Giants of The Earth Heritage Center, Spring Grove, MN
Contract Positions (2): Oral Historian and Project Intern
Norwegian Ridge Oral History Project
Giants of the Earth Heritage Center was incorporated in 2009 as a non-profit educational institution dedicated to honoring, preserving, and interpreting the history and heritage of the people from Spring Grove’s Norwegian Ridge in southeastern Minnesota. Drawing on a rich cultural history, the Center records and reflects the achievements of people in the Spring Grove area. The Center draws upon varied resources, while also providing a gathering place and a sense of community and identity to its public.
Presently, the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center is actively collecting oral histories related to life and culture on local farms. In 2017, we self-funded a farm oral history project and filmed oral history interviews of 25 local farmers representing 17 families to document their experiences. As part of this project, we identified additional families we wished to interview.
We are conducting this second phase our project to document the stories of 13-15 families in the Highland and Caledonia Township areas. We seek to reach between 15-20 individuals from these families, representing between 13 to 15 of these previously identified families. The project goal is to interview, record, transcribe, and archive between 15 and 20 oral histories.
We have been awarded with a $9974 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage grants to support this stage.
The Giants of the Earth Heritage Center is seeking competitive bids for two services related to this project. The services are:
1. Oral Historian:
Tasks: The Oral Historian will prepare and secure the release forms for all interviews; schedule all interviews; prepare and revise the interview questions; conduct all interviews; review all transcriptions; review all inventory forms; and be responsible for all deliverables. The Oral Historian will conduct local history research pertaining to the individuals and oral history topics. The Oral Historian will also assist in recruiting and interviewing the intern- if needed, and will manage the intern. Total hours were estimated to be 118.5 at a rate of $50 per hour, with 10 hours of travel time at a rate of $25 an hour. Travel expenses up to $376 will be reimbursed.
Deliverables: 15-20 high quality video interviews in digital format; the corresponding transcriptions for these interviews, the corresponding inventory forms; and the corresponding release forms. The Oral Historian work is expected to take place between May 1 and October 31, 2018.
Qualifications: Proven experience with managing and conducting large (10+) oral history projects. A BA in history or a related field. Familiarity with agricultural history and the Spring Grove area. Excellent oral and written communication skills and an attention to detail will be required.
2. Project Intern:
Tasks: The selected intern will assist with set-up before-hand and break-down after interviews, as well as general support during interviews. The intern will be responsible for choosing which online transcription service to use; transcribing and editing 15-20 oral histories; and creating and revising the inventory forms. The intern will conduct supplemental local history research pertaining to oral history topics, and will also scan and digitize any photos or similar materials that were loaned for the project, and return these items. The Intern work is expected to take place between June 1 and October 31, 2018. Total hours estimated for this work is 195, at $15 an hour. Travel expenses up to $376 will be reimbursed.
Qualifications will be: experience in local history research, and familiarity or interest in collecting and archiving oral histories. A high level of curiosity, commitment, creativity and attention to editing and detail will be required.
II. PROJECT TIMELINE
April 9, 2018 RFP Issued
April 23, 2018 Bids Due
May 1, 2018 Estimated Contracts Award
October 31, 2018 Estimated Project Completion
Proposals will be evaluated within approximately one (1) week of the bid closing and bidders will be notified of their status as soon as possible thereafter.
If you have any questions about this rfp, please submit them to both Karen Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org and Nancy O’Brien Wagner at email@example.com. We will forward answers to all bidders by Tuesday, April 24, and allow for amendments to bids if requested.
Submission of Proposals
Please submit all proposals to both Karen Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org and Nancy O’Brien Wagner at email@example.com by end of day on April 23, 2018.
Conditions on Receipt of Proposals
This Request for Proposals does not obligate the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center to award any specific project. The Giants of the Earth Heritage Center reserves the right to cancel this solicitation. The Giants of the Earth Heritage Center also reserves the right to waive irregularities in proposal content or to request supplemental information from prospective bidder(s).
Minimum Proposal Contents
Description and schedule of proposed work.
Description of work on comparable projects, with client references for those projects.
Company profile and identification of Bidder personnel and any subcontractors who will supervise and/or conduct the work of the project, including details of their training and experience, and where Bidder personnel and subcontractors are located.
Detailed cost proposal for services.
Sample work (if applicable).
IV. PROPOSAL EVALUATION
Proposals will be evaluated by the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center on the basis of the following criteria:
Bidder qualification, technical expertise, knowledge, and experience
Quality of sample work
Overall cost of proposal.
Any other factor(s) that might aid in selecting the best candidate.
V. DELIVERABLES / DELIVERY SCHEDULE
The deliverables for this project are listed in RFP Section I.
Production schedule will be determined at the project startup, on a schedule mutually agreed to by the successful Bidder/s and the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center. Ideally, we would like to complete this project by October 31, 2018, or sooner if possible.
“Cast out of the disintegrating microgroups of the past, such as family, church, or village, the individual is plunged into mass society and thrown back upon his own inadequate resources, his isolation, his loneliness, his ineffectuality. Propaganda then hands him in veritable abundance what he needs; a raison d’etre, personal involvement and participation in important events, an outlet and excuse for some of his more doubtful impulses, righteousness–all fictitious to be sure, all more or less spurious; but he drinks it all in and asks for more. Without this intense collaboration by the propagandee the propagandist would be helpless.” –Konrad Kellen, Intro to Jacques Ellul’s Propaganda.
Inspired by the writings of Ole Rolvaag on Norwegian-American’s love of freedom, we begin posting a new series of essays from some of the greatest seminal thinkers on the topic of how to maintain authenticity in an era where there are institutions who have mastered the art of manipulating public opinion.
