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Press Release

Barbara Laskin

Dynamic New Exhibit Brings Lake Street to St. Paul
‘Right on Lake Street’ Opens Sept. 18
visit the Minnesota History center web site

St. Paul, Minn. - Take a fun, funky trip through the heart and history of Minneapolis’ most vibrant neighborhood. It’s Lake Street as you’ve never seen it before! “Right on Lake Street,” a collaborative exhibit developed by the Minnesota Historical Society and Macalester College, with design work provided by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, opens at the Minnesota History Center on Sept. 18 and runs through March 9, 2008.

Lake Street, a six-mile corridor linking St. Paul and Minneapolis, encompasses 14 neighborhoods and is one of Minneapolis’ most important commercial districts. Lake Street began as the path to the lakes, but for the last century and a half it has been so much more – an entry point for new arrivals, a thoroughfare for those on their way, a boundary line dividing neighborhoods, and a meeting ground bringing diverse ethnic groups together. It has been an economic engine and, at times, a casualty of transformations bigger than itself. Whether an avenue for success, a crossroads or the end of the line, Lake Street has always brought into relief the rich dynamics of a city on the move.

In September 2004, the Minnesota Historical Society and Macalester College began exploring ways to partner with local communities to enrich public life and to tell the story, past and present, of one of Minneapolis’ most diverse and ever-changing streets. Students in 12 Macalester classes conducted research projects that engaged residents and organizations on Lake Street. The Lake Street Council advised students on their research and helped bridge connections to community organizations. The student projects covered topics ranging from geography and economics to women’s studies and GIS mapping, many of which provided content for the exhibit.

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre joined the project in 2006 to give the exhibit its distinctive visual look. Using papier-mâché, felt, fabric, wire and other set-building materials, In the Heart of the Beast designers, along with Society exhibit developers, are creating a colorful and interactive gallery experience like nothing ever seen before in the Twin Cities. Colorful models re-imagine historic and contemporary buildings, including the Wonderland Rollercoaster from the early 1900s and Calhoun Square from today.

“Right on Lake Street” is not a comprehensive history of Lake Street told by professional historians. Instead, Macalester students were encouraged to explore Lake Street and create projects that highlight the connections between people and place. Regina Santiago, a recent Macalester graduate originally from the Philippines explains, “As someone who did not grow up in Minnesota, doing research on Lake Street helped me connect to the area in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise. I talked with community members and came to know them, but they also came to know me, and that made me feel more like a part of the community.”

“Right on Lake Street” was developed in collaboration with Macalester College and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. Additional support was provided by the Lake Street Council and Metro Transit.

The public is invited to an opening celebration on Tuesday, Sept. 18, from 6 to 9 p.m.
The event will be free with regular museum admission and will include music, poetry, puppetry, food and a special performance by local humorist Kevin Kling.

The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Open Mondays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and college students, and $4 for children ages 6-17. For more information, call 651-259-3000, or 1-800-657-3773 or visit

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849 to preserve and share Minnesota history. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, extensive libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,884 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism and civic engagement.