Taking the History of PLU on the road

DAVID MAIR
News Editor
mairdl@plu.edu

Continuing to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Pacific Lutheran University, an exhibition is preparing ready to hit the road.
A variety of activities have been held to celebrate PLU’s 125th birthday. A committee formed to facilitate all the events. Members included people from Media Lab, Archives, Alumni and other groups around campus.

To keep the party going, Dr. Elisabeth Ward, director of the Scandinavian Cultural Center, was asked to create an exhibit, and she created it as a traveling exhibit.

“I’ve been curating for over 20 years, which is why they asked me to do it,” said Dr. Ward. “It is a lot of work but it’s exciting.”
Ward titled the exhibit “PLU @ Lutheran Education on the Frontier”.

The title’s inspiration draws from PLU’s own location and way of teaching, as well as the Scandinavian immigrants.
First, Reverend Bjug Harstad founded many Lutheran schools throughout the Midwest only to realize that no Lutheran schools were on the West Coast.

In 1890, Harstad founded PLU in the Pacific Northwest. The PNW is referred to as the last frontier, said Ward.

The second meaning behind the title comes from the unique style of Lutheran Education.

“People often don’t realize that Martin Luther pushed for creating public education in Germany,” said Dr. Ward.

In addition, Luther pushed the idea of questioning, along with taking a broad look at education.

Dr. Ward described 1890 as a “breakthrough” for both Norway as well as the PNW.
Simultaneously in Norway many philosophers put a critical lens to Norway’s society since it was the turn of the century. The philosophers wanted to put a critical lens on how things were being done.

Lastly, the “frontier” refers to the Scandinavian immigrants whose last stop happened to be the PNW. The immigrants worked primarily as loggers.

The exhibit will open in Seattle at the Nordic Heritage Museum on September 26th. Portland will display the exhibit next.
All the artifacts, except a few pictures, used in the exhibit have never been on display before.

One book in the exhibit tells the tale of PLU’s band in 1896 which climbed to Camp Muir with their instruments to play.

To find out more information on current and future exhibits, as well as way to get involved in the Scandinavian Cultural Center, contact scancntr@plu.edu.  🅼

Samantha Lund

Samantha Lund was the Editor in Chief at The Mast, a student-run newsroom within Pacific Lutheran University, in 2015-16. Lund created Mast Magazine in 2015 to give students a forum for long form news pieces. She could be found writing for Pacific Lutheran University's Marketing and Communication site plu.edu or interning at MOViN 92.9's morning talk show in Seattle. Other places to find her content include: Alaska Airlines blog and website, The News Tribune and The Bremerton Harald.

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