Minnesota - History and Heritage
Historic Fort Snelling (St. Paul)
The restored fort welcomes you to the 1820s. Soldiers, fur traders, servants, cooks, tradesmen, officers and laundresses are eager to share their stories with you.
Take part in the fort's everyday life. Shoulder a musket, mend clothes, scrape a hide or sing along with soldiers' songs. Take tea with Mrs. Snelling or sample the soldiers' bread ration. Shop for supplies at the sutler's store, where only the prices are modern. At historic Fort Snelling, visitors are always welcome and the modern world is checked at the gate. A multimedia exhibit in the officers' quarters shows how historians have traced life at the fort. Back in the visitor center, take in exhibits and films and browse through the gift store. The visitor center has exhibits, film and a gift shop and is open daily from May to October and on weekdays from November to April.
Charles A. Lindbergh Boyhood Home & Interpretive Center (Little Falls)
Now you can hear the whisper of pines from the porch where he slept, enjoy the home's cozy kitchen or walk the trails along the river.
In the basement of the home, young Charles Lindbergh enjoyed tinkering with all things mechanical. His adolescent dreams of flight brought him a job flying the mail. Later, in 1927, he was the first to fly alone over the Atlantic Ocean, for 33-and-a-half hours in a single-engine plane. When he landed safely in Paris, Lindbergh's place in history was assured. The house, which contains original furnishings and family possessions, was built in 1906. A visitor center features a gift shop and exhibits about Lindbergh's family, inventions and aviation accomplishments. Learn about Lindbergh's interest in conservation and the natural beauty of the state as you walk along the Mississippi River on the site's nature trail.
Split Rock Lighthouse Historic Site (Two Harbors)
Split Rock Lighthouse served for nearly six decades as a guide for maritime traffic through the busy shipping lanes of Lake Superior. Today, you can tour the light keeper's dwelling, fog-signal building and the lighthouse, all as they were in the 1920s.
As you explore the visitor center's exhibits, film, store and light station grounds, you'll learn about the building of the light station and about life as a keeper in this remote setting. Tour guides and costumed characters depict the lives of the early lightkeepers and their families, and describe the famous storms that caused many a shipwreck along the rocky North Shore.
Plan a little extra time to enjoy the spectacular views! Shipwrecks from a mighty 1905 November gale prompted this rugged landmark's construction. Completed by the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1910, Split Rock Light Station was soon one of Minnesota's best known landmarks. Restored to its 1920s appearance, the lighthouse offers a glimpse of lighthouse life in this remote and spectacular setting. Tour the lighthouse, fog-signal building and the restored keeper's dwelling. A visitor center features an award-winning film, exhibits and a museum store.
Historic Murphy's Landing (Shakopee)
Historic Murphy's Landing is a unique living history museum that preserves and interprets 19th century life in the Minnesota River Valley. The idyllic wooded setting that stretches along one and a half miles of scenic river valley brings alive the charm and challenges of life in the 1800s.
Families, history buffs and adventurers of all ages can step in this historic village, which features the rich diversity of early American life.
Visitors can stroll through the site or ride on horse drawn trolleys. Their journey will cover the early days of the fur trade era when people traveled by footpath and canoes, to the bustling village with its shops, homes, church, town hall and railroad depot. Throughout the historic site, costumed interpreters are prepared to spin a tale, demonstrate their craft and explain the daily life of men, women and children. Music and entertainment often fill the daily village routine. Guests may enjoy a beverage, lunch or a keepsake at the gift shop.
Fall Season Special Events
Old West Days: October 6 and 7
Old Fashion Halloween: October 27
Winter Season Special Events
Folkways of the Holiday: November 23 to December 23. Experience what life was like for settlers of all ages living along the Minnesota River Valley during the 1800s. Visit with costumed interpreters in our frontier-era farms and recreated village of Eagle Creek; ride a horse-drawn trolley; enjoy music and demonstrations. Check our Web site for special event dates and times.
Minnesota State Capitol Historic Site (St. Paul)
The Senate, House of Representatives and Supreme Court chambers have been restored to their original appearances. The public is welcome to dine in the newly restored Rathskeller cafe. The Legislature meets the first months of each year. During sessions, all galleries and legislative hearings are open to the public. The Supreme Court hears cases in its historic chambers the first week of the month. Free guided tours that explore the architecture, history and stories of significant Minnesota citizens begin every hour until one hour before closing. Special events, specialized tours and educational programs are available for modest fees throughout the year. A handicapped entrance is available on ground floor front. This is a Minnesota Historical Society site.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum (Walnut Grove)
In 1874, 7-year-old Laura Ingalls and her family traveled by covered wagon from Wisconsin's big woods to the prairie of Walnut Grove. The Ingalls's first home was a one-room sod dugout in the banks of Plum Creek.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum's collections are housed in a series of interesting buildings. An 1898 depot exhibit relates the history of Laura through artifacts from the Ingalls era including Laura's handmade quilt.
