Museums and Galleries of Minneapolis and St Paul
This tour would take several days to complete and is intended to offer a general introduction to the many museums and art galleries of the MSP metro.
Located on the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and operated by the Minnesota Air National Guard Historical Foundation, the Minnesota Air National Guard Museum houses one of the largest collections of military aircraft and related equipment in the surrounding five-state region. It was founded in 1984 and features 21 aircraft on display outside—these include fighters, cargo planes, helicopters, and utility aircraft used by the US military dating before WWII to the present day—and several exhibits in the hangar exhibit hall. Objects in the hangar include ejections seats, flight simulators, jet and piston engines, and weaponry ranging from WWI to today. There are also exhibits on the Doolittle raid and the Tuskegee Airmen. The museum also houses a library which has an extensive collection of historical documents, photographs, manuscripts and books.
Founded in 2001, the Museum of Russian Art (TMORA), is a member-supported nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and presentation of all forms of Russian art and artifacts. The only North American museum of its kind, TMORA features a dynamic rotation of originally curated exhibitions showcasing extraordinary works of art seldom displayed in the United States. Through the Museum’s educational programs and diverse exhibitions, visitors can explore new perspectives on the history, heritage and art of Russia and surrounding cultures. The museums's collection is comprised of paintings, photography, lacquer art, porcelain, textiles, prints, and other forms of art.
The Minnesota Streetcar Museum focuses on the preservation of Minnesota's electric railway history by acquiring, restoring, maintaining, and operating a fleet of eight historic Minnesota streetcars on the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line in Minneapolis and the Excelsior Streetcar Line in Excelsior. MSM also preserves artifacts, papers, and photographs that it uses to interpret Minnesota's electric railway history.
The Bakken Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to the medical uses of electricity. It features a wide variety of hands-on exhibits that help educate visitors about the history of electricity and electromagnetism from 1200 A. D. to the present. This includes an exhibit on Mary Shelley, the writer of Frankenstein, and a small theater recreating the laboratory of the mad scientist who created Frankenstein. The museum opened in 1975 and moved to the current location, the old West Winds mansion, a year later.
The Pavek Museum of Broadcasting highlights the history of broadcasting both nationally and in the Minnesota area. The museum’s collections include antique radio, television, and broadcasting equipment featuring over 30 television manufactures from the Minnesota area in the 1920s, as well as the John T. “Jack” Mullin Collection of recording technology. Mullin was a WWII soldier who began his collection and passion for radio when he brought a German AEG Magnetophon tape recorder home to the U.S. The museum also features the Pioneer Broadcaster Series, a collection of videotape interviews with prominent people in the broadcasting history, the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame, popular children’s shows from the Twin Cities, and a library that has technical and service information on electronics. The museum offers several programs, including a Broadcast workshop for children, Magnets to Megahertz, The Electromagnetism Workshop, and Vintage Radio Service for adults.
Established in 1883 as the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, this is the premiere fine art museum in Minnesota. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts maintains an extensive collection of over 80,000 objects from nearly every continent. The collection includes pieces as old as 40,000 years to modern works by Monet and other famous artists. The MIA has seven curatorial areas: Arts of Africa & the Americas; Contemporary Art; Decorative Arts, Textiles & Sculpture; Asian Art; Paintings; Photography and New Media; and Prints and Drawings. The museum receives around a half a million visitors per year.
The Walker Art Center features contemporary visual and performing arts exhibits and programs. In 1988, the Center opened the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden next to the museum. Both the Center and the Sculpture Garden are known to art lovers around the world. The Center offers one of the leading collections of modern art and is known for its innovative approach to connecting art with visitors. The sculpture garden remains one of the largest in the nation and over 20,000 art lovers attended its most recent festival.
The Hennepin Center for the Arts was originally built from 1888 to 1990 as a Masonic Temple. The building is a Richardsonian Romanesque style designed by long architects, Long and Kees. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1795. Today is part of The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts.
Located in the ruins of what was once the largest flour mill in the world, the Mill City Museum commemorates the history of milling and the Riverfront. Exhibits present the history of the mill and the city's role as a center of flour production from the 19th century to the mid-20th century. The museum also preserves and interprets the history of the city and region with exhibits and programs that change throughout the year to make each visit unique and educational.
