Historic Fort Snelling Revitalization

Vertical Tabs

Construction 2019

Construction to Start Fall 2019 on Historic Fort Snelling Revitalization

For immediate release

Release dated: 
February 5, 2019
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Strategic Communications, 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lory Sutton, Strategic Communications, 651-259-3140, lory.sutton@mnhs.org

Construction to Start Fall 2019 on Historic Fort Snelling Revitalization

MNHS will proceed with a revised project while waiting to hear on additional funding.

The Minnesota Historical Society is proceeding with a revised project and revised budget that allows construction for the Historic Fort Snelling revitalization project to start in Fall 2019.

MNHS received $15 million of the $30 million requested for the full revitalization project in the 2018 legislative session and is grateful for previous support from the legislature, Governor Dayton, educators, veterans, community partners, MNHS members and private citizens statewide. MNHS looks forward to continuing to work with the legislature and the new administration.

After consulting with project and community partners, MNHS decided that breaking up the original revitalization plan into stand-alone projects made the most sense financially. This allows MNHS to start construction this fall on the largest part of the project and minimize the risk of additional construction costs due to further delays. If the legislature passes a bonding bill in 2019, any funds appropriated for Historic Fort Snelling would go towards additions to the revised project and the sustainability of the site.

“It is as important to be good financial stewards as it is to deliver excellent visitor experiences,” says MNHS Director and CEO Kent Whitworth. “We are confident that our new plan supports the ongoing work to expand the stories shared at this historic site, stories of American history told nowhere else, that will help more Minnesotans see their own history here.”

The revised project incorporates $19.5 million appropriated by the state so far, plus $15 million pledged in private dollars. The budget for the revised project is $34.5 million. Originally, MNHS had planned to spend $46.5 million on the full revitalization plan.

The site will remain open during construction with work expected to be completed in 2021.

The revised project includes removal of the current, failing visitor center; creating a dynamic new visitor center with a 4,000-square-foot exhibit inside a rehabilitated 1904 cavalry barracks; making updates to the landscape to provide opportunities for outdoor learning and for a place of remembrance; improving parking, wayfinding and access; and rolling out an interpretive plan developed with community partners that expands stories of the military, Dakota, African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, women and more.

The revised project does not include rehabilitating an 1880 ordnance building (building 22) to turn it into an orientation space and updates to the landscape and parking will be reduced in scope. If additional state funding is made available in 2019, MNHS will undertake these projects on a separate timeline.

Explore a full season of great programs at Historic Fort Snelling beginning Memorial Day Weekend. Additional hours are available for school groups in the spring and fall. Learn more at www.mnhs.org/fortsnelling.

About Historic Fort Snelling
Historic Fort Snelling, Minnesota’s first National Historic Landmark, resides on Dakota homeland known as Bdote, at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. The restored 1820s fort and visitor center present the stories of those who crossed paths here—from the Dakota, Ojibwe, and enslaved people, to fur traders, immigrants, soldiers and veterans. The site is located at state Highways 5 and 55. For more information, visit www.mnhs.org/fortsnelling.

About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history. Visit us at mnhs.org.

Essential Stories

Historic Fort Snelling Essential Stories

For immediate release

Release dated: 
January 31, 2018
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651­259­3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lory Sutton, Marketing and Communications, 651­259­3140, lory.sutton@mnhs.org

Historic Fort Snelling Essential Stories

The revitalized Historic Fort Snelling will present a broader, more expansive interpretive focus that explores larger themes of our national historic narrative that are still relevant today: the yearning for freedom and the defense of freedom; the protection of human rights; and the recognition of sovereignty and the struggle for power. These essential stories include:

  • 10,000 years of history - The human history of the Fort Snelling area goes back at least 10,000 years, into the end of the last ice age.
  • Trade - The rivers created a watery highway for trade that played a major part in the site’s history from prehistoric times, through the fur trade era, to today.
  • The Dakota - To the Dakota, the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers is known as Bdote. It is a sacred place, and for some, it is a place of creation. Later, the fort was the site of a concentration camp for 1,600 Dakota following the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.
  • U.S. military - The fort represents a site of U.S. military expansion into American Indian lands west of the Mississippi, including Dakota and Ojibwe homelands. Here, soldiers mustered throughout the 19th and 20th centuries to engage in national and global conflicts.
  • Slavery - Dred and Harriet Scott were among the enslaved people who used their residence at Fort Snelling to champion their fight for freedom in the 1850s.
  • Buffalo soldiers - During the 1880s, the fort was garrisoned by the 25th U.S. Infantry, an African American regiment often referred to as the "Buffalo Soldiers." This regiment fought in the Indian Wars west of the Mississippi.
  • Military intelligence - During World War II, Japanese Americans, many whose families had been forcibly relocated from the West Coast, trained at Fort Snelling to gather intelligence that helped end the war. Many made Minnesota home.
  • Veterans - The fort has served as a place of homecoming, service and healing for hundreds of thousands of American veterans, from the first hospital in Minnesota created inside the fort walls in 1820 to today’s VA and  National Cemetery.

