Minnesota Historical Society Seeks State Investment to Revitalize Historic Fort Snelling

For immediate release

Release dated: 
March 22, 2016
Media contacts: 

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

Minnesota Historical Society Seeks State Investment to Revitalize Historic Fort Snelling

$34 million legislative request would create new visitor center, preserve historic structures, make critical site improvements, and tell essential stories of American history told nowhere else

The Minnesota Historical Society is asking the state legislature to support a $34 million capital budget request to fund a much-needed revitalization and renovation of Historic Fort Snelling. The project will create a new era for Historic Fort Snelling, where many essential stories of American History will be told in preserved historic buildings amid restored natural beauty.

Why now? The current visitor center is inadequate. Its subterranean location creates serious, ongoing maintenance issues and is difficult for visitors to find and navigate. In addition, with the approaching bicentennial of the fort in 2020, this project provides the opportunity to expand the site’s many stories–stories of American history told nowhere else.

“This area, a sacred place known as Bdote to the Dakota, is a meaningful place of remembrance for many people,” says MNHS Director and CEO Steve Elliott. “We need to fully share the stories of American Indian people—stories that date back thousands of years—and of veterans and their families, of enslaved and free African Americans and Buffalo soldiers, and of Japanese American soldiers who served in military intelligence in World War II. By doing so, we know that more and more people from Minnesota–and across the globe–will find a connection to this unique place.”

MNHS is developing these stories with community partners and seeking input through public meetings and open houses.

This project revitalization will:

  • Renovate a historic cavalry barrack and ordnance building to create a new visitor center and orientation area
  • Demolish the current failing visitor center and landscape the vacated space
  • Improve the site’s wayfinding
  • Create a park-like plaza for reflection, commemoration and programming
  • Create new exhibits inside the visitor center and new programs experiences in concert with community partners

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

About Historic Fort Snelling

Historic Fort Snelling is located near the MSP airport at the intersections of Hwys. 5 and 55 overlooking the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. Originally a frontier outpost, the fort and surrounding buildings were later used for military training from the Civil War through World War II. The area dates back at least 10,000 years. Historic Fort Snelling is Minnesota’s first National Historic Landmark and a member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.  

About the Minnesota Historical Society

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit 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 book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.        

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.