Hmong Archives Microgrant

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Hmong Archives
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
Start Date
November 2019
End Date
May 2020
Activity Type
Digitization/Online Information Access
Counties Affected
Project Overview

Photograph all items of the Martha Kaufman-Zimmerman Collection of needlework and four archival boxes of objects from ca. 2000 to 2019 of Wat Tham Krabok with accession information and several hundred digital photos, and post them on our website so they may be viewed at any time and place. Publish books in Hmong and English with selected images and texts from our accession record, with additional information about common design elements and audio-video interview information. Record, transcribe, and translate video interviews with Hmong elders to record their childhood, education, arming, army, refugee, resettlement, and current stories, as well as knowledge of Hmong history, language, music, herbs, paj ntaub, customs, silversmithing, blacksmithing, and many other aspects of Hmong culture for future publications and other projects.

Competitive Grant Making Body
Advisory Group Members and Qualifications

Kee Vang (St Paul, MN) Kee was a part of the Truth and Transformation conference/work with MHC, and is also serving on the immigrant cultural heritage panel. He is Hmong.

Ka Vang (St. Paul, MN) was a part of the Truth and Transformation conference/work with MHC. She is Hmong.

Conflict of Interest Disclosed
Conflict of Interest Contact

Laura Benson

Minnesota Humanities Center


Legal Citation / Subdivision
Minn. State Legislature Article 4, Section 2, Subdivision 8, (d)
Appropriation Language

$850,000 the first year and $850,000 the second year are for a competitive grants program to provide grants to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Minnesota.

(1) Of this amount, $250,000 the first year is for a grant to one or more community organizations that provide arts and cultural heritage programming celebrating Hmong heritage.

2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Our proposed goals are to produce and/or publish our Hmong Paj Ntaub collections by Martha Zimmerman. This is an amazing collection of 700 Paj Ntaub (embroideries and story cloths) from an equally amazing Madison, WI, woman who assisted local Hmong refugees in the 1980s. After two years of conversations, Hmong Archives received this exceptional collection from Martha’s family in June 2018. Martha Kaufman (later Zimmerman) and her anthropology husband lived in Laos and Thailand in the 1950s and 1960s. While there, she learned Thai and some Lao, which lead to conversations at O’Hare Airport in 1979 with “Laotian” refugees going to be resettled in Madison. Her home became a center for English studies, tutoring, and problem solving, including collecting Paj Ntaub for consignment sales in shops in Madison and beyond. Martha recorded in her small pencil and pen handwriting, some 3000 items from 61 clients on 112 pages in her register.

Measurable Outcome(s)

With the support of the Minnesota Humanities Center’s Legacy Cultural Heritage and Identity Micro-Grants, the Hmong Archives and HER Publisher were able to achieve this goal in producing/publishing our Paj Ntaub collection that tributes to Martha L. Zimmerman and the many Hmong women whose fingers and needles produced these 700 beautiful works of Hmong textile art. Paj Ntaub, created by nimble fingers with needles and thread, is perhaps the best-known aspect of Hmong culture to the outside world. It is an adaptation of traditional clothing designs as a response to the Hmong refugee economic situation. A book featuring the intricate and colorful designs still prevalent in this 1980s collection, with information about those designs, is a beautiful tribute to an art that has been almost completely replaced by machines.

Proposed Outcomes Achieved
achieved proposed outcomes
Recipient Board Members
Brian V. Xiong, Marlin L. Heise, Kou Xiong, Song Vaj, Chue Chang, Long Khang
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Hmong Archives
St. Paul
Administered By
Administered by

987 Ivy Avenue East
St. Paul, MN 55106

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