Walking tours celebrate latest Hear, Here additions


Event is a collaboration between UWL, public library archives and Downtown Mainstreet, Inc.

Walking tours of Downtown La Crosse celebrating 17 newly added Hear, Here stories — from the perspective of Ho Chunk, Hmong, African American, Latino, LGBTQ+ and people who have experienced homelessness — will be from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28.

The event, “Last Cheer of Hear, Here: A Celebration of New Stories,” showcases the award-winning Hear, Here project, a collection of audio recordings of oral histories in downtown La Crosse that can be accessed by dialing a toll-free number at orange street signs. Hear, Here started as a project in one of UW-La Crosse Associate Professor Ariel Beaujot’s history classes in 2014. The additional stories in 2018 were recorded, edited and added by students in Beaujot’s spring semester class, “Hear, Here: Public History in Theory and Practice.”

Eight different tours will depart every 15 minutes from Downtown Main Street, Inc., 500 Main St., La Crosse. All tours will take about 1 hour. The event begins at 11 a.m. with opening remarks at 11:15 a.m. The event is free and includes food and coffee from Jules Coffee House.

Walking tours

11:30 a.m. – Ho-Chunk Monuments
11:45 a.m. – La Crosse racial injustice
Noon – The Purpose of a Park
12:15 p.m. Lost Architecture
12:30 p.m. – LGBTQ+ LAX
12:45 p.m. – Bottoms Up: Bar Culture
1 p.m. – Red Light La Crosse
1:15 p.m. – Taking a Stand: La Crosse Protests

Participants should bring mobile phones to hear the stories. The event is a partnership between UWL, The La Crosse Public Library Archives and Downtown Main Street, Inc.

Olivia Hoff, a UWL senior and public and policy history major in the class, learned that the process of collecting stories from underrepresented groups takes “understanding of your own humility.”

“These people of underrepresented groups share their stories with us with complete vulnerability,” she says. “I, as the interviewer, have to be willing to set aside my own perspective to completely engulf myself in their experience. This project has taught me that empathy is one of the most powerful emotions that can lead to greater change.”

Hoff would like to be a museum curator in the future. “Hear, Here has helped further my goal of working in a museum that piques the public’s interest in history.”

The event is supported in part through a Margins of Excellence grant from the UWL Provost’s Office.

Creating new Footsteps

Some of the Hear, Here walking tours will be added to the long-standing La

Crosse Public Library Archives Footsteps of La Crosse Tours, a series of tours by foot and bus highlighting historic and architecturally significant residences and buildings in La Crosse.

“Dr. Beaujot was very interested in having a stable place for these tours to live on beyond the Hear, Here project parameters,” says Scott Brouwer, archivist at the La Crosse Public Library. “These additional tours would add a completely different flavor to the existing menu of tours, while still maintaining the essence of the Footsteps of La Crosse project.”

The spring 2018 Footsteps of La Crosse walking tours are scheduled for April 24, May 1, May 8 and May 15.

Register and learn more at: www.footstepsoflacrosse.org. The fall tours will include Downtown, UWL, and Franciscan Neighborhood walking tours and a bus tour of the North Side. Dates will be Sept.  4, 11, 18, and 25, respectively.

New K-12 lessons development using Hear, Here

As part of “Last Cheer of Hear, Here: A Celebration of New Stories,” Hear, Here will launch new K-12 programming on its website.

Over the last year, UWL senior Sara Krueger has been developing interactive, student-centered lesson plans for eighth grade teachers who use Hear, Here stories to teach La Crosse history. She will also be developing similar material for high school students. Another graduate student at UW-Milwaukee, Calli Niemi, is creating lesson plans for fourth grade students.

One of Krueger’s lesson plans involves a field trip to downtown La Crosse to listen to the Hear, Here stories, as well as an in-class field trip alternative. Another lesson plan has students create their own Hear, Here-type stories about something they experienced in a location of their choice.

Hear, Here presents a unique opportunity for students to learn downtown history that has not yet been used in the classroom,” says Krueger, who is majoring in history education and broad field social studies education. “I owe many local teachers, UWL education professors and other education students a big thanks for their help and feedback!”

The students’ curriculum development is funded by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation and a UWL Undergraduate Research Grant.

Programming will be available on the Hear, Here website for anyone to use at www.hearherelacrosse.org/

Media contact:
Ariel Beaujot, UWL Associate Professor of History