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Traveling exhibit will explore FDR’s New Deal

Published 9:51am Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Local residents will get a lesson from the 1930s at the Austin Public Library this week.

The Mower County Historical Society and Austin Public Library will showcase a traveling exhibit this Friday from the Minnesota Historical Society entitled “Uncle Sam’s New Deal.” The exhibit, which features photos, illustrations, stories and film footage from the 1930s, focuses on former President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs in Minnesota. These programs stimulated the economy and provided jobs for thousands of unemployed Minnesotans after the stock market crash of 1929. Alongside this display will be a companion exhibit that shows how the New Deal programs influenced Mower County. Many of the most recognizable landmarks in the county are from that time period, including Roosevelt Bridge, buildings in Wildwood Park in LeRoy, and the Austin High School addition.

In addition, another exhibit geared toward preschoolers and elementary students called “Count Yourself In” will be set up in the library’s large conference room. The exhibit, rented from the Children’s Museum of Minnesota, is designed to get students acquainted with math vocabulary and other math concepts like counting, shapes and patterns, according to executive director Ann Hokanson.

Hokanson said the library’s push to secure more exhibits and interactive learning places is designed to increase its position as a place “to experience self-directed learning, using all kinds of media.”

“We’ve had some good exhibits for adults in the past, and we’ve kind of expanded those, and stretched them down to young people,” she said.

A presentation will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday at the library for the exhibit opening. The exhibit will remain open through March 10.

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