Central Minnesota residents have a chance to explore Somali art, history and culture at a series of exhibits starting this weekend.
The Minneapolis-based Somali Museum of Minnesota is partnering with historical societies in four counties to bring “Exploring History and Culture in Central Minnesota” on the road. The museum’s aim is to share the rich cultural heritage of the Somali diaspora with residents of central Minnesota, home to a growing Somali-American population.
Events are planned for Saturdays in February in Morrison, Benton, Stearns and Sherburne counties.
The first exhibit will be open from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Morrison County Historical Society’s Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum in Little Falls.
The program will feature kebed weaving, a traditional art form used by nomadic people in Somalia that uses no looms or frames to make the mats that cover the floors of their homes. Attendees will learn the weaving method directly from Somali weavers.
This isn’t the first time the Morrison County Historical Society has highlighted the art and culture of a specific part of the population, said Mary Warner, executive director.
“In the past, we’ve brought in a Swedish dance group, or we’ve highlighted different kinds of cultures,” Warner said. “Central Minnesota has a very diverse population, as far as immigration and the Native American community.”
Warner said she hopes the exhibits will help foster greater understanding and appreciation among different groups.
“People are becoming more aware of the Somali community in central Minnesota,” she said. “What better way to introduce cultures to each other than to have the Somali community highlight some of where they come from culturally?”