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.
Current and Upcoming Exhibits at Minnesota History Center
The Minnesota History Center's exhibits include on-going exhibits and featured exhibits. Current exhibits include:
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.
The 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.
Coming February 18, 2017 to July 30, 2017
Discover Penumbra. For 40 years, Penumbra Theatre has ignited social change through art grounded in the African American experience.
Timed to open during Black History Month, this exhibit will help visitors gain a greater understanding of African American artistic expression. Through firsthand accounts, artifacts and immersive settings, visitors will get an introduction to Penumbra Theatre’s efforts to inspire, educate and reflect the pride and perseverance of the communities whose stories it tells.
The World War I era—1914 to 1919—was a transformational time for America. The nation emerged as a confident global superpower while deep divisions and conflict at home threatened to tear the nation apart. Through original artifacts, images, voices, music, interactives and multimedia presentations, “WW1 America” will tell the extraordinary stories of Americans—both the legendary and the unsung—who made history during this turbulent era. This exhibit is created by the Minnesota Historical Society in partnership with the National Constitution Center, the National World War One Museum, the Oakland Museum of California and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. It will open at the History Center in April 2017 on the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into WWI. After its opening run, the exhibit will begin a three-year tour to premier historical museums around the country. (5,000 sq. ft.)
A portrait exhibit by photographer Xavier Tavera of Mexican and Mexican-American military veterans who have returned to live in St. Paul’s West Side neighborhood. The portraits are not meant to romanticize veterans as war heroes but rather to tell their stories as men and women coming back from conflict. Many struggled with reintegration into society as they faced racism and apathy after returning home from the battlefield. The portraits serve as a reminder of their contributions and struggles. (1,600 sq. ft.)
View works by American Indian artists from the Upper Midwest who spent six months in residence exploring the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. The residency program was designed to revive the study of technique, knowledge and lifeways associated with traditional forms of American Indian artistry. The artists produced original beadwork, birch bark and textile pieces that will be on display. (900 sq. ft.)
Different architecture Elements of the Minnesota History Center:
The Curtis JN-4 "Jenny" hanging from the ceiling
And if you just want to run around to blow off some steam, check out the plaza outside on the 2nd floor!
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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