Dakota County Historical Society's WWI exhibit headed to Mall of America
The Dakota County Historical Society will haul its World War I exhibit — mock trench and all — to the Mall of America on Memorial Day weekend.
The exhibit contains a range of displays, from interpretive text banners, propaganda posters, a roughly 10-by-10-foot wooden replica trench and more. The historical society hopes that the event will expose a far greater audience to its offerings than it typically gets in a year.
"It's an exciting opportunity to get our name out there and this important history of World War I," said Matthew Carter, the executive director of the Dakota County Historical Society.
The Bloomington mall gets anywhere from 80,000 to 100,000 visitors in a weekend, more than the typical 20,000 visitors the in-house offerings get, he said. The historical society also draws in about 60,000 more people in outreach events like the Mall of America exhibit or school visits.
Mall staff had initially approached the group in hopes to put on an historical event, Carter said. That led to the historical society picking the most mobile exhibit they have — last year's World War I offering.
"We talked about bringing some history to the Mall of America, and the question was 'What kind of exhibit can you easily transport?'," Carter said.
The weekend offerings will also include a World War I-themed fashion show in the mall's rotunda, he said. The all-female show will highlight the roles that women played in the wartime era.
"We really wanted to focus on the role that women played in WWI," Carter said. "It wasn't just staying home while the men went off to war, they were out working in the factories ... and getting paid for the work."
The society is also partnering with Crayola to offer free admission to the company's Crayola Experience at the Mall of America, provided they finish a scavenger hunt. Other kid-friendly activities include coloring sheets and craft poppy making.
The Memorial Day exhibit takes place May 24-27 in the Mall of America's northeast court. The fashion show takes place at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Monday, May 27.