Project:Right on Lake Street/about

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About Lake Street
Lake Street, a six-mile corridor linking St. Paul and Minneapolis, encompasses 14 neighborhoods and is one of Minneapolis’ most important commercial districts. Lake Street began as the path to the lakes, but for the last century and a half it has been so much more – an entry point for new arrivals, a thoroughfare for those on their way, a boundary line dividing neighborhoods, and a meeting ground bringing diverse ethnic groups together. It has been an economic engine and, at times, a casualty of transformations bigger than itself. Whether an avenue for success, a crossroads or the end of the line, Lake Street has always brought into relief the rich dynamics of a city on the move.

About The Project
In September 2004, the Minnesota Historical Society and Macalester College began exploring ways to partner with local communities to enrich public life and to tell the story, past and present, of one of Minneapolis’ most diverse and ever-changing streets. Students in 12 Macalester classes conducted research projects, between 2004-2007, that engaged residents and organizations on Lake Street. The Lake Street Council advised students on their research and helped bridge connections to community organizations. The student projects covered topics ranging from geography and economics to women’s studies and GIS mapping, many of which provided content for the exhibit, this wiki and the 21A - Right on Lake Street interactive web site.

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre joined the project in 2006 to give the exhibit its distinctive visual look. Using papier-mâché, felt, fabric, wire and other set-building materials, In the Heart of the Beast designers, along with Society exhibit developers, are creating a colorful and interactive gallery experience like nothing ever seen before in the Twin Cities. Colorful models re-imagine historic and contemporary buildings, including the Wonderland Rollercoaster from the early 1900s and Calhoun Square from today.

“Right on Lake Street” is not a comprehensive history of Lake Street told by professional historians. Instead, Macalester students were encouraged to explore Lake Street and create projects that highlight the connections between people and place.

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