“Danish Children Growing Up American” is the title of the photographic exhibit now on display at the Blair Library and Technology Center through February 3, 2018.
It was also the title of a presentation by John Mark Nielsen of Blair which was held in the Conference Center at the Blair Library and Technology Center on Sunday, January 21, 2018. Nielsen is Executive Director Emeritus of the Museum of Danish America in Elkhorn, Iowa, and Emeritus Professor of English at the former Dana College.
In his presentation Nielsen said he wanted to share his observations and put the exhibit in somewhat of a larger context. Nielsen told the audience about his family’s move to Blair in 1962 when his dad joined the faculty at Dana College.
Living in the new family home on Grant Street was when Nielsen first became aware of the cultural diversity of the families in that neighborhood. He said from this awareness came the understanding that out of many we are one. He said this exhibit speaks to one group but he hopes that as visitors view the exhibit and reflect on the pictures, they will recognize that many different ethnic groups could share this same story.
Nielsen’s presentation focused on the role of the church, education and cultural traditions that affected the lives of Danish immigrant children. He also talked about why Dana College and its predecessor Trinity Seminary became an important part in what became a national church.