April 2013 Archives

Deadman's Switch

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Kate doing figure 8's.JPGIn the words of my colleague Lisa Vecoli, you know the lesson is off to a scary start when there is mention of the dead man's switch. There are reasons I chose to be an archivist and not a police officer, and discussion of a dead man's anything is very much one of those reasons.

Thus began two afternoons of training in order to drive one of the stock pickers that roam the caverns of Elmer L. Andersen Library. Underneath the Andersen Library, carved 82 feet down into the bluffs of the Mississippi River, are two caverns where the Department of Archives and Special Collections as well as the Minnesota Library Access Center store their treasures of books and archives. Each of the two caverns measures 680 feet long, 65 feet wide, and 23 feet high. It is because of that 23 feet of height that Lisa and I were attending training--because even with a ladder those highest shelves remain unreachable without the aid of a stock picker.

Kate using the stock picker.JPGThe two stock pickers in the caverns (aptly nicknamed Isis and Osiris after the ancient Egyptian mythological gods of the underworld) operate as fork lifts with a table attached to the forks, allowing for archives boxes to be placed upon retrieval. The dead man's switch, as we learned from our instructor Tim McCluske who works with MINITEX, is a foot pedal that acts as a fail-safe, bringing the machine to an abrupt stop should an emergency arise. The stock picker weighs nearly three times more than a car and proved to be powerful and intimidating. Having just moved to Minnesota from New York City, I have spent the past five years not driving a car let alone heavy machinery, and now here I was standing in the carriage of a massive machine attempting to learn the sharp pivot point so as not to run into shelving or walls.

New Exhibit Takes You Behind The Scenes

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Behind the Scenes exhibit.jpg"Behind the Scenes: Twin Cities Performing Arts and 50 Years of the Guthrie Theater," April 1-June 28, 2013, presented by the Performing Arts Archives at Elmer L. Andersen Library.

Come for a behind-the-scenes look at the Guthrie Theater, James Sewell Ballet, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Minnesota Orchestra, and many, many more!

We find magic on our stages, and that magic comes from many sources, at once sublime and profoundly Behind the Scenes entry.JPGhuman. The work that goes into every production we see is a prelude to the thrill of theater, dance, and orchestra performances. Indeed, as much energy goes into hiding the gears, logistics, and stagehands that make the performing arts appear utterly complete and seamless as in showing audiences a well-set world, wondrously brought to life by actors, dancers, and musicians.

There are great pleasures to be found in peeking behind the curtain, into the rehearsal studios, costume and prop shops, offices, and boardrooms that make opening night, and every night following, possible. It is there we find the genesis of an idea--for a theater that will change Minnesota, or a groundbreaking ballet company, or a revolutionary version of a well-known story--transformed through personalities, budgets, missions, director's notes, nightly performance reports, and beautiful costume renderings.

Free Lecture on John Berryman

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berryman for blog.jpgPlease come for a free lecture from the Upper Midwest Literary Archives!

Guest Scholar Talk by Dr. Philip Coleman, Trinity College, Dublin Ireland

"John Berryman: Scholarship and Poetry"

Thursday, April 25, 2013 at noon.
120 Andersen Library
Free and open to the public.

You may review the contents of the John Berryman Papers at the archive by viewing the finding aid.

Cecily Marcus, Curator, Upper Midwest Literary Archives


Creating Art in Children's Literature

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ontheshelves-drama.jpgOne of the most satisfying parts of visiting the Children's Literature Research Collections is to be able to peek behind the scenes. To see how art is developed for a picture book or the process of revising a manuscript. One of our favorite creators of books for young adults is Raina Telgemeier. We are linking to Raina's blogpost as she shows us how she created the art for her award winning YA (Young Adult) graphic novel, Drama.

Lisa Von Drasek, Children's Literature Research Collections



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This page is an archive of entries from April 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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