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Free Hjemkomst Center tours offered for area students

The Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County (HCSCC) is offering free admission to the Hjemkomst Center museum to 2,000 local students whose teachers reserve a class visit in correlation with three new exhibits, Becoming American: Teenagers and Immigration, Coming to Clay County: 150 Years of Immigration, and an auxiliary exhibit called My Journey, My Story, about local teen immigrants or children of immigrants.

The HCSCC received a grant from the Smithsonian Community Grant Program funded by MetLife Foundation to underwrite free admission on a first-reserved, first-come basis. If teachers wish to bring their class to see the exhibits and tour the entire museum, they must contact Markus Krueger, visitor services coordinator, at 218-299-5511 Ext. 6738 or by e-mail,, as soon as they have a date planned to reserve their spot and get the admission free, courtesy of MetLife.

Becoming American: Teenagers and Immigration is on display Jan. 5 through March 9. This new exhibit features 50 black-and-white portraits that capture first-generation immigrants and children of immigrants, revealing a diverse array of teenage responses to the immigrant experience.

In addition, the HCSCC is hosting a writing contest inviting students (ages 13-19) to write an essay about their own experiences coming to or living in a country different from their parents' country of origin. The prize winner from each participating school will have her or his photo and essay included in an auxiliary exhibit called My Journey, My Story, at the Hjemkomst Center, for the rest of the year. All winners will be honored at the free opening public reception on Tuesday, Jan. 11, from 4 to 7 p.m.

A second deadline of Jan. 31 has been added to encourage more students to participate. For information and forms, contact Executive Director Maureen Kelly Jonason at, or 218-299-5511 Ext. 6732.

Coming to Clay County: 150 Years of Immigration is on display through Thanksgiving 2011. This exhibit explores the local immigrant experience through the stories of actual people, from the earliest pioneers to our newest Americans. For more info, visit our website at