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Immigration History, Cultural Diversity Focus of Exhibit,
April 22-May 22

Two of the posters by student Emmanuel Duarte being used to publicize the display.

Immigration history and cultural diversity are the focus of a month-long multi-media exhibit, “Drawn Home: The Immigrant Journey to Winona County, Minnesota 1850-2010,” on view in the library from April 22 to May 22. For more information, call 718.260.5491.

The show focuses on the waves of immigration that have swept over Winona County, in southeastern Minnesota, from 1850-2010 — the homes abandoned, the new homes built by a series of “immigrants,” including the Dakota Nation, utopians from New York City, various European settlers and, within the past three decades, the newcomers from Bosnia, Cambodia, Mexico, Vietnam, Russia and Somalia.

At the same time that these new immigrants have arrived, there has been a renewed interest in the study of the history and language of the Dakotas. Members of the Dakota Nation have returned to settle once again on or near lands their ancestors departed 160 years ago.

The exhibit is part of a much larger one by Mary Nilles, professor of English at City Tech, and Luxembourger historian Jean Ensch entitled “The Homes They Left Behind,” presented in galleries in Winona, MN, and at the Luxembourg American Cultural Society & Center in Wisconsin during 2009. It is an outcome of a series of grants received by Professor Nilles over the past three decades, beginning with her Fulbright to Belgium-Luxembourg, 1973-1975.

“Many of the immigrants who eventually settled in Minnesota entered the United States through New York,” Nilles notes. “Some found temporary jobs in the metropolitan New York City area, and moved west later. A few made New York City their permanent home. Thus, this exhibit relates to New York City history, as well as to immigration to Minnesota.”

Selected City Tech faculty and students in English and Advertising Design & Graphic Arts (ADGA) classes helped to shape this exhibit, writing guides and creating posters. A series of posters to advertise the show were created by design student Emmanuel Duarte. Posters by other ADGA students are also included in the display.

In addition, the exhibit features photos of homes various immigrants left behind and of new buildings they erected after their arrival; artwork by elementary- through university-level students in Minnesota, New York City, Ohio and Luxembourg, depicting some aspect of what “home” means to them; and video and web presentations created by City Tech students, many of whom are themselves “new” immigrants.


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