Everyone eats. Family traditions and ethic backgrounds may steer the types of foods we love but eating has evolved considerably since grandma’s day.
Medina is one of a dozen small communities that will be hosting a Smithsonian Museums on Main Street Key Ingredients: America by Food exhibit into next year. And, it’s all about the food.
Food is important to our lives but who gives much thought to where it comes from and how it magically appears in our supermarkets and restaurants.
Imagine eating nine pounds of buffalo a day to survive like the men in the Lewis and Clark expedition. Or, perhaps going with-out milk and fruit for a year while crossing 2,000 miles of this great nation in search of a place to settle.
Seriously, Fear Factor has nothing on the diets of the early inhabitants in this area. Native populations ate insects and wild plants while the Northern European settlers ate every last chewable bite of livestock grazed on prairie grass or table scraps.
Key Ingredients: America by Food documents the evolution of eating in America from the days of early settlers to the discovery that freezing can preserve the fruits of summer to enjoy all year round.
The Smithsonian exhibit will be installed in Medina from Oct. 20 through Dec. 2 and is currently at the Dakota Prairie Regional Center for the Arts in New Rockford.
In partnership with The North Dakota Humanities Council – 12 communities were selected around the state to host the traveling exhibit with the intention of bringing a Smithsonian-quality experience to underserved rural cities.
Medina will be showcasing its Germans from Russian heritage, local businesses, the historical society as well as the community’s food history. The committee is currently securing programing, local artifacts and historic displays, and interactive demonstrations to compliment the exhibit’s six-week stay in the historic stone city hall building on Medina’s Main Street.
Booths and displays of historical items surrounding the development and culture of Medina will round out the Smithsonian exhibit, which will be free and open to the public. Hours and programming will be announced at a later date.
The display will be housed in the city hall because of its historical significance to Medina.
The men of the WPA program constructed the large stone building from 1939-1941. Gilbert Horton, a well-known architect from Jamestown, designed this building as well as 256 schools in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana and a hall in Steele that is still standing. He is credited with building the first Jamestown Hospital, Trinity Hospitals, the hippodome in Jamestown McElroy Park and many other buildings around North Dakota and surrounding states.
Overseeing the actual construction of his building, Gilbert developed a method of using rock for building material. He taught the men how to find the grain of the rock and split it just right making it square like a brick. The rock was found within an 18-mile radius of Medina.
About 45 men were employed on the building project during the Workers Projects Administration (WPA) started in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt removing their families from the relief program and putting them to work. The program lasted eight years and many North Dakota buildings, bridges, highways, rail roads, airfields, trees and parks remain today as reminders of this era.
August Schumaker, Rudy Hoffman, Ernest Martel, Henry (Hank) Hoffmann, Gustave H. Hins, Reno Opp and Gust Deutcher were part of the local work crew.
If you have Medina history, items or photographs; wish to be a docent or volunteer for set up; or any other information about Key Ingredients, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Sue at 701- 527-5169; or contact Chairman Myron Gunderson email@example.com or call 701-269-3655 or 701-486- 3149.
For more information about the exhibits in North Dakota visit: www.nd-humanities.org/kingredients.php.