How to say 'Where's Spot' in Ojibwe...
At the Minnesota Children's Museum in St. Paul, an exhibit known as "Storyland" brings to life a series of seven favorite childhood tales for parents and their young children to enjoy together.
Starting this month, a traveling form of the interactive children's exhibit is coming to the White Earth Reservation, and soon will visit Detroit Lakes as well.
"It is a literacy-focused exhibit, aimed at children ages 2-8," explained Amy Degerstrom, director of the Becker County Museum in Detroit Lakes, which will host the exhibit from March 23 through May 24.
But Storyland's first stop in Becker County will be at the White Earth Tribal Council Headquarters in the village of White Earth, which hosts the exhibit in its lower level from Feb. 1 until March 22, when it will move to Detroit Lakes.
"We have a tentative grand opening set for Feb. 19," said Terri Darco, coordinator of the White Earth Early Childhood Initiative (ECI).
But visitors can already view the exhibit now, she added.
Three of the seven tales featured in the St. Paul museum -- "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" by Beatrix Potter, "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats, and "Where's Spot?" by Eric Hill --have been adapted for the traveling exhibit, but there has been a local touch added as well.
"We've included a cultural aspect in it," said Darco. "We've added the (Ojibwe) story 'How the Turtle Got Its Shell,' and we'll be featuring a live box turtle -- it's coming from the Headwaters Science Museum in Bemidji, which is also partnering with us on this. They're letting us borrow their turtle for two months. We're making a little home for it, and we'll put it by a nice warm window.
"We're also exhibiting a wigwam, and setting it up to show how storytelling might have looked in the native Ojibwe culture years ago," she added.
In addition, Degerstrom said, the original exhibit's bilingual focus -- English and Spanish -- has been given a local adaptation as well.
"Another cool thing we're adding to it is the Ojibwe language," she said. "The exhibit was originally done in English and Spanish, but we're replacing the Spanish with Ojibwe at both (host) sites."
"Tamarac Refuge will also be showcasing the hides and furs from all kinds of different local wildlife at White Earth," Darco said, while the county museum will be featuring its own wildlife displays when it hosts the exhibit.
The traveling exhibit's four-month stay in Becker County is a collaborative project between the Becker County Historical Society, White Earth Early Childhood Initiative, Mahube-Otwa Community Council and the Detroit Lakes Public Library, with participation from others such as the Headwaters Science Museum and Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge.
When the exhibit moves to Detroit Lakes in late March, the library staff will be hosting a Storytime session at the county museum every Tuesday through May 21, starting at 6:30 p.m., Degerstrom.
"Our grand opening will be April 7 from 1 to 3 p.m.," Degerstrom said. "We've got some things in the works for that already -- Curious George is coming, and we'll be doing a ribbon cutting with the Chamber of Commerce."
More details on the grand opening will be revealed as the date gets closer, she added.
"We will also be using this exhibit to focus our Museum Day in May on family and children's activities," said Degerstrom.
Details for the White Earth grand opening are being finalized this week as well, Darco said.
Anyone who would like to schedule a group tour of the exhibit should contact Terri Darco at 218-983-3285, ext. 1381 for a White Earth tour, or Amy Degerstrom at 218-847-2938 for a Detroit Lakes tour.
"Scheduled tours are recommended for large groups," Degerstrom said. "But call soon, because dates are filling up fast!"
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.