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”
― Abraham Lincoln
We are facing a great crisis of national credibility. The majority of Americans simply don’t trust the news media, with a recent Gallup poll showing only 32% of American saying they trust the media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly”: This is an historically low level of confidence in the media. Americans also don’t trust commercials. They generally do trust people they know and respect and they trust their own eyes, but are realizing that video footage can be easily manipulated with technology. They are learning that even other people in their same community, however, are not immune from top down censoring or subsidizing of half-truths. Everyone fears having their judgment or name destroyed by stating something unpopular or something that is not commonly believed to be true, so some wear their hearts upon their sleeves but do not relinquish the use of their critical faculties.
Perhaps it is a good thing that at least some Americans are waking up to the fact that we Americans have been willingly duped hypocrites for some time, while smugly imagining ourselves to be morally superior in our objective views. My great uncle and grandmother wrote and spoke in the papers and at schools about the double standards white European immigrants used in justifying stealing America from the native peoples. They never claimed either side was perfect, but the willingness of some white settlers to condone the murder of all Native Americans after learning a few stories of atrocities committed by few Native Americans was something that was incommensurate with the values we prided ourselves on at the time.
“A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.” -Baltasar Gracian
Government officials and the media take or pretend to take great offense at an alternative media that questions the official line. Of course, the alternative news media does have some people who, for whatever reason, are borishly pushing silly and untestable hypotheses that for some reason advance an agenda they have. These people may be on the extremes of the far left or the far right. Typically the far left propagates news with an abundance mentality that favors government redistribution of property in the name of fairness and the far right propagates stories that favor a scarcity mentality that limits government power in the name of liberty. Alternative news agencies also have some people who want to provide actual information to balanced American people so that they can test their various hypotheses about the actual etiology of social problems and optimize liberty and justice for all. There is a sizable group of disinformants, bought or coerced to pretend to be alternative news agents just to make all alternative news media sources look crazy. And, often undetected, there are a small number of agent provocateurs, whose job is to gain control of hypotheses generation within a group, and to take that group on wild goose chases. An agent provocateur can cause the group they are supposedly supporting to squander their time, money, or reputation. They can gain control of movements that actually have grass-roots support in order to cause them to make foolish decisions at strategically important times.
Our government funds schools which teach people to think like scientists, where we imagine all plausible conjectures, regardless of what “idols of the tribe” those conjectures might threaten. Then scientists seek data to refute those various plausible hypotheses. Falsifiable hypotheses that stand after being subjected to lots of testing are not irrational to consider as possibly true. That is the epistemological gold standard that critical rationalists follow. However, members of the same state and national governments that fund public education often ridicule members of the public who put out perfectly rational hypotheses to explain events when those conjectures question the integrity of the government and its media assets.
In light of the extremely influential writings of Walter Lippmann an honest and reflecting person must ask whether or not it is still possible for any of us to make the righteous claim that we can be vigilant citizens of a constitutional democratic republic, if we are not at least open to the possibility of evaluating hypotheses that question the objectivity of the information we receive.
Most Americans are busy. Most are tired at the end of the work day. It can generally be assumed that a majority of Americans at any given time on any given issue are cognitive misers, meaning they quickly come to conclusions without properly weighing the reasons for those decisions. We embrace hypotheses of causal relationships that are convenient in justifying worldviews we see ourselves benefiting from, regardless of how just or objectively accurate those attributions are. We are easily deceived by smoke and mirrors that prevent the direct observation of cause. The computational energy required to see hidden causes and conspiracies require more energy than most people have. What Abraham Lincoln wrote still generally holds today: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” However, the real issue for a democracy is not about all the people or some of the people, but rather about MOST of the voters. If you can fool most of the voters all the time, then you can control America. With a few powerful institutions with a unity of interest now possessing the psychological knowledge to control most voters, there is reason to worry.
Americans are also more than ever subject to control, because of the dependency and lack of self reliance we increasingly experience as we become further removed from farms and fields that once allowed us to generally feed ourselves a lack of self-confidence in thinking for ourselves and a perceived need to be of the same mind as the group.
“[T]he group mind does not think in the strict sense of the word. In place of thoughts it has impulses, habits, and emotions.” -Bernays
More than anything else, we are concerned with what our neighbors think of us and how our opinions or theories will make us either popular or unpopular. We all fall short of at least a subset of our neighbors’ or fellow citizens’ expectations for us, so much so that if everyone were to read our diaries, our notes, or hear our comments, at least some people might take offense at them. We know that there are people out there to whom we appear either: too successful or too unsuccessful; too poor or too rich; too in-shape or too out-of-shape; too ugly or too beautiful; too lazy or too driven; too conservative or too liberal, or too something or something’s opposite, so that we know that, given the right opportunity, there will always be a subset of people happy to bring us down with negative comments and ridicule, or worse.
Knowing that Homo homini lupus est, we are all subject to a kind blackmail of thought, and we are able to be cowed into submission because only the craziest of us wish to become the next person fed to the lions in the entertaining arena of the news. But I ask myself, how could we have come to this as Norwegian-Americans (?), when I read Rolvaag, who states:
“The strongest and most important characteristic of the Norwegian people…is their love of freedom, which leads them to set their highest priority on individual rights under common law. Since this last trait is the essence of the American ideal, it means that the Norwegian immigrant is already a good American before he even leaves home.” –Ole Rolvaag, Concerning Our Heritage
So, Norwegian-American are born loving freedom, but yet everywhere they embrace their chains.
Although I know we are not entirely conscious of our lack of freedom and our ability to be manipulated, it could be argued that one of the advantages of living in a country full of small independent farmers, is that by virtue of their self-reliance, they might be able to speak the truth with less worry than those who are at the mercy of other employers. Small farm communities could in this respect be an asset to our democratic republic, precisely because farmers who can feed themselves may have less reason to worry about what others will think about their opinions. Some of us who are inspired by Rolvaag, are wanting to revisit what it is truly to love freedom and individual rights under common law. For that reason, I will be starting to post seminal writings of intellectuals who have understood people’s ability to be manipulated with the hope that a larger number of people will read this and become more self-aware. One seminal text is Public Opinion, written in 1922 by Walter Lippmann.
