Prints and Posters

Certainly the Twin Cities can be proud of its major art museums such as the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. And the Science Museum of Minnesota has a world premier exhibit going on at the moment with its “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed“, which is sure to draw crowds.

But one thing that I like about our arts and culture scene is that visitors can find many wonderful lesser-known, smaller venues that offer unique programming that can be just as enjoyable. Two such venues will present new exhibits, beginning next weekend.

The Bakken Museum has to be one of the most unique museums in our region. If you aren’t familiar with the venue, it is an institution devoted solely to inspiring science’s “potential for social good by helping people explore the history and nature of electricity and magnetism.” The museum’s namesake, Earl Bakken, first created the museum in 1975, following a career in creating landmark medical devices. The Minnesota native and University of Minnesota alum founded Medtronic in 1949, and later, working with a U of M cardiac surgeon, created the world’s first wearable, external, transistorized pacemaker. A lifelong hobby of collecting books and other scientific artifacts helped create the collection that would become the foundation for the museum.

Next week, visit the Bakken on the Free Second Saturday (Sept. 14) and be treated to a day of programming that looks closely at our environment. The Minnesota Microscopy Society will be on hand with fun activities. Did I fail to mention that The Bakken Museum is located in a mansion along the west shore of Lake Calhoun? Take house and garden tours, create mini gardens and solar prints, and enjoy the final week of “Drawn From Nature,” an exhibit in the Great Hall that features botanical illustrations from students and faculty of the Minnesota School of Botanical Arts.

The Goldstein Museum of Design (located at McNeal Hall on the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus) opens its latest exhibit on Sept. 14 called “Say It With Snap! Motivating Workers by Design, 1923-1929.” This exhibit asks the question of whether posters can really inspire employees to improve their work habits. These colorful posters and catchy sayings were designed by Chicago-based Mather & Company to coax, cajole, and even admonish employees during a time when many changes in society were upending the relationships between workers and management. In a 2010 New York Times review, co-curator Dulce Roman saw optimism in the collection noting that the artwork “reinforced the idea that life goes on in spite of great economic hardship.” The exhibit’s namesake poster discourages idle chitchat: “Say it with snap! Long-winded talkers waste time for themselves, for those who listen. When you have something to say, get to the point.” Which is why I’m ending my post now.

Goldstein Museum of Design
364 McNeal Hall, 985 Buford Avenue, St. Paul
“Say It With Snap!”
September 14, 2013-January 6, 2014
Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Bakken Museum
Corner of West Calhoun Parkway and 36th Street
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Second Saturdays: Free
Adults: $7
Students and Seniors: $5