Statement Regarding Historic Fort Snelling and Public Input on Naming

For immediate release

Release dated: 
June 24, 2022

Statement Regarding Historic Fort Snelling and Public Input on Naming

Following a comprehensive public input process and studied analysis, the Minnesota Historical Society's (MNHS) governing board voted on June 23 at its meeting to accept the recommendations of its Programs Committee that the official name Historic Fort Snelling should continue to be used at this time.

The recommendation follows a public engagement and input process about the site's name. This process resulted in a report and analysis that was provided to the MNHS Programs Committee, the entity tasked with reviewing the report's findings and making a recommendation to the Executive Council, the MNHS governing board.

MNHS continues to be committed to sharing an expanded and more complete history of the 10,000 year old historic site including Bdote, the Dakota homeland, as well as the history of African Americans, Japanese Americans, women, veterans and soldiers who passed through Historic Fort Snelling for decades.

MNHS is grateful to the Minnesotans and staff who participated in the public engagement process and would like to thank everyone who shared their input. Each response was reviewed, considered and quantified in the final report.

The revitalized Historic Fort Snelling reopened to the public on May 28 with a new visitor center inside a rehabilitated 1904 cavalry barracks, new river overlooks, landscapes with native plantings as well as expanded interpretive spaces, scenic walking paths, enhanced accessibility, parking and more. With the visitor center now open from the fall to spring, the site will be open to the public year-round.

The names of sites in the state's historic sites network are defined in Minnesota statute. While MNHS can propose changes to the names of sites, it requires an act of the state legislature, which has final authority, to make any change.

Beginning in the fall of 2019 and through early 2020, MNHS conducted a statewide public engagement effort around the name of the 22-acre MNHS historic site known as Historic Fort Snelling. The name of the restored fort structure itself, which sits on about four acres of the overall site, was never under consideration.

The findings of the report, which included input from six public meetings with 150 participants across the state, an online survey with nearly 7,300 responses, and input from stakeholder groups, provided a range of feedback but was not conclusive on the name.