In Chapter XV of Public Opinion, Walter Lippmann addresses how rulers utilize their positions of power to manufacture consent. He mentions how those who control the media are actually the real leaders of the suggestible and uncritical masses, as they are able to control and direct public sentiment by playing upon what we often now call, fixed action patterns.
Public Opinion, by Walter Lippmann
Leaders often pretend that they have merely uncovered a program which existed in the minds of their public. When they believe it, they are usually deceiving themselves. Programs do not invent themselves synchronously in a multitude of minds. That is not because a multitude of minds is necessarily inferior to that of the leaders, but because thought is the function of an organism, and a mass is not an organism.
This fact is obscured because the mass is constantly exposed to suggestion. It reads not the news, but the news with an aura of suggestion about it, indicating the line of action to be taken. It hears reports, not objective as the facts are, but already stereotyped to a certain pattern of behavior. Thus the ostensible leader often finds that the real leader is a powerful newspaper proprietor. But if, as in a laboratory, one could remove all suggestion and leading from the experience of a multitude, one would, I think, find something like this: A mass exposed to the same stimuli would develop responses that could theoretically be charted in a polygon of error. There would be a certain group that felt sufficiently alike to be classified together. There would be variants of feeling at both ends. These classifications would tend to harden as individuals in each of the classifications made their reactions vocal. That is to say, when the vague feelings of those who felt vaguely had been put into words, they would know more definitely what they felt, and would then feel it more definitely.
Leaders in touch with popular feeling are quickly conscious of these reactions. They know that high prices are pressing upon the mass, or that certain classes of individuals are becoming unpopular, or that feeling towards another nation is friendly or hostile. But, always barring the effect of suggestion which is merely the assumption of leadership by the reporter, there would be nothing in the feeling of the mass that fatally determined the choice of any particular policy. All that the feeling of the mass demands is that policy as it is developed and exposed shall be, if not logically, then by analogy and association, connected with the original feeling.
So when a new policy is to be launched, there is a preliminary bid for community of feeling, as in Mark Antony’s speech to the followers of Brutus. [Footnote: Excellently analyzed in Martin, The Behavior of Crowds, pp. 130-132,] In the first phase, the leader vocalizes the prevalent opinion of the mass. He identifies himself with the familiar attitudes of his audience, sometimes by telling a good story, sometimes by brandishing his patriotism, often by pinching a grievance. Finding that he is trustworthy, the multitude milling hither and thither may turn in towards him. He will then be expected to set forth a plan of campaign. But he will not find that plan in the slogans which convey the feelings of the mass. It will not even always be indicated by them. Where the incidence of policy is remote, all that is essential is that the program shall be verbally and emotionally connected at the start with what has become vocal in the multitude. Trusted men in a familiar role subscribing to the accepted symbols can go a very long way on their own initiative without explaining the substance of their programs.
But wise leaders are not content to do that. Provided they think publicity will not strengthen opposition too much, and that debate will not delay action too long, they seek a certain measure of consent. They take, if not the whole mass, then the subordinates of the hierarchy sufficiently into their confidence to prepare them for what might happen, and to make them feel that they have freely willed the result. But however sincere the leader may be, there is always, when the facts are very complicated, a certain amount of illusion in these consultations. For it is impossible that all the contingencies shall be as vivid to the whole public as they are to the more experienced and the more imaginative. A fairly large percentage are bound to agree without having taken the time, or without possessing the background, for appreciating the choices which the leader presents to them. No one, however, can ask for more. And only theorists do. If we have had our day in court, if what we had to say was heard, and then if what is done comes out well, most of us do not stop to consider how much our opinion affected the business in hand.
And therefore, if the established powers are sensitive and well-informed, if they are visibly trying to meet popular feeling, and actually removing some of the causes of dissatisfaction, no matter how slowly they proceed, provided they are seen to be proceeding, they have little to fear. It takes stupendous and persistent blundering, plus almost infinite tactlessness, to start a revolution from below. Palace revolutions, interdepartmental revolutions, are a different matter. So, too, is demagogy. That stops at relieving the tension by expressing the feeling. But the statesman knows that such relief is temporary, and if indulged too often, unsanitary. He, therefore, sees to it that he arouses no feeling which he cannot sluice into a program that deals with the facts to which the feelings refer.
But all leaders are not statesmen, all leaders hate to resign, and most leaders find it hard to believe that bad as things are, the other fellow would not make them worse. They do not passively wait for the public to feel the incidence of policy, because the incidence of that discovery is generally upon their own heads. They are, therefore, intermittently engaged in mending their fences and consolidating their position. The mending of fences consists in offering an occasional scapegoat, in redressing a minor grievance affecting a powerful individual or faction, rearranging certain jobs, placating a group of people who want an arsenal in their home town, or a law to stop somebody’s vices. Study the daily activity of any public official who depends on election and you can enlarge this list. There are Congressmen elected year after year who never think of dissipating their energy on public affairs. They prefer to do a little service for a lot of people on a lot of little subjects, rather than to engage in trying to do a big service out there in the void. But the number of people to whom any organization can be a successful valet is limited, and shrewd politicians take care to attend either the influential, or somebody so blatantly uninfluential that to pay any attention to him is a mark of sensational magnanimity. The far greater number who cannot be held by favors, the anonymous multitude, receive propaganda.
