Partnership…. For me, this word elicits action.
It suggests connecting people. Sharing resources. Building trust. Working collectively.
As a summer intern I am talking with a few of UniteCloud’s partners to learn about some of the great work being done in the area, as well as to highlight different community organizations. The first in this series comes from the Stearns History Museum, where I had the opportunity to talk with Carie Essig who is currently in her third year as the museum’s executive director.
Personally, I have a soft spot for history. Having spent a few childhood years in Berlin, Germany, I was constantly bombarded by it: visiting a World War II museum or walking along the path where the Berlin Wall used to stand were common weekend activities. History was cool, and more importantly, it seemed relevant.
I recognize that for some, history may suggest images of dusty old books and seemingly boring, useless narratives.
But the truth is (no matter which way you lean on the history-loving-scale): history matters. As Essig put it: “While you can’t let the past control who you are or control your future, it truly gives you perspective on who we are today and how we got here.”
And the work being done by the Stearns History Museum is not only making history relevant, but also open and accessible to all, which they make possible by building relationships with both individuals and organizations.
After visiting the museum, it became clear to me how individuals are truly being welcomed in. One important way is through the museum gallery, which features exhibitions from various communities, people, and perspectives. It is really becoming a space where anyone who walks in the front door can find themselves represented. After all, these exhibitions serve as opportunities for community members to share and celebrate their own stories.
The research center is also a chance for people to investigate their personal history, and as Essig stated, “the more you understand your own heritage, the more you can understand about other people.”
But the museum doesn’t just build connections with individuals: it also functions as a community partner for organizations in the area. The museum space’s often serve as meeting spots for organizations and, as a partner, the museum can provide historical expertise on current topics.
UniteCloud specifically has cooperated with the museum to display exhibitions, including “What I Fought For” and “Green Card Voices” which bring current issues, such as immigration and refugees, into a local context. The two organizations are also currently collaborating on a book club, which starts conversations about contemporary issues within a historical perspective.
So, what does the museum bring to the table? A historical outlook. A place for respectful dialogue. A space where all are welcome to visit and celebrate the power of stories.
After all, everything the Stearns History Museum does really goes back to their mission statement: “Connecting people through the power of history and culture.”
For more information you can follow the Stearns History Museum on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, or simply visit their website: https://www.stearnshistorymuseum.org/contact/