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Kalejdoskop polski,  Minnesota

Kaleidoscope, Spotlight on Polish Americans in Minnesota

Kalejdoskop Polski, Minnesota Project aims to capture and preserve the history of Polish-American experiences and contributions to Minnesota. In our vision, this is a five-phase project, with each of the five phases collecting oral histories and photographic portraits from Polish-American Minnesotans from different eras of immigration.“ Kalejdoskop Polski, MN” should deliver a strong visual message. 

Phase One of the project focuses on the Solidarity political refugees. In the 1980s, the Solidarity movement in Poland became one of Europe’s most notable social movements, playing a significant role in ending communist rule in Poland and significantly influencing freedom movements in the whole of Eastern Europe. As a consequence of participating in this movement, many individuals experienced terrible repression, including imprisonment by the state. Some of these individuals moved to Minnesota as political refugees.


Kalejdoskop Team has been working on phase one of the project and making significant progress, despite the COVID-19 pandemic causing significant delays. With the increasing pace of COVID-19 vaccinations, we have been able to quicken the pace and make significant advances on the project in recent weeks. Kalejdoskop Project Team plans to start offering virtual guided tours of the exhibit and in-person events in the Fall of 2021. Check our website for more information after June 15, 2021.

The Minnesota Historical Society has awarded a Minnesota Historical & Cultural Heritage Grant to the Polish American Medical Society of Minnesota for the Kalejdoskop Project that seeks to illuminate the experiences of Solidarnosc/ Solidarity refugees in Minnesota. The Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council has approved an Arts Project Support grant to our organization for this project as well.

With over 240,000 Polish-American Minnesotans in the state (State Demographic Data, 2015), but only four oral histories documenting this community in the MNHS archives, this project responds to a need that has been raised by the community to improve the visibility of the group.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. 


This publication was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Any views, findings, opinions, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, or the Minnesota Historic Resources Advisory Committee.