The established leaders of any organization have great natural advantages. They are believed to have better sources of information. The books and papers are in their offices. They took part in the important conferences. They met the important people. They have responsibility. It is, therefore, easier for them to secure attention and to speak in a convincing tone.But also they have a very great deal of control over the access to the facts. Every official is in some degree a censor. And since no one can suppress information, either by concealing it or forgetting to mention it, without some notion of what he wishes the public to know, every leader is in some degree a propagandist. Strategically placed, and compelled often to choose even at the best between the equally cogent though conflicting ideals of safety for the institution, and candor to his public, the official finds himself deciding more and more consciously what facts, in what setting, in what guise he shall permit the public to know.
That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough.
The creation of consent is not a new art. It is a very old one which was supposed to have died out with the appearance of democracy. But it has not died out. It has, in fact, improved enormously in technic, because it is now based on analysis rather than on rule of thumb. And so, as a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power. Within the life of the generation now in control of affairs, persuasion has become a self-conscious art and a regular organ of popular government. None of us begins to understand the consequences, but it is no daring prophecy to say that the knowledge of how to create consent will alter every political calculation and modify every political premise. Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the word alone, the old constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the original dogma of democracy; that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception, and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach.
Painting by Phyllis O’Connor…..An Apron in Fall, Donated by Phyllis O’Connor.
The Quest Bust from Craig Bergsgaard… A Scale Model(Maquett) of the Quest Sculpture in Spring Grove Viking Park. Donated by Nationally Renowned Artist and Spring Grove Native Craig Bergsgaard.
One, Two, or Three Sigmund Aarseth Original Paintings….Procured from the Estate of World Renowned Artist Sigmund Aarseth of Valdres Norway These Paintings are some of Sigmund’s Finest and last works before his death in 2012.
One Year of Car Washes(52)….Donated by JC Nerstad.
5 Night Stay at Disney World Old Key West Resort(or another Disney World resort of your choice)… Two Bedrooms for up to 8, with full Kitchen, Villa Within Magical Disney World in Orlando, Florida Sunday to Friday donated by Mike and Diane Schmidt.
Weekly Ice Cream (52 regular cones)….24 Flavors of Chocolate Shoppe Super Premium Ice Cream to Choose From donated by Doc’s Blue Moose.
Monthly Pizza for a Year….12 Large Pizza’s donated by Doc’s Blue Moose.
Margarita and Nachos Patio Party for 20+….. Donated by Good Times Restaurant in Caledonia.
Canadian Island Cabin(couples or family)…for 5 days, North Woods,Pristine Environment, daily Loon Music, a Canopy of Starlight and maybe Spectacular Northern Lights, a fishing boat, Kayaks and canoes, Hiking Trail and Blueberry Picking, Including two meals daily and fixings to create your own lunch donated by Dr Jim and Karen Gray.
A Hans Schaub Painting…..Sailboats on the Sea donated by artist Hans Schaub.
A Ya Sure U Betcha Basket
Mystery Dinner Theatre …..Cocktails and Dinner while up to 8 Guests are Immediately Actors in the “Who Done It” Script, Directed and Donated by David and Rachel Storlie.
Anchor Inn Gulf-Access Condo….In Cape Coral Florida a Fully Furnished Two Bedroom Condo with Pool, Jacuzzi and Tennis Courts for a week in March or April donated by Dan and Mary Ann Thurmer.
Norma Wangsness Giclee Paintings……Sarah’s Buggy and Hardangers Fjord donated by Norma Wangsness, Vesterheim Gold Medalist.
Erin Dorbin Retreat….1890 Hand Built Cabin on 10 acres for 3 Days (2 nights)near Houston, in the Driftless Area, Overlooking Meadows and Woodsand the Root River and where the Sky and Sounds of the Night will Fill Your Evenings, Donated by Erin Dorbin.
Rockfilter Distillery Bourbon….a basket of bourbon and other items.
Genetic Genealogy Kit and Support…..Dr. John Storlie Provides Kit and Guidance in Exploring Your Genetic Genealogy.
Find Your Ancestors ……Historian Georgia Rosendahl will Provide Research and Guidance(4 hours) in Helping to Identify Your Family donated by Georgia Rosendahl.
Thomas Trehus AirB&B – 3 night stay at this fully furnished modern country cabin in rural Spring Grove. Comfortably sleeps 4. Great for a family spending a long weekend in the Driftless.
Amish Hand Stitched Quilt….a bow tie pattern quilt 89” by 97” donated by Joan Lewis.
Fly Fishing Adventure(1 or 2 people)…..Fly Fish the Bear and Waterloo Creeks for 4 hours guided and donated by Kent Kleckner.
Vesterheim Museum Passes …..4 Passes, a Behind the Scene Tour and 20% Discount at Gift Shop….donated by Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.
Norwegian Ridge Language Camp….. June Summer Camp Registration for one youth Donated by Giants of the Earth Heritage Center.
Auto Detailing…. Full Detailing for Your Favorite Automobile Donated by Four Seasons.
Short Branch Ranch Bar Accessories…..Beautiful Glass Container with Western-Themed Sculptured Stopper Donated by Craig Bergsgaard.
Basket of Spring Grove Goodies….Donations of various gift cards and items donated by Spring Grove Merchants.
Hand Stitched 20”x 40”Christmas Table Runner….Created and Donated by Judy Tollefsrud.
Norski Saloon Gift Basket….$100 gift certificate plus liquor and stuff donated by Norski Saloon.
Sallie DeReus Rosemaled Bowl….Created and Donated by Vesterheim Gold Medalist Sallie DeReus.
Family Swim Pass…..2018 Swim Pass at Spring Grove Pool Donated by City of Spring Grove.
Four ½ Hour Voice Lessons…..Given and Donated by Dr. David Judisch at his Studio in Decorah.
Two Hand Stitched Table Runners….Created and Donated by Judy Tollefsrud.
Stay at Central Wisconsin Cabin on Beautiful Lake…..3 days at Cabin with full Kitchen for Family or two couples….with Sandy Beach and all of the Toys Donated by Joe and Marlene Deschler.
Quilted Center Piece…..Created and Donated by Mary Deters.
