In October 2012, Hmong Cultural Center was awarded a fiscal year 2013 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage grant from the Minnesota Historical Society to support the planning of expanded interpretative exhibits related to Hmong history in Minnesota as part of a Hmong American History Center and Library at the center’s offices in Saint Paul.
This activity is funded, in part, by the arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.
In the late 1990s, the Hmong Cultural Center started the Hmong Resource Center Library (www.hmonglibrary.org), a unique collection of Hmong-related books, dissertations, journal and newspaper articles which has grown into the largest collection of Hmong-related research in the United States. Hmong Cultural Center also developed a Building Bridges: Teaching about the Hmong in Our Communities (Hmong 101) curriculum which has been shared with at least 5,000 persons in community presentations and visits to the center over the past nine years.
The center has also engaged in recent initiatives to develop resources that educate the public about Hmong traditional folk arts. These projects have involved the development of a folk arts multimedia website (accessible at www.learnabouthmong.net) and a recently launched virtual Hmong textiles museum in partnership with the Hmong Archives www.hmongembroidery.org) intended to engage viewers in learning about Hmong culture and Hmong folk arts as practiced by Hmong Minnesotans.
The Minnesota Historical Society’s grant funding will strongly support efforts to build the Hmong Cultural Center’s long-established modest exhibits and displays and multicultural education resources into a more comprehensive interpretative experience for the community that will be packaged to visitors with the center’s long-established Hmong research library. The funded project will involve research and development of draft text narratives for permanent displays on the following topics:
• The Hmong Refugee Experience
• Hmong Settlement in Minnesota and Early Community Life
• Hmong Minnesotan Achievements
The Hmong People
• Hmong Populations in Minnesota, the United States and Around the World
• Diversity in the Hmong Minnesotan Community
• Demographics of the Hmong Minnesotan Community
• Key Components of the Hmong Culture and the Hmong Ethnic Identity including Clans, Shamanism, Language, the Marriage and Funeral Ceremony, Cultural Etiquette, Embroidery and Clothing and Folk Arts
Founded in 1992, Hmong Cultural Center’s mission is to promote the personal development of children, youth, and adults through Hmong cultural education while providing resources that enhance cross-cultural awareness and understanding between Hmong and non-Hmong persons. The center’s website is at www.hmongcc.org/. To learn more about programs at Hmong Cultural Center call 651-917-9937 or stop by the center at 995 University Avenue, Suite 214 in Saint Paul.