Minnesota History Center

Last month, we flew to Minneapolis for vacation. I really love visiting Minnesota in the summer; it is quite lovely. In the days before we had kids, my husband and I spent our Minnesota vacations riding bikes and exploring breweries and strolling around the lakes. This time, we basically did something train-related every day. One place that Finn is still talking about, and asking to return to, is the Minnesota History Center.

This is a museum with exhibits about Minnesota that are mostly geared towards the school-aged crowd. During the school year, I’m sure it is packed with kids. But we had a secret weapon: we know someone who works there so we had a private tour on a day when the exhibits would usually be closed. I realize how lucky we are to have this kind of connection, but let me just make sure I say this and that you pay attention: if you know anyone who works at a museum or the like who can get you in when it is normally closed — do it! OMG, it was way better than my wildest dreams! If we lived in Minnesota, we would be bothering my poor friend to take us around every Monday.

There is lots of fun stuff to look at the History Center, even if you are a little too young to understand most of what is going on.

This airplane is in the gallery. (Which means you can go look at it even when the exhibits are closed.)

mhc plane

I didn’t take this photo. Click it to see who did.

So is this windmill.

mhc windmill

I didn’t take this photo, either. Click it to see who did.

Inside one of the exhibits is this: an actual boxcar. AN ACTUAL BOXCAR.

mhc boxcar

I think Finn would have moved in to this thing.

There is also a streetcar, complete with steering wheel and token box and a bell.

mhc streetcar

Some of the things I really loved about this place were: everything was touch-able, most things had a play-component, and there were several opportunities to dress up. Check out Donovan sporting a WWII uniform. So cute, that one.

mhc d in a hat

One of the coolest parts about going to museum when it is closed: someone has to open the gates to let you in. I think this could have been the boring-est museum ever, and this gate would have counted as a highlight of our entire trip.

mhc gate

The building itself is gorgeous and offers such amazing views of the surrounding area. It doesn’t hurt that it is in one of the most picturesque parts of St. Paul.


I didn’t take this photo. Click it to see who did.

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