Find out more about the project at www.mnhs.org/HFS2020 and join the discussion at #HFS2020.

Program Vision

Historic Fort Snelling Program Vision

For immediate release

Release dated: 
January 31, 2018
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651­259­3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lory Sutton, Marketing and Communications, 651­259­3140, lory.sutton@mnhs.org

Historic Fort Snelling Program Vision

Fort Snelling and the surrounding area, known as Bdote by the Dakota, have been a hub of human activity for 10,000 years. 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.

For nearly 40 years, the interpretation at Historic Fort Snelling has centered on the site’s early military history, using live costumed interpretation to detail life at the fort during the 1820s when it was first built. Moving forward, MNHS is working in partnership with community groups to develop a new interpretive plan that will guide program choices for the future. Stakeholders include the Dakota Community Council and other Native American groups, veterans, African Americans, Japanese Americans, educators and more.

In 2018, visitors will be invited to help test new exhibits and programs that showcase the diversity of stories related to this unique place. The public will be able to engage with both costumed and non-costumed staff through guided tours, demonstrations, temporary exhibits, performances and conversations. This feedback will help inform program decisions for 2020.

Fort Snelling means many things to many people. From the homeland of the Dakota long before the fort existed, to the memories of World War II veterans who mustered out there, this place holds meaning and memories that are at once stirring, powerful and complex. 

Find out more at www.mnhs.org/HFS2020 and join the discussion at #HFS2020.

Renderings

Historic Fort Snelling Renderings

For immediate release

Release dated: 
February 13, 2019
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651­259­3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lory Sutton, Marketing and Communications, 651­259­3140, lory.sutton@mnhs.org

Historic Fort Snelling Renderings

Design renderings provide a look at what a revitalized Historic Fort Snelling might look like once construction is complete. These renderings are drafts and do not necessarily reflect final design decisions.

rendering showing a revitalized Historic Fort Snelling
Aerial rendering showing revitalization elements of parking lot, landscaping and building 18 (historic cavalry barrack) by Leo A Daly

Images

Historic Fort Snelling Images

For immediate release

Release dated: 
January 31, 2018
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651­259­3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lory Sutton, Marketing and Communications, 651­259­3140, lory.sutton@mnhs.org

Historic Fort Snelling Images

These images may be used for editorial purposes in magazines, newspapers, broadcast and online to promote Historic Fort Snelling.

Current visitor center

Spout
Water leak from building exterior

Former office destroyed due to water infiltration
Former office destroyed due to water infiltration

Crack
Crack in building exterior

Archaeology lab protected from water by tarps and hoses
Archaeology lab protected from water by tarps and hoses

Historic Fort Snelling

Historic Fort Snelling
Historic Fort Snelling

Calvalry barracks
Buildings 17 & 18 today

Barracks in 1909
Building 18 in 1909, five years after it opened

An educational destination

Educational photos

Spokespeople

Historic Fort Snelling Spokespeople

For immediate release

Release dated: 
February 5, 2019
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651­259­3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lory Sutton, Marketing and Communications, 651­259­3140, lory.sutton@mnhs.org

Historic Fort Snelling Spokespeople

Kent Whitworth, director and CEO

Kent Whitworth

Kent Whitworth joined the Minnesota Historical Society as the director and chief executive officer in July 2018. He previously served as the executive director of the Kentucky Historical Society and is a founder and leader of the national History Relevance campaign, which is helping to redefine history’s impact on America today. Whitworth has a master’s degree in history with an emphasis in historic preservation from Middle Tennessee State University and has served as a leader on numerous museum, history, education and civic projects.

Melanie Adams, PhD, senior director, guest experience & educational services 
Minnesota Historical Society

Melanie Adams

Since 2016, Melanie Adams has overseen the programs and operations of MNHS’ network of historic sites and museums. She has more than 25 years of experience in educational and historical institutions working to develop engaging experiences that reflect history’s continued relevance. Adams is a board member of the American Association of State and Local History and former president of the Association of Midwest Museums.

