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First Fridays to Begin 2005 with Presentation
on Norway

RELEASED: Jan. 21, 2005

EAU CLAIRE — First Fridays for 2005 will begin with a Feb. 4 presentation titled "Viking Ships Sailing Down the Streets of Oslo in the Early 1900s." University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire archivist Heather Muir will take her audience on a visit to Norway, continuing this year's theme for the series of programs for senior citizens: "Bringing the World Downtown: A Passport Season."

Since 2001, Muir has been an assistant professor as well as head of Special Collections and university archivist in the W.D. McIntyre Library. Before coming to Eau Claire, she taught Norwegian in the University of Minnesota's Scandinavian department and worked as a curator in their Immigration History Research Center. She frequently makes presentations on genealogy, ethnic resources for genealogy research, historiography of Norwegian immigrant women and Viking ships as a source of identity for Norway in the early 20th century.

Muir's areas of interest include history (local, UW-Eau Claire, U.S., and European); primary sources; immigration history and ethnicity; Scandinavian studies, especially Norwegian and Finnish cultures, folk art, and languages; and family history and genealogy. The focus of her subject-specific academic studies has been the history of Norwegian immigrants in the Upper Midwest during the late 19th century — the push/pull factors of immigration, continuation of traditions and customs, adaptations to American culture, the development of an ethnic identity, material culture and folk art, and the experiences of immigrant women, which she has combined professionally with archival reference, records management and the history of archives.

A free continental breakfast will precede Muir's talk. Doors open for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. in the Memorial Lounge at Christ Church Cathedral (corner of Lake and Farwell in downtown Eau Claire). The program will follow at 9 a.m. For the safety of the senior citizen audience, the program will be cancelled if the Eau Claire School District cancels or delays classes due to inclement weather.

First Fridays is funded by grant support from the Downtown Eau Claire Business Improvement District, the AnnMarie Foundation and Xcel Energy, as well as the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation Community Outreach Program for the Arts. The program is coordinated by Beverly Soll and Jennifer Hinners of the UW-Eau Claire Activities and Programs Office and Scott and Heather Kirby of Christ Church Cathedral.

First Fridays events are presented on the first Friday of each month October through May, with the exception of January, at no cost to the senior community.

For more information about First Fridays or to be placed on a mailing list, call (715) 836-2787 [ARTS].

-30-

JS/NW

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