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Grant number: PY-258633-18

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PY-258633-18

University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire (Eau Claire, WI 54701-4811)
Dan Ott (Project Director: May 2017 to present)

The Sounds of Eau Claire “History Harvest”: A Digitization, Oral History, and Public Humanities Project on Local Music

Two history harvests to document the musical history and culture of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and public outreach lectures on the area’s musical history. The proposed project would support a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, and the Chippewa Valley Museum to gather family documents, artifacts, and stories. The goal of the project is to better document the city's musical history, particularly in light of the area’s strong music education efforts and recent surge in music performance around this small city of 68,000. The ethnic history of the area has given it a unique musical flavor, including many genres such as polkabilly, Norwegian and German concertina and polka, Ojibwe powwows, and Hmong music events, featured in a range of venues from churches to house parties to festivals. With donor permission, digitized items would be made available via an Omeka-based website. In addition to the events, the project would engage students in a public history course to curate online exhibits and record a podcast.

The Sounds of Eau Claire “History Harvest” will document and share the roots and cultural dimensions of a recent musical renaissance in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Over the last several years the community has reinvented itself as a “Music City” built on indie rock, festivals, and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s nationally-acclaimed jazz program. Building on that foundation and meeting a community desire for better music history, this project will facilitate local co-curation of its musical heritage from the ground up. Through contributing personal and family stories, artifacts, and documents, participants will work with public historians to digitally preserve and share the region’s music history. Including a variety of public programs – humanities presentations, musical performances, podcasts, a digital collection and digital exhibits – this project extends beyond digitization towards fostering a more dynamic local appreciation of the region’s musical past.

Project fields:
Public History

Program:
Common Heritage

Division:
Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$12,000 (approved)
$12,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 6/30/2019