Exploring History and Culture in Central Minnesota – The Museum of Russian Art

Russian Culture Series to Be Held at Four Area History Museums

Sharing culture, art and history is a great way to build understanding and empathy across cultures. Central Minnesota has a rich Russian heritage and is home to a large segment of the Russian diaspora. The February 2020 event series is the second annual event, bringing unique programming from highly acclaimed Minnesota museums to central Minnesota.

“Exploring History and Culture in Central MN – The Museum of Russian Art” event series takes place on four Saturdays in February (February 8, 15, 22, 29) at four county historical societies in central Minnesota – Morrison, Sherburne, Benton and Stearns. Each site will feature a different arts program created by Maria (Masha) Zavialova, the museum’s chief curator and head of exhibitions and collections at The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA). The museum, a private nonprofit located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is dedicated to exploring the art and culture of Russia (www.tmora.org).

The four programs that will be offered as part of the event series will include dance, music and lectures focused on different aspects of Russian art and culture. Each program will include a nesting doll painting workshop and a display of samovars from the museum’s working collection. Refreshments will include Russian tea.

The Stearns History Museum will launch the series on February 8, 2020, with “Russian Fairytales.” The program will include Russian traditional dances by the Nitka Folk Performance Group, a costume show with explanations and a presentation on Russian fairytales and fairytale-themed nesting dolls from the TMORA collection. The Nitka Folk Performance Group is a troupe of all female performance-oriented folklorists who study, research, perform and interpret female communal culture of old Russia.

The Benton County Historical Society will host “Songs of Old Russia” on February 15, 2020. The program will feature the Ladya Duet with a presentation on the collection of The Museum of Russian Art and a show of objects from the collection that includes carved wood figurines and nesting dolls in traditional Russian dress.

The program at the Morrison County Historical Society, “Posidelki: Russian Songs of the Winter Season, Nitka Folk Performance Group,” will showcase Russian songs of the winter season with a demonstration of a spinning process and a presentation on related objects from the museum’s collection. This event will take place on February 22, 2020.

The final event in the series will be held at the Sherburne History Center on February 29, 2020. “Folk Ways: Russian Traditional Song and Dances, Nitka Folk Performance Group” will include a costume show along with dances, songs and rituals from the Russian village tradition. A selection of objects from the collection of TMORA will be included in the presentation.

All four events take place 1-3 p.m. and are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Morrison County Historical Society at 320-632-4007, the Benton County Historical Society at 320-253-9614, the Sherburne History Center at 763-261-4433, or the Stearns History Museum at 320-253-8424.

This activity is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Central MN Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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