I Love You Spring Grove/AKA Honey I’m Sorry, You Were Right All Along Gift Package Gifts from Bluff Country Artists Gallery, YOOH, Calluna, Turquoise Tomato, Fat Pats, Red’s & Sugar Shack.
Jacquie’s River Front Cabin…Two Bedroom Cabin on the River near Lansing, 1 or 2 Couples Friday and Saturday Night, Donated by Jacquie and Greg Wennes.
Capra Nera Creamery Holiday Cheese Box (cheese tasting tour for 4 in 2018)….Donated by Katie Wiste.
Adirondack Style Silver Chest ….Chest Created and Donated by Tim Blanski.
Sterling Drug Gift Basket….Donated by Sterling Drug.
We stumbled across these great, family friendly videos from Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. illustrating so many of the cooking techniques that have been otherwise lost as a result of the invention of fast foods and modern cooking techniques. Recent findings have shown that much of the research that showed how much healthier cooking with things such as hydrogenated vegetable oils is over more traditional animal fats was driven by money and profit goals of big corporations and not real science.
In fact, numerous authoritative studies have shown that people who often live the longest around the world, consume the most traditional foods and the least amount of processed foods. If readers have other helpful links on heritage cooking and self-reliance, please send them to us so we can share them on our website.
Heritage Center is sponsoring a public exhibition of hand-made articles and inventions.
Many individuals in the Bluff Country area have tool shops where they have created useful items for farm and home use, including children’s toys and scale replicas of farm buildings and other things. The Heritage Center would like to document them and exhibit them both indoors and in Enger Garden. The exhibit will run from Friday at 1:00 pm until Saturday at 6:00 pm.
The idea for this event came from Dr. Jim Gray who has been fascinated for 50 years by the useful creations which he saw on area farms. He says, “Farmers created gate latches, hand tools and livestock paraphernalia that were totally original and very useful.” Early in his career he enjoyed seeing shop creations by almost-pioneer farmers: Andy Kjome, Palmer Bergsgaard, Bert and Lloyd Deters, Orvel Treangen, Gil Myrah, Harold Rosendahl, Elling Solum, Nels Gulbranson, Lowell Vatland, Cy Casterton, Alvin Swenson, Luther Storlie, Leonard Sylling and many, many more. Unfortunately none of these persons can be filmed talking about how they used what they made, although their descendants are invited to bring their pieces in and tell stories in their stead.
We are asking that anyone who has hand-made pieces, old or new, should bring them to the Heritage Center for this event in advance of the 1:00 Friday, October 7 opening. Please bring a written description naming who made it, how it was used, photos of its location or use, and any background information you may have about it. Giant’s purpose for the exhibition is to showcase talent and ingenuity, and to create a permanent digital record by filming brief descriptions of them, how and why things were made and used.
Any exhibition questions can be answered by coordinators Ed Myrah at 507.696.7243 or Dr. Gray at 507.459.9188.
Both men and women are welcome to exhibit creations. There is no fee to participate and no fee to attend, although Giants is a non-profit, and all donations are gratefully accepted.
All exhibits should be picked up between 5:00 and 6:00 pm on Saturday, or at other times arranged previous to the opening.
The Bluff Country Artists Gallery on the opposite end of Main Street is hosting a gala fundraiser “8 by 8 Equals Art” beginning at 6:30 pm Saturday.
The Piecemakers are hosting their annual Festival of Quilts Show and Sale from 12 noon Friday through Saturday at 5:00 at the Fest Building.
“Inventions at Work” focuses on adaptations farmers and others have made to make their work easier.
“Inventions at Play” focuses on how all ages experience various playful habits of mind that underlie invention, such as curiosity, imagination, visual thinking, model building and problem solving. This category includes toys for children and musical instruments.
1. Selection and Examination of the Inventions
All are invited to bring their Hand-made items to the Heritage Center for documentation and an interview. We will ask your permission to film your interview especially so it can be shared with residents at the Care Center and Assisted Living who may not be able to view them during the exhibition. Smaller pieces should be brought in any time the week of October 3rd. Please bring a photo of the inventor if it isn’t you. Larger pieces will be displayed in Enger Garden and need to be in place as early in the morning as possible on October 7. They will need to be taken home by 5 PM on October 8.
Before the items are put on display at the exhibition, they will be examined at two levels. First, the items must be examined for creative innovation by a Giants Judges panel. Second, the judges are invited to assess the novelty and usefulness of the inventions.
2. It is not necessary that the invention be old. It is encouraged to make something special for this event. Judges will be offering preferential treatment to the inventions made by primary and middle school students. The award-winning rate for primary and middle school students is 10% higher than that of the adult inventors.
3. People’s Choice Award at the Exhibition
The public will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite inventions.
Giants of the Earth Heritage Center is pleased to announce, for sale in our gift shop, Kingdom of the Rings by Duane Lindberg, PhD, American Studies, MTh. Lutheran Theology.
THE KINGDOM OF THE RINGS – FOUR LEVELS OF INTEREST
FOR THE READER – by Dr. Duane Lindberg
“The Kingdom of The Rings” is a historical novel which appeals to the reader’s interest on four different levels: the fictional story itself, the historical accounts, the religious/theological matters, and the ethnic/cultural level.
The story line traces the three interlocking golden Rings which were in the gift of gold which the Magi offered to the Christ Child. The saga begins in AD 1267 as the Rings are entrusted to a Coptic Christian in Alexandria, Egypt who carries them to the embattled city of Antioch, Syria, where a Muslim army is attacking the Crusader kingdom. Following the Muslim capture of Antioch, the story traces the journey of the Crusader who carries the Rings in his search for healing from leprosy. He gives the Rings as expressions of thanksgiving for help he receives along the “pilgrims’ way” to the grave of Norway’s “eternal king” at the Nideros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway. Through the vicissitudes of history, the Rings are separated and eventually come into the possession of two families from Norway and one from Egypt by way of Germany. The Rings are then carried by these believing immigrant families to the United States. Suspense builds as the Rings come close on two occasions, and the promise of a great blessing for the keepers, the nation, and the world (the Second Coming of Christ) looms very near.
