Browns Valley Exhibit Project

The Browns Valley Exhibit Project program worked with a 5th grade class and local seniors that resulted in an original exhibit. The exhibit, shown at the library, told the history of commercial fishing in the area.

Browns Valley Exhibit Project
  • Intro
  • Photos
  • Product
  • Learn More/How We Did It
  • Additional Resources

See what people had to say about this project!
 
"[I appreciate] that we’re recording some of the interesting and valuable things that this operation has contributed to our community."
 
"I enjoyed talking with the older people and learning things from them."
 
"[I was surprised by] the number of people that contributed pictures, time, and information."
 
 

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See the exhibit curriculum that was developed.

Students worked in pairs to interview local seniors and create exhibit panels that told the story of commercial fishing in Browns Valley.

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Browns Valley, Minnesota, is located on the western most tip of Minnesota between two lakes, Lake Traverse and Big Stone Lake.  Because of the location of these lakes, commercial fishing has become something that has affected the workings of practically every family in this area since the early 1900s. Seine crews pulled seine on the ice during the winters and farmers helped support their income by working for them. These crews also seined lakes in western Minnesota and some did hoop netting throughout the area. Even though commercial fishing has played a large part in the economy of this area, little has been put into writing or recorded concerning how this worked and affected the economy and lives of Browns Valley.

Students learned how to conduct oral history interviews, interviewed local seniors, and worked with an exhibit developer to create exhibit panels for display at the Browns Valley Library.

Youth Participants: Deliah Eastman’s 5th grade class

Adult Participants: Curtis A. Piechowski, Geri Piechowski, Buzz Krone, Edward H. Lamers, Alan Duffield, Bill Randall, Patricia LeClaire, Mike Simonson, Don Simonson

For more information: Contact Project Manager Maren Levad at maren.levad@mnhs.org or 651-259-3480.

Background on Browns Valley
Sandwiched between Big Stone Lake and Lake Traverse, Browns Valley became known for fur trapping and hunting. Major Joseph R. Brown established Browns Valley in 1866 with a great promise for farming and commercial fishing. Its soil housed the 9,000 year old remains of the oldest human in Minnesota, discovered in 1933 by William H. Jensen.

The Browns Valley community history and website

A short summary of the Browns Valley Man’s history from MHS’ MN150 exhibit.

Additional Resources

A brief history of the fishing technique of seining.

A picture of fishing using the seining technique in 1908

Video demonstration of seining at the Harlem River Festival 2010

The top 10 techniques to designing an effective exhibit.
 

Project Details

Date: March 2011
Partner(s): Bernice Piechowksi, Browns Valley Regional Library; Deliah Eastman, Browns Valley School; Mike Levad, Exhibit Developer; Maren Levad, Minnesota Historical Society, Project Manager
Location: Browns Valley, MN

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