Minnesota History Center Opens ‘#MeToo in Minnesota’ Exhibit


The Minnesota History Center, an institution funded in part by taxpayer dollars, recently opened an exhibit on “#MeToo in Minnesota.”

“Discover how issues of sexual assault and violence—which the #MeToo movement has worked to shed light on since 2006—resonate throughout Minnesota history,” states a description for the exhibit, which opened October 15 and will run until April 5 of next year.

The #MeToo exhibit “aims to highlight underrepresented narratives by examining the stories of several Minnesota women, past and present,” the description adds. The exhibit features the story of an enslaved woman named Rachel, who lived at Fort Snelling and “successfully sued for her freedom in 1836 while also facing sexual violence in Minnesota Territory.”

Other women profiled in the exhibit are Cece McDonald, an “African American transwoman and activist,” and Ivette Izea-Martinez, a first-generation Venezuelan immigrant who runs a non-profit to address violence in the Latino community.

According to a press release from the Minnesota Historical Society, the exhibit was developed through research by Paige Mitchell, a graduate student in the University of Minnesota’s Heritage Studies and Public History Program.

“The exhibit uses individual women’s stories to examine how communities have experienced sexual violence and injustice in Minnesota’s past and present,” said the press release.

Mitchell, who has worked with the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, recently spoke with The Star Tribune about her work on the new exhibit.

“Really, the idea of the exhibit is to talk about collective trauma, but also how #MeToo is ingrained in systems that have been around and existed for a long time,” she said.

The exhibit also profiles the life of Patina Park, current president and CEO of the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, who criticized the #MeToo movement for being too “white women-driven.”

“Two years ago, it was so white women-driven, it just left out a lot of the people who aren’t white women,” she told The Star Tribune. “Movements like this can be almost like salt in the wound. It’s coming from a good place, but in representing themselves as the model, [white women] erase so many experiences.”

The Minnesota History Center hosted an opening reception for the exhibit on October 29, which included a keynote address from Minneapolis City Council Member Andrea Jenkins.

“What an honor to inaugurate this powerful exhibition at the Minnesota History Center,” Jenkins wrote on Facebook. “I brought my Adv. Poetry: Poetry and Social Justice class from MCAD to see art in service to justice in the real world. The exhibition explores the question: who is missing from the #MeToo movement, and consequently seeks to elevate those invisible voices, including missing and murdered Indigenous and black trans women.”

The exhibit is on display in the Minnesota History Center’s Irvine Gallery, a space on the first floor of the museum that opened last year and is “dedicated to ongoing, socially responsive exhibits.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].






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