Expanded Stories

We invite you to try new exhibits and programs that showcase this unique place’s wide and diverse history.

Sharing a broader history

In the coming years, we will be testing new exhibits and interpretation at the historic site, and expanding beyond the fort’s former focus on daily life in the 1820s. Tell us what you think! Your feedback will help inform program decisions for 2020.

Specific elements of what visitors will experience in 2018:

  • Costumed staff who interpret historical characters or skills of the past.
  • Non-costumed staff who tell broader stories from multiple eras and multiple perspectives — and who examine universal ideas, such as how healing was practiced by the people here.
  • Prototype exhibit on soldiers from all eras, that will illustrate the human side of this place.
  • Theme tours that allow visitors to focus on specific content they want to hear about, both inside and outside the walls of the fort.
  • Demonstrations of historical games such as baseball, in which visitors of all ages can participate.
  • Demonstrations of how warfare was conducted in different eras, and interpretation about the impact wars have on people’s lives.

A new era

The vision for Historic Fort Snelling is to inspire a better future by providing a place to learn, share, and connect to all of the complex stories that shape history in Minnesota. This includes expanding popular current programs, while also partnering with community groups to develop new programs that explore larger national historic themes.

A soldier’s place

We continue to examine the important role the military has played at this place since 1819, but are adding more programs and interpretation on later eras, from the Civil War to today’s National Guard units serving here and around the world. The stories of those soldiers and their role in American history will always be told and remembered here.

However, soldiers are not the only people who lived and died here. The stories of the thousands of others who were here before and alongside those soldiers need to be told as well. Through use of archaeology and oral tradition, we will share the stories of those who were here first.

A Dakota place

This is a place that has been a center for trade, travel, and life for thousands of years. The confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers is a sacred place to Dakota people, called Bdote, which continues to be home to the Indigenous people who were here when the US Army first arrived. Native stories and Native perspectives are vital to understanding this place.

A place of community

Over the past 200 years, the fort has been the site of a community of people that included traders, wives and children of soldiers, hired servants, enslaved and free African Americans, and immigrants who came to this area by the thousands as soldiers, workers, and settler-colonists.

We are committed to telling all of these compelling stories in old and new ways, inviting visitors to gather, reflect, and connect with the past as never before.