Home to 20,000 works of art, the Weisman Art Museum opened in 1993 and features American Modernism, ceramics, Mimbres pottery, and the most complete collection of Korean furniture outside of Asia. Internationally acclaimed artist Frank Gehry designed the building and its addition, which was completed in 2011. American artists represented include Georgia O’Keeffe and Marsden Hartley.
The Bell Museum of Natural History is a museum located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on the campus of the University of Minnesota. On display are numerous animal specimens from all over the world. The museum is best-known for its dioramas which show caribou, timber wolves, bobcats, deer, moose, and a variety of birds from the wetlands. The museum also offers the Touch and See Discovery Room--a place where school groups and families can explore the natural world through interactive exhibits. The museum will move to a new location at the University of Minnesota-St. Paul campus in 2018.
The Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakota Life is an outdoor agricultural museum where visitors can learn about 19th and 20th century farm life. It was originally a homestead owned by Henan and Jane Gibbs, who settled at this location in 1849. The farm is one of the few remaining in the greater Twin City area. Its also unique in that it was also a truck farm. The oldest structure at the museum is the farmhouse, which was built in 1854. Other buildings include the original white barn where animals were cared for, a one-room schoolhouse moved here from western Minnesota, and a red barn used for educational programs. The farm was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It became a museum in 1954 after the Ramsey County Historical Society bought it in 1949. The museum also features a tipi and bark lodge, which depict how the Dakota Indians lived, a medicine garden, and traditional Dakota and pioneer gardens. Day camps are offered as well as school field trips. The farm can be rented for weddings are other events.
Built by James J. Hill and the Great Northern Railway in 1907, the Jackson Street Roundhouse, a former steam engine maintenance facility, is home to the Minnesota Transportation Museum. The museum hosts exhibits abut local and regional railway and bus history, features an operation roundhouse turntable, allows visitors to see the restoration of historic railway operating equipment, and offers train rides every Saturday. The museum hosts several events throughout the year, including Tots & Trains, Roundhouse on Tap brewery tastings, and Music in the Museum. On Saturdays and Sundays during the months of May through October, the museum holds Brunch Train Rides, Pizza Train Rides, Dinner Train Rides, and Excursion Train Rides.
Housed in the historic Endicott Building, the Minnesota Museum of American Art is one of the state's leading arts institutions. It features a collection of 4,500 works of state, regional and national American artists including Thomas Hart Benton, Joan Mitchell, Romare Bearden; many Minnesota artists are also represented. The museum also offers numerous educational community engagement programs including classes, interdisciplinary programs, and partnerships. The Endicott Building was built in the late 1890s and, along with the adjoining Pioneer Building, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The American Association of Woodturners (AAW) is the leading organization in the United States demonstrating finely crafted artworks of wood turning. The association was founded in 1986 and is located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and has over 15,000 members around the world. AAW holds an annual national symposium, and generously sponsors organizes activities for outreach to new members as well as educational activities.
The Science Museum of Minnesota features 70,000 square feet of exhibitions, including a temporary exhibit gallery and five permanent galleries. It offers numerous interactive exhibits, including the Mississippi River Gallery, the Human Body Gallery, the Cell Lab, the Collections Gallery, the Experiment Gallery, the Dinosaurs and Fossils Gallery, Big Back Yard, the Collectors Corner, and Science Buzz. The museum’s main areas of focus are archaeology, ethnology, mammalogy, entomology, ornithology, vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology, river and stream ecology, and watershed biology. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs for students, teachers, and visitors of all ages. A highlight of the museum is the Imax Convertible Dome Omnitheater, which presents films about science; it is the only such theater in the country.
An interactive museum, the Minnesota History Center features permanent and changing exhibits and the Minnesota Historical Society Library and Archives. The History Center opened in 1992 and has a museum, library, classrooms, an auditorium, a museum store, and a café. Exhibit highlights include a 24-ton boxcar, galleries that tell the story of Minnesota in the first and second World War, exhibits dedicated to Native Americans and early European settlers, and a multimedia show that highlights Minnesota’s weather. The Minnesota Historical Society was established in 1849.