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.