Metro History Museums Highlight "Wow" Moments

By Explore Minnesota

Explore the fascinating and fun collections at metro-area history museums. Unravel the stories behind intriguing artifacts and learn more about Minnesota’s past.

Largest Minnesota History Exhibit

The Minnesota Historical Society presents the largest state history exhibit ever, Then Now Wow, at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. Visitors encounter the dramatic “wow” moments that changed Minnesota’s people and places. “Then” and “now” images show how far we’ve come. Known for lively interactive environments, the History Center invites visitors of all ages to climb into a grain elevator, ride a boxcar, visit a sod house, prospect in an iron ore mine, and explore many other scenes and objects. The exhibit offers numerous ways to experience Minnesota’s regions, cultures, and key historical developments that have shaped us today.

Foshay: Built on the Cusp of the CrashFoshay Tower

The Foshay Tower’s fascinating history and its architecture (designed as an art deco homage to the Washington Monument) are reasons to visit this downtown Minneapolis landmark. Wilbur Foshay built the tallest Midwest skyscraper and christened it in an ostentatious ceremony in 1929 -- complete with military salutes and a John Philip Sousa concert with a Foshay theme song. The debut was just a few months before the stock market crash, which obliterated Foshay’s fortune. Visit the Foshay, now a W hotel, to relive the days when the sky was the limit. At the top, explore the Foshay Museum and Observation Deck, which continues to offer a spectacular view of the city.

Mill City Museum: Flour Power

In the historic riverfront district of Minneapolis, where several old mills have been repurposed, the Mill City Museum is built into the ruins of what was once the largest flour mill in the world. Sift through the history of the flour industry and other riverfront commerce that made Minneapolis a thriving city. Take the Flour Tower eight-story elevator show. View the film "Minneapolis in 19 Minutes Flat," co-created and narrated by humorist Kevin Kling. See spectacular rooftop views of the historic Stone Arch Bridge, St. Anthony Falls and the Mississippi River.

Explore more Minnesota history museums, sites and tours.