Largest Minnesota History Exhibit Ever Opens This Fall
“Then Now Wow” Opens at the Minnesota History Center, Friday Nov. 23, 2012
From past to present, many “Wow!” moments have shaped this great state. Visitors to “Then Now Wow,” opening Nov. 23, 2012 at the Minnesota History Center, will explore Minnesota history through the prairies, forests and cities, along the way meeting the people who have made their homes here. With more than 14,000 square feet of gallery space, “Then Now Wow,” is the largest exhibit ever created by the Minnesota Historical Society.
“Then Now Wow” is designed especially for children. The hands-on, interactive exhibit will use a wide range of story-driven features to explore immigration, transportation, family life, natural environments and Minnesota industries like fur trade, mining and agriculture.
Visitors will be able to trace the journey of wheat and corn by climbing into a grain elevator and sliding through the chutes; hop aboard a Soo Line boxcar and “tour” southwest Minnesota with original music by Charlie Parr; visit an 1870s pioneer family’s sod house; step inside a modern tipi and learn Dakota history and culture from poet/artist Bobby Wilson; “travel” on a Twin Cities streetcar to hear and see stories as different eras and places pass by; stand at the marker of the headwaters of the Mississippi; descend into an Iron Range mine and dynamite for ore; and barter for goods inside a fur post. In addition, there will be programming space where History Players will perform and hands-on history programs and museum theater are presented.
“We are very excited to launch an exhibit that delves into Minnesota’s past and present in such a unique and active way. This is THE exhibit on Minnesota history and should be a destination for all children and their families,” said Stephen Elliott, Minnesota Historical Society director and CEO.
The visual look of the exhibit combines “then” and “now” imagery in a number of unique ways. Entire walls will feature modern photography of the Minnesota landscape, carpeting will mimic the Mississippi River in color and pattern and large scale Eames-style cards will feature bold images and historical content.
In fall 2013, the Minnesota History Center will launch an innovative new mobile application for “Then Now Wow” called “History In Our Hands.” The application will be used by students visiting the exhibit on field trips.
Opening Weekend, Nov. 23 & 24, 2012
The exhibit opens with much fanfare with a two-day family program. For the price of admission, visitors of all ages can take in live performances by Charlie Parr, photo ops with Paul Bunyan, dancing, storytelling, trivia and lots of demonstrations and hands-on crafts.
Exhibit & Program Support
“Then Now Wow,” is funded in part by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF) through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008. The Minnesota state legislature appropriated $2,500,000 in ACHF funds to the Minnesota Historical Society “for an exhibit on the regional, local, and cultural diversity of Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage,” Laws of Minnesota, 2009, Chapter 172, Article 4, Section 2(e).
Major support is also being provided by the 3M Foundation, the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation, and the Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation with additional support from the BNSF Foundation, Rosemary and David Good Family Foundation, Grotto Foundation, Hardenbergh Foundation, the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council and the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation.
Hours and location
The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Exhibit gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays (admission is free on Tuesdays from 5 to 8 p.m.), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, call 651-259-3000 or 1-800-657-3773.
Admission to "Then, Now, Wow" is included with regular History Center admission of $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and college students, $6 for children ages 6 to 17; free for children age 5 and under and Minnesota Historical Society members.