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MC to host 'Journey Stories' film series

Barry McNamara
01/26/2010
Monmouth College will play a key role in a major cultural event in the community.

“Journey Stories,” a traveling Smithsonian exhibit focusing on how our ancestors came to America, will be on display at the Buchanan Center for the Arts from Jan. 30 through March 14. Part of the Illinois Humanities Council’s Museum on Main Street program, the exhibit will kick off with a grand opening at the Buchanan Center on Jan. 30. William Withuhn, curator from the History of Technology Department at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum, as well as curator of the Journey Stories collection, will be in attendance.

Monmouth College’s role will be to serve as host to a Journey Stories Film Festival that complements the exhibit. On the four Tuesdays in February at 7 p.m. in the Dahl Chapel and Auditorium, a series of award-winning films will be shown, starting with “Sweet Land” on Feb. 2. Admission is free.

Through the stories passed on by his late grandmother, Inge, “Sweet Land” tells the story of Lars Torvik’s decision to either sell the family farm in Minnesota where Inge had lived since 1920, or cling to its legacy. The film will be introduced by Professor Paul Marasa from Knox College, who will also lead a post-screening discussion.

MC faculty members Heather Brady, Lydia Cooper and Farhat Haq will introduce the final three films in the series – “El Norte,” about the hard life of illegal immigrants in the U.S.; “The Grapes of Wrath,” John Steinbeck’s epic novel of the Great Depression; and “The Visitor,” about illegal aliens who are victims of a real estate scam in New York.

Another faculty member, associate professor of history Simon Cordery, will deliver a “Journey Stories” talk on Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Warren County Library. A railroad historian and historical adviser to the National Railroad Hall of Fame, Cordery will speak on the hidden history of the railroads of Illinois in a talk titled “Crossroads of a Nation.”