, sponsor a community Roundtable discussion, led by the Mayor, with the interviewees, and begin a permanent exhibit/collection of recent immigrant artifacts in our new History Center. It should be noted that the SCHS has a vast collection of artifacts in the beautiful Village of Yesteryear covering the history up to the 1920's. Now, in our new History Center we need to record the history after the 1920's. The new immigrants will be viewed as 20th/21st century Steele County settlers.

What do you think the lasting effect will be if your idea is implemented?

My idea stands apart from the others because it has the lasting effect of historical preservation. The benefits will be appreciated by the current residents and future generations. I am finding that the new immigrants are eager to become a part of our history and appear honored to have their story recorded. Today and in the future, people can view a video of a Somali immigrant telling his story of how he spent his childhood and early adulthood in a refuge camp in Kenya before immigrating to Owatonna, Minnesota. As a Steele County resident of fifty-two years, a retired business owner, a lifetime member and former Board member of the SCHS, we will work with the SCHS to implement "United By History" for the benefit of the 36,000 citizens of Steele County.

Eva Chavarria Hunter said: Fabulous representation of your idea which embraces the culture and faith of those who live in the Steele County community to share ... about this Competition Entry. - 2401 days ago read more >
Katina Petersen said: This is a great idea- best of luck to you! about this Competition Entry. - 2408 days ago read more >

Margaret Michaletz submitted this idea. - 2477 days ago