Respecting the historical level, the novel attempts to uncover for the reader some of those critical
historical events which are part of our American and the Western World’s heritage. Also, the historical perspective underlines the centrality of the Christian Faith in the founding and building of our Nation. The reader is introduced to a nearly forgotten time of greatness in the Middle Ages and to the persistence of the conflict with Islam which spans the entire period. The reader who loves history will want to re-read the novel to savor the many insights into the actual history of both the “Old World” and the “New”.
With regard to the religious/theological level, the novel suggests the ubiquity of the Christian faith and its eschatological hope which characterized the majority of immigrants from Norway and from other European countries in the 18th and 19th centuries. The metaphor of the three interlocking rings is the historic symbol of the Holy Trinity and each of the Rings bears an ancient Persian name which is suggestive of one Person of the Godhead. The Name of the second Ring – “Ashem” – is translated “Truth” or “the Incarnation of Truth” and points the reader to Jesus the Christ. In the story, it is the name of this Ring which draws the Muslim general inexorably to his conversion to Christianity and his subsequent beheading by Egyptian Islamic authorities.
On the ethnic/cultural level the saga focuses on American immigrants from Norway as a microcosm of the more than 55 million Europeans who flooded our shores in the 18 and 19th centuries. The characters in the novel reveal the immigrants’ struggle to adapt to their new homeland and at the same time their attempts to retain their own identity. The novel challenges the popular “melting pot” explanation of the American experience and suggests a more adequate metaphor – The Field of Rings.
Emma Landsom, a volunteer for many years with Giants of the Earth Heritage Center’s Norwegian Ridge Language Camp, was interviewed by the Rochester Post-Bulletin. Here are some highlights, capturing not only a little Norwegian language, but Emma’s playful Norwegian way.
Giants of the Earth Heritage Center in Spring Grove
Saturday, October 18
2:45 Gathering at the Cinema
3:15Celebrating the Immigration of Peder and Aase Enger to Spring Grove
3:45Celebrating the Legacy of Sigmund Årseth in America
Exhibition of Art by Sigmund and by his students
5:45Reception and Music by the Thankful Brass on the CLS Deck*
6:30 Bicentenary Celebration Dinner
Sunday, October 19
9:15Worship at Trinity
3:00Bicentenary Celebration Concert at Trinity Church by the Luren Singers with Special Guests: the Youth from Norwegian Ridge Choral Camp
4:15 Reception at the Heritage Center
Bicentenary Celebration Weekend October 18 and 19
Giants of the Earth Heritage Center in Spring Grove
Saturday, October 18
Commence at 2:45 by gathering at the Cinema
Welcome from Giants
Introduction of Special Guests: Enger Family
Royal Norwegian Consulate General Gary Gandrud
Welcome from Consulate General
Introduction of Steve Kemp, Enger Garden Designer
3:15 Ribbon Cutting at Enger Garden Gate
Dedication Remarks by Irene Navarre
Garden Tour narrated by Steve Kemp
3:45 Introduction of Craig Bergsgaard, Sculptor
Remarks by Craig
Unveiling of life-size bronze of Sigmund Årseth by the Årseth family. Sigmund was chosen by the King of Norway as the most revered Artist of 2010
Coffee and Norwegian cookies on the decks of the Heritage Center
Exhibit of art created by Sigmund Årseth students and reception to honor the students. Filming of students recalling their teacher and his unique methods of teaching painting, to be documented and presented to Ingebjørg
5:45 Music by the Thankful Brass on the Deck
Open Cash Bar and light hors d’oeuvres
6:30 Bicentenary Celebration Dinner with tributes honoring the life of Sigmund: Sallie DeReus, Norma Wangsness
Auction of Rare Sigmund Creations
Sunday, October 19
9:15 Worship at Trinity
Recognition of Enger and Årseth Guests
3:00 Bicentenary Celebration Concert at Trinity Church by the Luren Singers, oldest Norwegian-American Male Chorus in the world, directed by Dr. David Judisch
4:15 Reception at the Heritage Center
Filming of artists continues
6:00 Closing of Exhibit of art created by Sigmund Årseth students
Theme: Same as title of Exhibit. Each artist interprets the theme as they see fit based on what they have learned from Sigmund, and painted themselves.
Pieces to Exhibit: There will be some of Sigmund’s work, and the rest from Artists who trained with Sigmund in classes he taught.
Each artist can submit 3-5 pieces of their own work and they can be a painting or painted objects.
Each artist will include an Artist Statement. It will answer this question – What do I want other people to understand about my art? The main goal of writing an artist statement is to discuss your understanding of your process, ideas, and field. The statement also gives you an opportunity to define the critical conversation you want to engage through your art. In general, an artist statement should address what you make, how you make it, why you make it and your understanding of your work’s meaning. Exhibition Space: We will use rooms in the beautiful Heritage Center where Sigmund painted murals at 163 West Main Street in Spring Grove, MN 55974.
Installation of the artwork: Artists will be invited to suggest their ideas on installation and placement. We will group art pieces. Those artists who come before October 16 will have an opportunity to examine how we have installed their works.
Opening Reception: will occur on October 18: We invite artists to bring their friends and peers to the Heritage Center.
Documenting the Weekend Reunion of Årseth Artists: The Heritage Center filmers will be recording the artists as they share recollections and impressions and influences of their interactions with Sigmund. The filmers will include their art pieces in the exhibition along with their artist statements. This documentary will be shared with Sigmund’s widow Ingebjørg and his other family members. It will also be available to others.
