This is not your typical history museum! No roped off areas where you just gaze at decaying smelly artifacts. Interactive. Full hands-on experiences and some very unique immersion experiences await you at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. Easily you and your kids can spend a better part of the day here. Age recommendation: 3 years to 100. Seriously, there are things for all ages to enjoy.
Currently, there are six separate exhibits.
1968, Somalis + Minnesota, Minnesota’s Greatest Generation,
Then Now Wow, Open House, and Weather Permitting
Through these exhibits, all kinds of adventures are to be found. Time travel back to a basement in Fridley to live through the tornado of 1965 in the Weather Permitting exhibit. Serve up ice cream at an old-fashioned soda shop and climb into a C-47 bomber plane on D-day in Minnesota’s Greatest Generation exhibit. Drill for iron ore, wearing your hard hat, of course, put dynamite into holes and push the trigger to blast away rock in the Now, Then, Wow exhibit. Grainland is connected to this exhibit where little ones can stretch their legs and climb and slide as they explore a replica of a grain silo.
In the Open House exhibit, the story of a real St. Paul house throughout the years is featured. From the immigrant family that built it over a hundred years ago to the present day, families’ shared their stories. Interact with these stories. Walk from room to room experiencing life as it was in each decade through the lens of this particular home.
The 1968 exhibit can prompt lots of good discussions for older children and teens as social unrest and the civil rights moment was in full swing. Listen to speeches from Dr. Martin Luther King. Exercise your right to vote, and sit on iconic 1960’s vinyl covered sofas.
In the Somalis + Minnesota exhibit interact and talk about how and why people groups move. See a traditional Somali home, hear noises of camels, and explore the migration of a group of Somalis. Follow their journey from East Africa to the most unlikely of places, Minnesota. Read true stories about life here in Minnesota written by Somalians.
From Rochester, it will take you about an hour and 15 minutes. Open Tuesdays through Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ( Tuesdays: open until 8pm and admission is free from 3pm to 8pm). Otherwise, Admission is $12 per adult, $6 per child ages 5-17, Children under 5 are free. Daily parking is $6.00. Or if you plan on visiting several Minnesota History sites like we did, you might want to purchase a membership to the Minnesota Historical Society. Then you can visit the museum for free. With a Household Membership visit 26 different Minnesota Historical sites: the cost of membership for a year is $74.00.
We definitely will be going back to this museum!