rants given to highlight U history

For The Daily
A sesquicentennial committee has awarded $65,000 to University departments planning 13 projects to highlight the institution’s historical legacy, including plans to help rebuild the Centennial Showboat.
For this first round, the group reviewed 50 proposals asking for more than $350,000. The second round in the fall is targeted toward student projects.
“Its a nice way to get everybody involved,” said Sue Eastman, committee coordinator.
Other evidence of 150th anniversary celebrations began this weekend, including performances of the musical, “Opera on the Farm.” The student and faculty collaboration kicked off the anniversary celebrations Sunday in Rochester and Lanesboro.
January officially marks the beginning of the sesquicentennial.
Jennifer Amie of the Bell Museum of Natural History said she is ecstatic that the museum received one of the grants.
“We are thrilled that the Bell Museum will be able to participate in such an exciting event for the University,” she said.
The museum plans to use the nearly $8,000 grant to fund museum performances with a backdrop of the Minnesota landscape during the 1850s. The display will feature “a troop of very skilled actors that will be able to accurately portray that time period,” Amie said.
The actors will be in character and will greet the museum’s visitors as they enter. “They will talk about Minnesota natural history, relating it to the history of Minnesota,” she said.
The grant will also be used to encourage young families to take part in the museum’s events scheduled for Founders’ Week in February.
During Founders’ Week, the Weisman Art Museum plans to display hundreds of obscure University historical objects from individual collections across campus. The objects – including rare books and odd medical devices – will be selected by artist Mark Dion and a group of 20 students.
Another sesquicentennial grant will be used by the horticultural science department to create a 500-square-foot garden on the St. Paul campus featuring cold-hardy plants.
The next deadline for grant proposals is Oct. 17. Interested applicants can consult the sesquicentennial Web site at www.umn.edu/sesqui.