Covering science, art, history and more, Twin Cities museums invite residents to fill their weekends with fun and unique ways to learn and explore.
The Science Museum of Minnesota has everything you would expect from a science museum and more. See one of only four real Triceratops on display in the world as well as other dinosaurs like the Diplodocus model standing 82 feet tall. Documentaries in the 10-story, dome-shaped Omnitheater give audiences immersive viewing experiences. And while rotating exhibits cater to all ages, plenty of hands-on experiences are folded into the galleries, too. One example? A sportsology center that allows visitors to literally jump into the science of sports—and race against the Minnesota Twins’ mascot, TC Bear.
Just down the road from the Science Museum is the Minnesota Children’s Museum. Renovated in 2017, the Children’s Museum lets kids loose in interactive exhibits like the laser maze, the art studio that uses recycled and repurposed materials, and the “Our World” exhibit, where they can be anything they want in an imaginary town.
For history, visit the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul or the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis. The History Center focuses on state history—from Prince to the Greatest Generation and Minnesota’s Native American history. The Mill City Museum takes you on a one-of-a-kind grain elevator ride, where stops open up into re-creations of what was once the world’s largest flour mill.
For more science, the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum explores natural history via wildlife dioramas, high-tech exhibits, touch-and-see labs and a virtual planetarium at the new facility, open as of 2018.
Meanwhile, the Bakken Museum in Minneapolis is named after a co-founder of Minnesota’s Medtronic medical device company and provides an interactive experience where anyone can learn about Ben Franklin’s electric history, experience Frankenstein’s lab firsthand and dig into the science and history of plant-based medicines.
Art lovers have much to experience in the Twin Cities. First off, there’s the iconic “Spoonbridge and Cherry” sculpture—a giant cherry spouting water atop a giant spoon—in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, outside the Walker Art Center. But head inside for a cutting-edge, world-renowned contemporary art scene. Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, or Mia, shows off huge international collections dating from ancient times to today. At the Minnesota Museum of American Art, or the “M,” diverse exhibits showcase the many talents and stories of our country’s boldest artists.
The Somali Museum of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, is the only Somali museum in the U.S. Here, anyone can learn about Somalia’s traditional and contemporary artforms, from painting to weaving and more. Programming includes performances by the Somali Dance Troupe and finger-weaving classes.
Also in Minneapolis are the Museum of Russian Art and the American Swedish Institute. The first is housed in a renovated Spanish colonial church, where you can view Russian art and artifacts and check out live music and dance. The American Swedish Institute, based in the extravagant Turnblad Mansion, contains art and history from Scandinavian heritage and hosts such events as handcraft workshops, a Midsommar celebration and a crayfish feast.