ground of many Minnesotans.
Housed in a 1908 French
Chateauesque mansion that’s
landed a spot on the National
Register of Historic Places, the
mansion’s ominous turrets and
gargoyles create a castle-like
appearance. Inside, the 33-room
mansion is decorated in the period style of former inhabitant—
and museum founder—Swedish
immigrant Swan J. Turnblad.
Major renovations in 2011 led
to the opening of the adjacent
Nelson Cultural Center, a 34,000
square-foot LEED-certified center that includes an art gallery,
studio, lecture hall, museum
shop and café.
Bell MuseuM of
Natural History ~
Dedicated to exploring the diver-
sity of life in the natural world, this
museum opened the country’s
first hands-on natural history
exhibit in 1960. Located on the
University of Minnesota campus,
the Bell Museum explores the
history of life in the natural world
through dioramas, hands-on
activities and exhibits. The Bell
Museum’s collection of stuffed and
mounted animals—all of which hail
from the upper Midwest, includ-
ing deer, moose, swans, beavers
and cranes—were constructed in
the early 20th century. One of the
most beloved exhibits is the Touch
and See Gallery, allowing visitors
to get up close and personal with
giant shells, bones, sparkling rocks,
woolly mammoth tusks and ant-
lers. Several live animals, including
frogs and insects, also call the
of russiaN art
The Museum of Russian Art
is the only museum in North
America dedicated to the preservation and presentation of
Russian art and artifacts. The
museum features a dynamic
rotation of exhibitions providing a gateway to understanding
Russia’s history—which spans
more than 1,000 years—its heritage and art through the masterworks of its greatest artists.
The art displayed is changed
completely every few months,
and traveling exhibits are also
award-winning building first opened in
1971, and then in 2005 the Walker added an
expanded building and green space designed
by Herzog and de Meuron that, combined
with the adjacent Minneapolis Sculpture
Garden, compose the center’s 17-acre campus.
The classic architecture of the
Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ (www.
artsmia.org) grand entrance makes an easy
transition to the modern look of its Michael
Graves-designed addition, an outward
example of the range inside the museum’s
walls. At this encyclopedic museum guests
can see everything from ancient Chinese
ceramics and Roman statues to Egyptian
artifacts and Native American beading.
The best part is that you can explore the
more than 83,000 objects in the permanent
collection with free admission.
The diversity of museums available
makes the Twin Cities a great place to
enjoy art. In fact, the area is home to North
variety of exhibits for all ages. The museum
continues to be a destination for active kids
and adults who enjoy the hands-on exhibits,
teaching visitors about paleontology, physical
science, technology and the human body,
among other topics.
Even longtime residents find they haven’t
visited all our museums; there’s always a
new exhibit or hidden gem to explore. The
Bakken Museum ( www.thebakken.org),
tucked along Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis,
is one such treasure. The museum honors
the inventor in all of us, teaching about
electricity and magnetism in the name of
local inventor Earl Bakken.
After you settle into the Twin Cities,
you may want to bone up on state history
so you understand what makes our area
special. The Minnesota History Center
( www.mnhs.org) and Mill City Museum
( www.millcitymuseum.org) both have
great permanent and traveling exhibits
that explore the area’s history. The recently
renovated American Swedish Institute
( www.asimn.org) highlights the rich tie that
Minnesota has to its Swedish-American
population, showcasing Scandinavian art
and rotating exhibits, while its in-museum
restaurant, FIKA, has garnered attention
for its delicious take on new Nordic cuisine.
With nearly 60 choices for museums, there’s
always something new here to explore.
Weisman art Museum
America’s only nonprofit museum dedicated
solely to the preservation and presentation of
Russian art and artifacts from the 19th and
20th centuries. The Museum of Russian Art
( www.tmora.org) sits in a renovated Spanish
Colonial Revival church in southwest
Minneapolis and was named one of the Top
50 Museums to Travel For by FlipKey.
For families with children, the Twin
Cities is also a great place to explore.
Minnesota Children’s Museum ( www.mcm.
org) in St. Paul has earned accolades from
Parents, Cookie and Nickelodeon Parents
Connect magazines as one of the nation’s
best children’s museums, as it “takes kid-friendliness to a new level.” The museum is
a hands-on paradise for toddlers to tweens,
and its creative traveling exhibits are always
educational and exciting. Its neighbor, the
Science Museum of Minnesota ( www.smm.
org), is the most popular museum in the
Upper Midwest, probably because of the