Pieces that are too large to ship or bring: We encourage you to send JPEGs with at least 600DPI via Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please indicate size of the painting or object. We will be creating a photo gallery of them for this exhibit.
Replace cedar siding
Paint Pirate Treasure yellow
Trim building with paint and light
Create ADA ramp to access main entrance to building
Create entry to the garden
Create Bluff/Woodland Plantings
Create pathway through garden
Create water feature
Create Sculpture to honor Sigmund Aarseth
Light the garden features
Build bridges over waterway
Create planting beds near sculpture
Piano students who want to take a master class with Jessica Paul, Ph.D of Musical Arts. at the Cinema in Spring Grove, MN should register before April 15. The Master class will be offered from 4:30 until 6PM on Thursday, April 24.
To register, students need to provide their name and age, the title of the work to be performed and a $5.00 check made payable to Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, and mail to PO Box 241 at Spring Grove, 55974.
Each student must have the piece memorized, and bring an original copy of the music for Dr. Paul. The student’s parent must approve of their child being video-recorded by Giants of the Earth and that form will be provided to parents upon receiving registration.
Jessica Paul, a native of Chicago, holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Northwestern University, where she studied with pianist and vocal coach Laurence Davis. Ms. Paul went on to the University of Illinois as a student of John Wustman, eventually earning the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in vocal coaching and accompanying. She is frequently engaged as a collaborative pianist and guest clinician, and she has worked with such opera companies as the Pittsburgh Opera Theatre, Opera Theatre of Illinois, National Opera Company, Cleveland Opera Theatre, Virginia Opera Association, Lake George Opera Festival, Cedar Rapids Opera, and Pine Mountain Music Festival. She is the former Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Dorian Opera Theatre and is currently Professor of Music at Luther College as vocal coach, collaborative pianist, and teacher of accompanying. On-going research projects include the study of art song of Lithuania and the vocal works of women composers, specifically twentieth century American composers.
At 7PM, also at the Cinema Dr. Michael and Bonnie Jorgensen are presenting a program that will be of interest to all. In 2013 Bonnie and Michael Jorgensen visited Spring Grove and presented the life and music of first-generation Norwegian-American composer Theodora Cormontan (1840-1922). Now they are returning for an expanded presentation on Thursday, April 24 at 7 pm at the Spring Grove Cinema. In 2011 the Jorgensens rediscovered over 150 original handwritten manuscripts by Theodora Cormontan, one of the first Norwegian women to have her classical compositions published and widely performed, and the first woman to own and operate her own music publishing business in Norway. On April 24 the Jorgensens will recap Theodora’s story and share some of the music they performed before as well as some they did not. This time, reflecting new research since last year, Bonnie and Michael will offer a special focus on Theodora the music teacher. Cormontan offered lessons in piano, voice, and organ from the 1890’s to the 1910’s in several towns in south central and southwestern Minnesota. Contemporary newspapers described her as “an excellent teacher in vocal as well as instrumental music” and “a music teacher of superior merit.” Bonnie and Michael will provide some insights into what it was like to teach music in this era and will consider a few of Theodora’s students. The couple will also look at the work of Theodora’s niece Alpha Hirsch Lienhard, a contemporary of Cormontan’s who taught piano in New Ulm in the 1890’s. Numerous pictures will accompany the lecture and music, providing a unique look at the music teaching profession in Minnesota over 100 years ago. Dr. Michael Jorgensen’s recent performances include presentations with Bonnie Jorgensen on the life and music of Norwegian-American composer Theodora Cormontan (1840-1922) at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota; and at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
Additional recent activity includes him as the bass soloist in Rossini’s “Petite messe solennelle” for the Tucson, Arizona Desert Song Festival Bonnie is a collaborative pianist in St Peter. You can see her on You Tube in a video called
The Evening Sentiments. Although there is no admission fee, a free will donation will be accepted. There is a reception following the performance at the Heritage Center for all attendees.
Some of the latest genetic research on neoteny suggests that humans–and the very powerful institutions that govern them–have preferentially selected for the survival of more childlike humans over thousands of years. This is exhibited in the form of a loss of–or a delay in–the expression of important maturity genes found in primates and earlier hominids. This causes–what some have referred to as–“more evolved” humans to have the less threatening appearance of primate infants–just as domestic dogs tend to resemble wolf pups. Not only do domestic dogs resemble wolf pups in appearance, they also resemble them in behavior. While wolves focus on the meat that is in their trainer’s hands, young wolf pups and dogs look up at the eyes of their trainer to try to see what their trainer wants so that he will share his meat with them. Thus, it is no surprise that domestication has increased the time span in which a dog can learn new tricks. So it would seem that neoteny is a desirable thing.
Institutionalized Systems of Selection
As there has been selection for neoteny, or more youthful physical and behavioral traits in canines during their domestication, we can also expect that humans have undergone selection for more childlike behavioral traits. Although some positive aspects might be found in a possibly greater malleability, negative aspects would be that humans have become more “finger to the wind,” more heteronomous, and less autonomous. Increasing human plasticity could have both positive and negative repercussions for human culture. As more is learned about how cognitive and behavioral genes have been influenced, it will be interesting to deconstruct how our more child-like phenotype has influenced and continues to influence Homo sapiens’ evolving spirituality and our various religious practices.
