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Smallest Museum welcomes new exhibit

Staff photos by Clay Schuldt The Johnson brothers, Matt (left) and Carter, unveiled their mixed media depiction of the 1862 U.S./Dakota War, Friday. The exhibit will be on display in the Smallest Museum in Minnesota for the next two months.

NEW ULM — The Smallest Museum in Minnesota welcomed a new exhibit on the Battle of New Ulm, Friday.

The new exhibit, located outside The Grand Center for Art and Culture, features a mixed media representation of the U.S. Dakota conflict of 1862.

The exhibit was created by brothers Matt and Carter Johnson. The Johnson brothers grew up in the Judson area and are familiar with the history of the conflict. Matt said they have memories of the Dakota people walking past their home in Judson every Christmas as part of the commemoration of the execution that occurred Dec. 26, 1862 in the aftermath of the conflict.

The idea for the exhibit began with the brothers trying to find a collaborative project. Matt typically works with photography and Carter does woodworking. This meant the project would be mixed media, incorporating photography and wood. The Johnson brothers also wanted to make it an abstract representation.

The background of the display was created by Matt, taking black and white photographs of clouds, trees and fires from around the region. Using wood sourced from the Judson area, Carter created miniature pioneer cabins. Some of the cabins he would later burn to symbolize the destruction during the siege of New Ulm. One of the miniature homes was left untouched behind a wooden barricade to represent the Kiesling House that survived the conflict.

The display also includes photographs of Little Crow and Charles Flandrau as the two important figures involved in the conflict.

This exhibit will remain on display in the Smallest Museum for the next two months. Visitors will be able to view it 24/7.

The grand opening of the exhibit can be viewed on The Grand’s Facebook page. The video includes a full interview with the Johnson brothers.

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