Joe Horse Capture, director, Native American Initiatives
Minnesota Historical Society

Joe Horse Capture

Joe Horse Capture joined MNHS in 2016 as director of the Native American Initiatives department. During this time, MNHS entered into a formal partnership with the Dakota Community Council to ensure that Dakota people, history, perspectives and homelands are honored and sustained at Historic Fort Snelling. Horse Capture is a member of the A’aninin tribe of Montana and has worked as a curator at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

 

News Releases

September 9, 2019 MEDIA ALERT: Public Meetings Scheduled Statewide to Gather Input on the Name for Historic Fort Snelling
August 21, 2019 In Support of Expanded Stories, MNHS to Gather Public Input on the Name for Historic Fort Snelling
August 8, 2019 MEDIA ALERT: Dr. Daniel Immerwahr, Author of “How to Hide an Empire," Offers Free Talk at Historic Fort Snelling's Making of Modern America Day Aug. 17
June 10, 2019 MEDIA ALERT: Discover Stories of Minnesota’s Secret WWII Language School in a New Panel Exhibit
May 2, 2019 MNHS Expands Its Work with Veterans at Historic Fort Snelling, Including Free Admission Offer
February 5, 2019 Construction to Start Fall 2019 on Historic Fort Snelling Revitalization
August 9, 2018 Historic Fort Snelling Commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the End of World War I
July 19, 2018 Nationally Known Historian to Stay Overnight Where Dred and Harriet Scott Were Once Enslaved
June 20, 2018 Explore New Stories at Historic Fort Snelling at Two Media Events This Summer
April 17, 2018 Historic Fort Snelling Annual Summer Events
April 17, 2018 Experience Many Different Eras in a Single Visit to Historic Fort Snelling This Summer
April 17, 2018 Historic Fort Snelling Daily Experience
April 17, 2018 Historic Fort Snelling Summer 2018 Exhibits
April 17, 2018 Historic Fort Snelling Special Saturday Events
March 20, 2018 Two Minnesota Cities to Host "Courage and Compassion: Our Shared Story of the Japanese American WWII Experience"
January 16, 2018 Gov. Dayton’s Capital Budget Proposal Includes Funding for Historic Fort Snelling Revitalization
January 12, 2018 Fort Snelling Revitalization Public Meeting
May 4, 2017 ‘Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces’
April 28, 2017 Exhibit Juxtaposes Japanese Americans Incarcerated During WWII Alongside Photos of Them Today
March 29, 2017 Design Work, Program Development Get Underway to Revitalize Historic Fort Snelling
March 29, 2017 200-Year-Old Fort Snelling Book Provides New Insights into Early Minnesota History
November 30, 2016 MEDIA ALERT: Historic Fort Snelling Commemorates the Legacy of Dred and Harriet Scott
July 29, 2015 Historic Fort Snelling Remembers 150th Anniversary of Civil War’s End
July 2, 2015 New Traveling Exhibit on Lincoln Opens July 8 at Historic Fort Snelling
September 3, 2014 Solve Mysteries and Relive Ghost Stories at Historic Fort Snelling, James J. Hill House and North West Company Fur Post this Halloween
August 6, 2014 Explore History's Winding Roads on September Bus Tours at Historic Fort Snelling
July 2, 2014 Travel Back in Time Through Two American Wars this August at Historic Fort Snelling
June 11, 2014 Summer Workshops at Fort Snelling Teach Participants How to Care for Historic Houses
June 11, 2014 St. Paul Civil War Bus Tour and Independence Day Celebrations in July at Historic Fort Snelling
May 9, 2014 PHOTO OPP: Finishing Touches Put on Historic Clock Monday
April 9, 2014 Historic Fort Snelling Opens for the Season with New Exhibit and Memorial Day Programs
March 5, 2014 The Civil War in 1864 and WWII Battle for Rabaul Topics of Lectures at Historic Fort Snelling in April
February 12, 2014 World War II Roundtables at Historic Fort Snelling Discuss Operation Cobra and the War in China
January 15, 2014 World War II Officers Topic of Roundtable at Historic Fort Snelling Feb. 13
December 11, 2013 Meet Veterans of the Eastern Front at Historic Fort Snelling's WWII History Roundtable Jan. 9
August 7, 2013 Discover Historic Fort Snelling in September through Tours, Scout Camps and World War I Programs
May 1, 2013 Celebrate the Return of Summer With WWII Events and Summer Camps at Historic Fort Snelling in June
January 16, 2013 Popular Summer Camps Now Open for Registration
July 19, 2007 CEILING COLLAPSES AT HISTORIC FORT SNELLING, HISTORIC SITE OPEN DURING REPAIRS
July 19, 2007 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS HISTORIC FORT SNELLING OFFICERS' QUARTERS CEILING COLLAPSE
Historic Fort Snelling Images
Historic Fort Snelling Logos