Minnesota History Center ~ Saint Paul, Minnesota

Following our time at the Science Museum of Minnesota, we decided to walk over to the Minnesota History Center. It was a nice warm day and the walk was beautiful as we could view St. Paul’s Cathedral off to the side. As we approached the museum building, we realized, we should have just parked by the History Center as they offered a flat $6 parking for the day.

We entered on the main level. They have two gift shops located on that level, one appeared to be more kid friendly than the other, but we didn’t actually stop by either one, so I’m not sure! We quickly bought our admission tickets ($12/adult), we were warned that there were several school groups, but after having dozens of them at the Science Museum, the two or three here didn’t seem as bad. The clerk also informed us we should check out the capitol building (which was already on our list to do after) and let us know when guided tours would start over there. He also let us know which doors to exit the building from so we could get to the capitol building easier!

All the exhibits were located on the third floor, but as we made our way up the levels, I couldn’t resist stopping to get my picture by the giant postcard mural.

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From there we went into their special exhibit, Somalis + Minnesota. This gave a unique look into how Somalians have integrated their culture into the city, but also gave perspective about what their life in Somalia was like.

From there we entered into Open House: If These Walls Could Talk. This exhibit took you through the same house as lived in by 4 different families through the eras. During the first two exhibits, we actually managed to avoid the school groups.

The next exhibit, Then, Now, Wow, was where one school group was spending their time (rightfully so as it was very hands on and interactive). Here you could explore the mining and logging industry, complete with putting on where miners hats and exploring the replica mine, as well as study what life was like on the prairie land of Minnesota where you could crawl into a tipi, help gut a buffalo, try out a hand plow and visit a sod home. It was a very neat and well done exhibit area. Andrew even tried his hand at crank starting the old automobile.

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As more school groups made their way back in from lunch breaks, we decided to head over to Minnesota’s Greatest Generation Exhibit that took you from the Great Depression through both World Wars. My favorite part was the interactive exhibit where you could help make WWII shells and also roll the dice to discover what you could buy with your ration points.

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The final exhibit, I didn’t get any pictures, because it was filled with school kids. It was called Weather Permitting and had a cool spot where you could ride out a tornado. We also learned a bit about snow removal and the famous Ice Castle, as well as explored the power of wind.

From there we decided to head straight out the suggested doors and make our way over to the capitol as we had about 20 minutes before the next guided tour would start.

I highly recommend visiting the Minnesota History Center as you can learn a lot, but in a very hands on way. I love museums where I can do more than just “look” at the artifacts. The admission cost is quite a bit lower than that of the Science Museum and I found it to be less busy as well.

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