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The Memorial Stadium arch welcomes visitors to the Heritage Gallery.

The reconstructed Memorial Stadium arch welcomes visitors to the Heritage Gallery.

Stadium memories at Heritage Gallery

From eNews, September 2, 2004

It's been 23 years since a football game was last played in Memorial Stadium, but alumni and friends of the University still longingly remember those crisp fall days when Gopher football was played outdoors and on-campus. Now, the Curt and Arleen Carlson Heritage Gallery at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center has plans to capture some of those memories in a new Memorial Stadium exhibit that opens Monday, September 13.

"With momentum for a new on-campus stadium growing, the time seemed right to develop an exhibit of Memorial Stadium," says Steve Boyd-Smith, Heritage Gallery curator. "Historical exhibits remind us of our shared past and inspire us to dream new dreams and rally around new goals."

Visitors to the Heritage Gallery will first pass through the reconstructed Memorial Stadium arch. Engineers from BKBM Professional Engineers, the firm that oversaw the stadium's demolition, took painstaking care to label each brick and reconstruct the arch when the McNamara Alumni Center was built in 1999. Once inside, visitors will be greeted by photos, quotes, and memorabilia encompassing three chapters of the stadium's life--its fund-raising campaign and construction in the 1920s, its reputation as a community gathering place until 1981, and its demolition in 1992, which includes an epilogue for the current stadium initiative.

"We're especially excited about that epilogue," says Margaret Carlson, University of Minnesota Alumni Association executive director. "The University of Minnesota Alumni Association was the first organization to take a stand to bring Gopher football back to campus and the first to give $1 million [to the new fund-raising effort]. The alumni association is ready to once again help bring Gopher football back to campus."

In addition to the Memorial Stadium exhibit, the Heritage Gallery also has a number of permanent exhibits: a wall of books written by University alumni, faculty, staff, and students; kiosks profiling famous people from the University's past; and a display featuring the four University campus mascots. The gallery is owned and managed by the University Gateway Corporation, a private partnership comprised of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, the University of Minnesota Foundation, and the University of Minnesota Medical Foundation.

The Heritage Gallery is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

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