Family Fun Directory

Minnesota History Center

» Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55102
Admission: $ 12.00
$12 adults; $10 seniors and college students w/ID; $10 active military w/ID; $6 children ages 5-17; Free Tuesdays 5-8 pm; Free for children age 4 and under and MNHS members; Free to visit the library
Concessions Available
Hours of Operation:
Monday Closed
Tuesday 10:00 AM - 08:00 PM
Wednesday 10:00 AM - 05:00 PM
Thursday 10:00 AM - 05:00 PM
Friday 10:00 AM - 05:00 PM
Saturday 10:00 AM - 05:00 PM
Sunday 12:00 PM - 05:00 PM

Being able to chaperone my kids' field trips is a convenient way to get around the Twin Cities and see what there is to offer. Last year, I was able to go to a lot of different places. Just a few weeks ago, I was able to accompany a gaggle of 2nd graders to the Minnesota History Center. It is located in St. Paul overlooking both the capitol building and the rest of the city.  The Minnesota History Center is full of exhibits built for the whole family to enjoy with many hands on activities--soda fountain, ammunition assembly line, airplane staircase, wind machine and weather vanes, a house to explore and touch--and loads of information for adults to digest.

Inside the History Center, there is an entire library--the Gale Family Library-- dedicated to the history of Minnesota, Minnesota family history and lineage.  If you are interested in learning about your family or doing a research project, this library is a great resource.  There is no fee to use the library.  Keep in mind that the library is non-circulating, so you can't check the information out and return it.

Current Exhibits at Minnesota History Center

The Minnesota History Center's exhibits include on-going exhibits and  featured exhibits. Current exhibits include:

Gridiron Glory at Minnesota History Center

Pro Football Hall of Fame Artifacts
still lifes
Canton, OH 10-MAY-2005
X73519 take 1
CREDIT: Courtesy Pro Football Hall of Fame

Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame 

Sept. 24, 2016 to Jan. 15, 2017

This feature exhibit has been organized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It includes more than 200 artifacts, photos and rare documents, footage from the NFL Film archives and interactive experiences. There is a hometown heroes section featuring the Vikings, including a section devoted to the Minnesota Vikings Training Camp, where visitors can work on their vertical leap, broad jump, kicking and passing games.

Minnesota History Center

Then Now Wow opened in early 2014.  Here is a list of what it features.
  • Ride a Twin Cities streetcar and peek out the windows as different times and places go by.
  • Descend underground into an Iron Range mine and drill the ore.
  • Sit in a modern tipi and learn about Dakota history and culture through Bobby Wilson’s poetry and visual art.
  • Visit a pioneer family and imagine what life was like in an 1870s sod house.
  • Hitch a ride on a Soo Line boxcar through Southwestern Minnesota and learn about the history of the area through original music by Charlie Parr.
  • Learn about the fur trade from the perspective of its main commodity, the beaver.
  • See the emergency exit door from the school bus involved in the I-35W bridge collapse signed by all the children and adults aboard the bus.
  • Encounter more artifacts and images unique to Minnesota’s diverse people and historic events.

Minnesota History CenterThe Grainland exhibit is a very fun interactive exhibit where you get to be a kernel of grain and experience the inside of a working Grain Elevator.


Minnesota History Center

Minnesota History Center

Minnesota History CenterLearn about the extreme weather of Minnesota including the coldest and hottest temperatures.  Experience the tornado of 1968--whoa!  It's quite a fun "ride" for kids!  (and this adult)

The Greatest GenerationMinnesota History Center

Minnesota History Center

Minnesota History CenterExplore what life was like during the 1930's and 1940's by experiencing the picture show, assembling ammunition, working as a soda jerk, checking out displays of that time, and taking a "ride" in a C47 on June 6, 1944 during the Invasion of Normandy. with the paratroopers in World War II.  That is intense and very sad.  Many of the adults in the aircraft were choked up.  There is a little language in this presentation.  Just to be aware.

Minnesota History CenterOpen HouseMinnesota History Center

Explore how one house in St. Paul was lived in at different times with families of different ethnicities: German, Italian, African, and Hmong.Minnesota History Center

Minnesota History Center

Different architecture Elements of the Minnesota History Center:

A picture perfect view of the Minnesota State Capitol Building.Minnesota History CenterThe Star on the ceiling made of perfect M's for MinnesotaMinnesota History Center
The Curtis JN-4 "Jenny" hanging from the ceilingMinnesota History Center

And if you just want to run around to blow off some steam, check out the plaza outside on the 2nd floor!

Minnesota History Center

I would give this place a 2 thumbs up.  It's a lot of fun and incredibly interactive.  The MN History Center does a fantastic job of letting you experience history.


*some images are courtesy the Minnesota Historical Society, used with permission

This article originally published by Gianna Kordatzky - February 11, 2014

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