Northern Wilds Magazine
The Duluth Fiber Guild has a 30-piece exhibit on display now until May 20 at the Tweed Museum. | STEVEN TIGGEMANN

Tweed: A community museum

The Northland is rich with history; natural spaces, industries, people, and cultures. Preserving it in all forms for future generations to enjoy takes vision, which is what motivated the Tweed family to create the Tweed Museum of Art in Duluth.

Established in 1950, the Tweed home was donated to serve as a community museum. However, it quickly outgrew its space and was moved to the University of Minnesota-Duluth campus in 1958, with most of the construction funded by family donations. The initial collection began with American and 19th century European pieces, gathered by George P. Tweed and then gifted to the museum by his widow, Alice Tweed Tuohy. The comprehensive collection is made up of mediums ranging from prints, ceramics and photography, to textiles, animations, and paintings, in addition to contemporary Native and Indigenous art.

The Tweeds were ahead of their time in terms of appreciation for art, focusing on the diverse cultures and techniques from around the world. The artwork continues to stay relevant to the community still, growing globally—the permanent collection now consists of 8,000 works of art. Not only is the collection size impressive, but the state of the art, professional display of the items, and the artwork itself engages visitors and tells an in-depth story as visitors tour the rooms and hallways of the museum.

As part of the Tweed’s family vision, the museum also serves as a teaching museum. In addition to study spaces, interpretive workshops, lectures, and student exhibits are featured throughout the school year. Three floors of nine exhibit spaces allow for self-guided tours and it is recommended to plan on a two-hour visit. Staff and volunteers are on site to answer questions and provide historical and exhibit details. The extensive collection allows for rotating exhibits and the visiting seasonal curated shows keeps art enthusiasts coming back for more.

The Tweed Museum has partnered with the Duluth Fiber Guild for its current spring exhibit, featured in several rooms on the first floor of the museum. The guild is celebrating its 50-year anniversary this year and the exhibit includes 30 pieces selected from a juried show held last fall. The first space is dedicated to the guild’s founder, Janet Meany. Board member and organizer of the anniversary event, Kit Sitter, is thrilled with the design Tweed curators created for the exhibit. Sitter says the group was researching several locations and “this partnership was a serendipitous ending.” The Duluth Fiber Guild exhibit is on display now until May 20.

Events for the Duluth Fiber Guild’s anniversary includes four additional state-wide exhibits throughout the coming year, wrapping up at the Textile Library in the Twin Cities. Categories of fiber arts that members of the guild specialize in include spinning, weaving, felting, and dying, and they recently added a new group working with reused and repurposed fiber products. Sitter says participants range from beginners to full time professionals and is open to all ages.

“We would love to see more college-aged participants though,” says Sitter.

For more information about the Duluth Fiber Guild, visit:

One of the newest additions to the permanent display at the Tweed Museum does not hang on the walls or sit in a display case; it can be enjoyed on a ride in the elevator. Midwest classically trained painter, Iashia “Mana Bear” Bolton, created a vibrant, 360-degree mural last summer that is available for the public to enjoy. Her colorful and expressive work can also be viewed at:

The Tweed Museum is open Tuesdays through Thursdays and Saturdays, and admission is free. For more information, call 218-726-8222 or go online at: The museum is located in the Humanities Building on the University of Minnesota-Duluth campus at 1201 Ordean Court.

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