Highlighting world-class collections that span millennia, the city’s museums engage, inspire and educate millions each year. Boasting groundbreaking buildings and exhibits, they display tremendous foresight and reach. Nearly 60 destinations—of an astonishing 600 in Minnesota; many in and around downtown —celebrate life’s natural, artistic and scientific wonders. 2012 marks the first of an annual celebration of all things museums—Minnesota Museum month in May.
A CITY-WIDE CANVAS
Minneapolis’ globally acclaimed art museums highlight beauty in all forms. Hailed by Newsweek as “possibly the best contemporary art museum in the country,” the Walker Art Center has a building as dynamic as the events and artworks it presents. A stunning expansion, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, opened in April 2005, doubling the exhibit and performance space of this immensely popular and influential museum. Outside the Walker, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has more than 40 unique works, including the landmark “Spoonbridge and Cherry.”
With its impressive columns and wide-ranging exhibits, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts puts up a classical front – one that houses one of the largest displays of classical Chinese art and architecture in the country in 22 galleries. Considered one of America’s finest encyclopaedic museums, the institute possesses works from every age and medium, many of which reside in the museum’s Michael Graves-designed expansion.
Architect Frank Gehry, of Guggenheim Bilbao fame, brought global focus to the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, an abstract composition of stainless steel set next to the Mississippi River that opened an expansion in Fall 2011.
The museum’s warm, ethereal interiors highlight the University of Minnesota’s modern art collection.
The Museum of Russian Art is the only museum in North America solely dedicated to the preservation and presentation of Russian art and artifacts. Even the Guggenheim has borrowed art from this unique museum.
Each year, more than a million people wrap their heads—and their hands—around science at the hugely popular Science Museum of Minnesota, an interactive learning pioneer located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Saint Paul. Cutting-edge exhibits and colossal attractions include dinosaur fossils and a 90-foot convertible domed Imax movie screen.
The atmosphere is especially charged inside the Bakken Museum, which explores electricity and magnetism while showcasing 2,500 electrical devices dating to the 1700s.
The Pavek Museum of Broadcasting features industry equipment and memorabilia, while the Bell Museum of Natural History offers dioramas depicting life’s amazing natural phenomena.