Louwagie Completes Oral History Project, Agriculture and Rural Life: A Study in Transitions

Jan Louwagie, coordinator of the Southwest Minnesota Regional Research Center and an officer of the Society for the Study of Local and Regional History, has completed an oral history project entitled "Agriculture and Rural Life: A Study in Transitions." Louwagie received a $2000 grant from the Minnesota Historical Society for the project. The idea sprung from the 1998 closing of the Bethany Lutheran Church of Renville, Minnesota due to a widely publicized admission of declining membership and a changing rural environment. The closing of this small church offered this opportunity to document much wider changes in agriculture and rural/small town life. Louwagie interviewed five narrators, chosen to represent different points of view, occupations, generations, and place in the community. Topics for discussion in the interviews included family history, changes in farming, rural economic life, and the rural church and its place in the community. With funds from the Minnesota State Historical Records Advisory Board, Louwagie then composed a brief manual on best practice for the design and execution of similar oral history projects. She has since delivered presentations about the project to the Renville County Genealogical Society, the Canby Depot Restoration Committee, and various county extension groups.




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Last updated: March 21, 2006