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This October the New Iceland Heritage Museum (NIHM) is proud to present the Terry Tergesen Collection, a compilation of over 800 photos which document the relationship between Icelandic immigrants, their genealogy, and their first home: New Iceland.

Over a period of nearly two decades Terry Tergesen located, copied, and meticulously organized thousands of photos from the albums of Icelandic families who – at one time or another – lived, worked, and played in New Iceland.

The project came about when the Tergesen family, led by Terry’s wife Lorna and daughter Tristin, approached the Museum this spring about having Terry’s photo collection scanned into the museum’s archival database.

The NIHM was excited by the opportunities that such an undertaking could present and happily agreed. It did not take long to realize the magnitude of Terry’s collection, which included approximately seventy binders filled with family histories, town publications, community sagas, Gimli High School Yearbooks, and thousands of photos.

Due to the astounding wealth of information a decision was made to focus on cataloguing his photos and preparing them for an eventual exhibit. Over the summer, approximately 1300 photos were scanned into the museum’s database.

The photos catalogued were principally selected on their ability to visually record the history of families native to New Iceland.  The intent of this fall exhibit, the inaugural showing of his collection to the public, is twofold. First, it seeks to demonstrate the “personality” of New Iceland and its people by exposing through images the rigours, challenges, and triumphs of daily life. Second, and most importantly, this exhibit acts as a vehicle to celebrate not only Terry’s work but all people who act as keepers of the record.

In a world that is often marked by feelings of anonymity, conformity, and obscurity, these individuals diligently – and often quietly – toil within the annals of history to afford us with the opportunity to collectively remember, commemorate, and reflect on times long since passed.

This exhibit reminds us that images remain an integral and necessary part in the process of deciphering the primordiality of our personal, communal, and genealogical past.The Terry Tergesen Collection will be unveiled at the New Iceland Heritage Museum’s Annual Fundraising Gala on Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 at the Waterfront Centre in Gimli, MB. Tickets are $80 for NIHM members and $90 for non-members. Please call (204) 642-4001 for further information.
 
Kai Olson has worked at the New Iceland Heritage Museum the previous two years as a summer student. He has a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Winnipeg and will be beginning a Master’s degree at the University of Toronto this fall.

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