Experience Many Different Eras in a Single Visit to Historic Fort Snelling This Summer

For immediate release

Release dated: 
April 17, 2018
Media contacts: 

Lauren Peck, 651-259-3137, lauren.peck@mnhs.org
Jessica Kohen, 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org

Experience Many Different Eras in a Single Visit to Historic Fort Snelling This Summer

New daily experiences allow visitors to explore 10,000 years of history, including expanded stories of Dakota people, the military, African-Americans, and more

This summer at Historic Fort Snelling visitors will be able to explore a wide variety of eras and diverse people all in a single visit. The new daily program and special events are being developed alongside the Historic Fort Snelling revitalization efforts, timed to roll out for the fort’s bicentennial in 2020.

Through 11 interpretive stations, visitors can learn about this location’s many stories, including the Dakota people’s experiences at Bdote—the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers—and how military men and women have healed from physical and mental injuries throughout history. Or head to a WWII-era classroom to learn about the Military Intelligence Service Language School where Japanese-Americans trained as linguists, and then hear about the extraordinary lives of Dred and Harriet Scott, whose fight for freedom from slavery was a catalyst for the Civil War.

“We’re excited to work with Dakota experts, veterans, the Twin Cities Japanese American Citizens League and more to create and pilot new programs this summer,” said Kevin Maijala, director of experience development at the Minnesota Historical Society.

Throughout the summer, staff will gather visitor feedback to evaluate programming as well as an exhibit prototype on soldiers’ stories throughout history. “All of these new programs are building toward our expanded interpretation plan for 2020, and visitor feedback will help us shape what the site looks like going forward,” Maijala said.

Historic Fort Snelling will also host two national African-American historians this summer—culinary historian Michael W. Twitty and Joseph McGill, founder of the Slave Dwelling Project—as well as the national traveling exhibit,“Courage and Compassion: Our Shared Story of the Japanese American Experience,” developed by the Go For Broke National Education Center.

Historic Fort Snelling Revitalization Project
As the Minnesota Historical Society advocates for $30 million in state funding to support needed revitalization and renovation at Historic Fort
Snelling, this summer season will serve as a kickoff and testing ground for the larger site plan that is currently in development in time for the fort’s bicentennial in 2020.

For nearly 40 years, the interpretation at Historic Fort Snelling has centered on the site’s early military history, using live costumed interpretation to detail life at the fort during the 1820s when it was first built. Moving forward, MNHS is working in partnership with community groups to develop a new interpretive plan that will add important stories and expand the military history shared at the historic site. Stakeholders include the Dakota Community Council and other Native American groups, veterans, African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, educators and more.

About Historic Fort Snelling
Historic Fort Snelling is Minnesota’s first National Historic Landmark. Located on Dakota homeland known as Bdote, the area has a human history spanning 10,000 years. Once the farthest outpost of the U.S. military, Fort Snelling was actively used from the 1820s through World War II. The site is located near the MSP airport at state Highways 5 and 55 overlooking the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. For more information, visit www.mnhs.org/fortsnelling.  

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.

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