Minneapolis—A City of Design

Whenever I find that I have some extra time when visiting a city that’s new to me, I always try to seek out that out-of-the-way museum that offers an afternoon of unexpected discoveries. (On a summer trip to Washington, D.C., I spent a morning at the Folger Shakespeare Library perusing a sampling of the largest collection of First Folios in the world. A bibliophile’s delight.)

If you find yourself in search of similar amusements here in the Twin Cities, I would recommend an afternoon at the exhibits at the University of Minnesota’s Goldstein Museum of Design.

Located within the College of Design at one of the largest research universities in the entire country, the Goldstein Museum of Design is the only museum of its kind in the Midwest. This Friday, it will celebrate its 35th anniversary at a gala event.

Minneapolis is a design town. In recent years, its public buildings have undergone cutting-edge renovations created by a long list of noted architects, each with their own distinctive look, including Frank Gehry (The Weisman Art Museum), Herzog & de Meuron (The Walker Art Center), Michael Graves (the Minneapolis Institute of Arts), Cesar Pelli (Minneapolis Public Library) and the Pritzker award-winning Jean Nouvel (Guthrie Theatre).

The Goldstein Museum of Design presents exhibitions at McNeal Hall in St. Paul as well as at Rapson Hall in Minneapolis, a beautiful space named after noted locally based architect Ralph Rapson, designer of the first Guthrie Theater and other modern buildings in the Bauhaus tradition. So if your visit brings you near either the St. Paul or Minneapolis campuses of the University of Minnesota with a couple of hours to kill, I recommend the visit. Currently on display at Rapson Hall is Architecture and Ceramics: A Material Through All the Ages, while the Goldstein Museum Gallery in McNeal Hall currently features Polarities: Black and White in Design (pictured below), which examines the cultural significance of the use of black and white in design.

Admission to both museum sites is free. Parking is available at nearby ramps at a rate of $3 an hour.

I’ll bet that by learning a bit about design, you’ll see everything around you, including our beautiful Twin Cities, in an entirely new way.