History and Art of Somalia: Field Trip and Content Development - Competitive Award
$300,000 the first year is for a competitive grants program to provide grants to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Minnesota.Of this amount, $50,000 in the first year is for a grant to the city of St. Paul to plan and design a garden to commemorate unrepresented cultural gardens in Phalen Park in the city of St. Paul and $150,000 in the first year is for a grant to Ramsey County to develop and install activity facilities in Ramsey County parks for culturally relevant games that are reflective of the current demographics in Ramsey County.The Minnesota Humanities Center shall operate a competitive grants program to provide grants for programs, including but not limited to: music, film, television, radio, recreation, or the design and use of public spaces that preserves and honors the cultural heritage of Minnesota. Grants made under this paragraph must not be used for travel costs inside or outside of the state.
- Between January and November 2016, 360 students from 6 schools visit the Somali Museum at 75% subsidized admission
- Between January and November 2016, 240 students from 4 schools visit the Somali Museum at 100% subsidized admission
- Education Coordinator, in collaboration with Curriculum Advisor, creates take-home educational materials for tours
- 2 Somali community elders are contracted to lead tours for youth and paid for their service
- Schools integrate Somali history and culture into curricula for students
- Somali-American students gain opportunities to study Somali history and culture
- Somali-American students develop relationships with peers and elders through studying Somali history and culture
- Somalis and Somali heritage become integrated into mainstream conceptions of American society
- Negative portrayals of Somalis and Somalia in popular media are supplanted by deep historical and cultural knowledge borne by youth
January 2016-October 2016, 369 students from public schools visited the Somali Museum on 100% subsidized admission and 70 students from two schools visited the Museum on 25% subsidized admission. Students ranged in age from 4th to 11th grade, with a large proportion of students being recent arrivals from East Africa. These students gained a significant learning experience, informed by cultural heritage that either they carry in their families, or that exposed them to their neighbors' culture. Teachers gave feedback that this was a powerful opportunity, which would not otherwise have been available to them. Further, as of writing this report, we have scheduled additional programs in November and December with two public schools and one charter school: one program for 75 students at Barton Elementary, a program for 60 students at Global Academy in Columbia Heights, and tours for 125 more students from Andersen Community School. These students all gained access to Somali art and cultural history unavailable anywhere else in Minnesota. Without having the subsidized admission available, students from these schools would not have access to these resources as part of their education. In addition, the project engaged several Somali elders to serve as cultural interpreters and instructors for these youth. Four elder artists were engaged to teach traditional craft workshops to educators as an introduction to teaching Somali traditional arts in their classes. In addition, we filmed four community cultural experts offering narratives about Somali cultural history and art history of specific objects, which we will use to develop multimedia educational content that will be available for educators in the future. We gathered this information by recording attendance on field trips and gathering demographic data from teachers after visits. We also conducted informal interviews with participants during visits and solicited feedback via email from educators after the field trips.
Minnesota, home to the largest Somali population in the United States, lacks resources for students to access knowledge and representations of Somalia. The Somali Museum of Minnesota will offer students immersive field trips illuminating the history and arts of traditional Somali society by subsidizing admission fees, integrating elders as immersive guides on tours, and developing take-home curriculum materials.