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MNHS Remembers 35W Bridge Collapse in Collections and New Display
Bridge piece commemorating 10th anniversary to go on exhibit at Mill City Museum July 28 to Aug. 30
Updated July 19, 2017
On Aug. 1, 2007, one of the most pivotal and painful events in recent Minnesota history occurred: the collapse of the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge during rush hour, killing 13 and injuring 145. Over the years, the Minnesota Historical Society has documented this disaster in its collections, including acquiring several post-collapse pieces of the bridge.
To help commemorate the 10th anniversary, MNHS will put a gusset plate from the bridge, the first piece to fail in the collapse, on display at Mill City Museum. A National Transportation Safety Board investigation identified the gusset plates were a likely cause of the collapse; they were too thin and failed under the weight of the bridge and its traffic.
The display will be in the museum’s Mill Commons and will be free and accessible to the public from July 28 to Aug. 30.
Across the river in St. Paul, visitors can also view the emergency exit door of a school bus involved in the bridge collapse, signed by all the children and adults on board, in the Minnesota History Center’s “Then Now Wow” exhibit.
MNHS collections have additional bridge remnants and signage, a shirt worn by a first responder on the scene, various photos throughout the bridge's history, and items from workers who rebuilt the bridge in 2008. The Minnesota State Archives holds Minnesota Department of Transportation plans for the bridge’s original 1967 construction and is currently processing MnDOT records concerning the aftermath of the collapse.
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 book 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 www.mnhs.org.
The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.
A gusset plate remnant recovered after the I-35 W Mississippi River Bridge collapse on August 1, 2007. The National Transporation Safety Board concluded that the gusset plates were only half as thick as necessary to meet their design requirements, and that the inadequacy was the result of an error by the original design firm.
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Emergency exit door from a school bus transporting a group of day camp students when it was involved in the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, on August 1, 2007. The door is signed by all of the children and adults who were on the bus at that time.
Minnesota Historical SocietyDownload high-res image (1.47 MB)