Bootlickers for Justice (if it pleases the powers that be)
How has this childification influenced the percentage of people who enter the higher Piagetian cognitive levels and Kohlberg’s stages of post-conventional morality? It would seem that the more corrupt religious and political institutions would benefit from the continued neoteny or “childification” of humanity, as this might result in a greater conformist to nonconformist ratio among adults. Since the most insightful existential critics of institutions arise from the higher cognitive levels, the demise of the genes that gave people a propensity to attain a higher Piagetian level might be something that institutions would desire and hence we would expect their numbers to be decreasing. On the other hand, it might be possible for the postconventional to escape negative selection if they camouflaged themselves in irony or caved to hypocrisy. Thus, while their (Kohlbergian) conventional and preconventional morality allowed those of a lower Piagetian level to serve corrupt institutions in good faith, those of postconventional morality have a choice between hypocrisy or martyrdom. There are those who have understood universal principles that have not capitulated to corrupt institutions: they have been crushed for centuries–leaving fewer descendants than those who have capitulated. Thus, what courage is left in us to stand for justice? Hypocrisy is in the genes of we, the most clever psychophants, who mistakenly call ourselves the most sapien hominids.
Homo hypocrita, Homo intolerantissima, Homo sycophanta
The way we interpret any text might be influenced by the class to which we belong and the particular natural domestication that has occurred as a result of belonging to a certain class culture for centuries. Noah’s three sons illustrate the tripartite human self: our nature, spirit, and intellect: Different cultures have allowed each of these three parts to rule them and under the paradigms of each culture, different types of human domestication have occurred. Thus, it seems unlikely that merely by passing down the revered writings of sages past we can actualize new sages and champions for justice in each type, unless we somehow unite the best innate elements cultivated by selection within all three cultural niches while removing the worst. Would the original sages even recognize their thoughts in our summaries of their works? This is because our juvenilization has and will inevitably transfigure our interpretation of those texts.
On the one hand, if there is selection against mature cognitive levels and for neoteny in some cultures, their people’s continued juvenilization might, for example, cause their conception of G-d to take on ever more superhero like characteristics–a movement toward pagan Japhethic religions. Alternatively, even if there is selection in some cultures for genes enabling the acquisition of higher Piagetian levels, assuming a priori a positive selection for psychophancy rather than martyrdom, then it is doubtful whether those people’s inherited corrupt spirit would allow them to actually perform the just acts that their monotheism would dictate, as Paul writes.
“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. . . . I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” (Romans 7: 15; 19, Revised Standard Version).
Considering that each class has its own fitness games and certain traits are adaptive in each, we would expect crucial elements of the three core human virtues: Courage, Honesty, Justice to be present in each class, but not the fully actualized virtues themselves. This is because strength, transparency, and cleverness are what is actually selected for among the archetypal subspecies descended from Noah: Ham, Japheth, and Shem. While Ham’s vigor is an important constituent of courage, when used for selfish ends or untempered by reason, we don’t call it a virtue. While the conditionability found among the descendants of Japheth is an important element for creating their honesty, their plasticity has led them over the centuries to adapt all sorts of strange idiosyncratic prideful practices. While cleverness exhibited by Shem is an essential factor in understanding justice, cleverness alone does not a just person make.
So, when individuals have arisen in civilization exhibiting the virtuous applications of: vigor, conditionability, and cleverness they have generally produced less offspring than their competition exhibiting the vicious applications of these. Those exhibiting the actual virtues: courage, honesty, and justice, have been the sung and unsung martyrs of the ages.
We all benefit from the more peaceful and more just society that has arisen from the sacrifices of heroes, saints, and prophets. Though these servants of humanity have been a unique hybrid of the best elements of Ham, Japheth, and Shem, within their own generations these heroes, saints, and prophets have always been existentially abused. Is their altruism a fossil fuel we will some day run out of? Ancient texts indicate we have gone out of our way for well over three thousands years to kill them. Why do we kill them? Well, they are different and, frequently, they have the audacity to ask with righteous indignation those in power to live by principles rather than the self-serving cleverness to flatter those in power and allow might to set the standards for what is right: Furthermore, they have the arrogance to ask those not in power to think about ultimate rather than proximate ends, making them easy for the servants of the powerful to turn the mob against. Just as chickens peck at the hen that is different, it seems to be in the nature of humans to criticize, demonize, burn, jail, or crucify those people who “march to the beat of a different drummer” perhaps because playing this dominance hierarchy game is what egotistic humans do best. Each of these actions results in the lowering of the inclusive fitness of the virtuous hybrid who is courageous, honest, and just. In turn, the persecution of those with such virtues results in the greater and greater passing down of genes that merely code for the lusty, the psychophantic, and the clever.
“Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37
In the above quote, Jesus was merely restating the observations of Daniel and Isaiah on the problem of neoteny. Both asked how we can set up a system to preserve and protect those people who exhibit a hybridization of the three variables that produce courage, honesty, and justice. They wondered how to warn these gems of humanity against throwing their pearls before swine who have little understanding or, alternatively, how to redirect the swine so as to keep them from martyring the just. What plan could save Daniel’s virtuous friends: Shadrach, Mischach, and Abednego from the figurative raging fire? What scheme would protect Daniel himself from the appetites and fury of the figurative lions? What spell could save the seed and winnow the chaff, asked Isaiah? The plan was spelled out by both Daniel and Isaiah in numerous ways, but veiled in allegory so that seeing, the swine “might not see, and hearing, they may not hear…” Isa 6:9 The veil, or seal, was a double seal, so that only those possessing a combination of the excellences might understand. The lusty would not be able to focus on scripture; the merely clever would become bored with the scriptures; while the dogmatic thinkers would pick out what verses agreed with their wishful thoughts and chant them like pagans, but not be clever enough to critically assess the material and read between the lines.
How well Daniel’s plan has worked for the last 2500 years in controlling the less desirable aspects of neoteny is best understood by whole genome comparison of what alleles have preferentially survived through the years within the peoples governed by the paradigms he envisioned in his dream, and its implementation by Isaiah and Jesus.
Courtship and Marriage in Norway and Immigrant America in the 1800s by Carol Thomas. Special thanks to the FootNotes for allowing us to use their music in the intro and credits. Thanks to Travis Edrington, for his technical skills in setting up and editing this first Giants of the Earth Heritage Center podcast and to Stacy Deters, who also assisted during the taping.