In recessions the casualties pile up fast and span pretty much every facet of society. The Ford plant shutting down for December or a Target shareholder attempting to boost the company's stock value by selling the land under the stores, the economy is hitting everybody. The Traces Center for History and Culture is no different. The museum located in downtown St. Paul's Landmark Center is closing Nov. 9. Their traveling WWII "bus-seum" will continue to visit schools and libraries. Full press release below.
(Saint Paul/MN) Even in the best of times, funding for cultural organizations remains elusive and ever precarious. Now, though, in a very short time, a usually unfavorable climate for non-profits has turned downright miserable. It’s so bad, that the Twin Cities’ only WWII-history museum will close its doors in a little more than ten days. TRACES Center for History and Culture is unique: it is the only museum in the United States that documents one region’s connections to another country while at war. With its two-dozen exhibits in downtown Saint Paul’s historic Landmark Center, it documents refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe who found a safe haven in the Midwest, German-American civilian internees in U.S Government camps, POWs on both sides—and many more stories, including Anne Frank’s Iowa pen pal. Still, competing for visitor dollars has proven too great even for such a niche resource. Executive Director Michael Luick-Thrams says “It’s been a good run”: over 100,000 people have viewed multi-media exhibits, tens of thousands of small-press books have found their way into homes around the country and abroad, and much thought has been lent to issues germane to a world still very much at war. After reaching millions of people with its narrative Midwest/WWII-history stories, though, TRACES will be streamlining its operations. While the museum will be open to the public for the last time on November 9th, its widely traveled BUS-eum will continue to take mobile exhibits around the Midwest and, per plan, to Germany over the next few years. And, its comprehensive, in-depth web site www.TRACES.org will continue to serve as an educational resource of singular quality. At noon on Thursday, November 6th, Luick-Thrams will offer the public a narrated guided tour of the museum, including commentary both on the stories presented and on how the overall TRACES project has used historical contexts to shed light on contemporary issues of war and peace. Entry to the museum is free that day, sponsored by TRAVELERS as the concluding year-long series “TRAVELERS Free First Thursday at TRACES” made possible by a generous grant. An additional attraction is the recently installed exhibit "Held in the Heartland: German POWs in the Midwest, 1943-46". For details, see www.TRACES.org.
The Traces Bus-seum will continue to fulfill the museum's mission.