Additional exhibits include an 1880s style "little red school house," an ecumenical chapel with artifacts from local churches and an onion-domed 1890 home with early 1900s period furnishings. Other exhibits include memorabilia from the "Little House on the Prairie" TV series, the Kelton doll collection containing 250 dolls dating from the 1870s and artifacts from early Walnut Grove businesses and agriculture.
The Wilder Pageant is held every July on the banks of Plum Creek west of Walnut Grove. The amphitheater setting has been developed to allow for extensive lighting, sound, special effects, and imaginative sets. The Wilder Pageant is a family-oriented outdoor theater production. It is a live performance each night, with all characters from the Walnut Grove area. Laura Ingalls Wilder narrates the story, reflecting on her life in Walnut Grove in the 1870s. It is our hope that visitors will take with them a sense of history and a deeper appreciation of the joys and hardships that challenged our ancestors when settling the prairie.
Mayowood Mansion (Rochester)
The Historic Mayowood Mansion is the former home of Doctor Charles H. Mayo, co-founder of the world renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The site has original furnishings and a one-hour guided walking tour. Call for reservations and tour availability.
SPAM Museum (Austin)
Our 16,500 square-foot museum honors SPAM family of products, one of America's oldest and best-loved icons. The SPAM Museum pays homage to the almost 70 year history, quirky joys and unprecedented excitement SPAM has inspired for generations of people worldwide. The self-guided tour is enhanced with our friendly and knowledgeable SPAMbassadors.
American Swedish Institute (Minneapolis)
Founded in 1929 by Swedish immigrant and newspaper publisher Swan J. Turnblad, the American Swedish Institute is housed in his family's 1904 mansion, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its French Chateau architecture, detail, craftsmanship and elegance make for one of the finest historic buildings open to the public in Minneapolis. The Indiana limestone exterior includes three turrets and gargoyles of lion and griffin figures. The interior features elaborate hand-carved oak, walnut, and mahogany, which took 18 craftsmen two years to complete. The centerpiece of the grand entrance hall is a two-story carved fireplace mantel. Eleven rooms are furnished with Swedish porcelain tile stoves called kakelugnar. A stained glass picture window, colorful sculpted ceilings and a ballroom with proscenium stage are other highlights.
Museum exhibits showcase collections of immigrant artifacts, Swedish glass, fine art, woodcarvings, decorative arts, textiles and more. The ongoing exhibit "Swedish Life in the Twin Cities" tells the story of Swedish immigrants who settled in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The American Swedish Institute is also the place to find Scandinavian gifts, jewelry, books, prints and other imports at the Bokhandel (bookstore) and Museum Shop.
The American Swedish Institute offers a variety of programs designed to celebrate Swedish culture in America. It is conveniently located just south of downtown Minneapolis at 2600 Park Avenue. Museum hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 12 to 4 p.m., Wednesday 12 to 8 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. (Closed Mondays and holidays.) Museum admission is $5 for adults, $4 for ages 62 and above, $3 ages six to 18 and $4 for groups of 15 or more. Group tours can be arranged with advanced notice.
Mill City Museum (Minneapolis)
An attraction for all ages, the museum chronicles the flour milling industry that dominated world flour production for roughly a half-century and fueled the growth of Minneapolis, recognized across the nation and around the world as "Mill City." The museum is built within the ruins of the Washburn A Mill. The story of flour milling—and its impact on Minneapolis, the nation and the world—comes to life through the eight-story Flour Tower and other hands-on exhibits.
Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame (Walker)
Legends Hall contains video and memorabilia for 26 of Minnesota's fishing legends. Activity center includes games and activities for children. Free kids fishing pond with bait and tackle supplied.
Ironworld Discovery Center (Chisholm)
Ironworld Discovery Center, located on the edge of the Glen mine, is a museum that collects, preserves and interprets the history of Minnesota's Iron Ranges. The explosive growth of iron mining attracted thousands to northeastern Minnesota. Their courage and tenacity transformed a sparsely populated wilderness into a culturally diverse industrial landscape.
Experience the story of Iron Range mining and immigration: the life, the work, the place and the people. Explore history and heritage exhibits, ride a vintage trolley to a former mining location, marvel at spectacular mine views or acquaint yourself with the local history and genealogy collections of the Iron Range Research Center's renowned library and archives. The Iron Range Research Center contains one of the largest genealogical and local history collections in the upper Midwest. Researchers can access books, census and naturalization records, microfilmed newspapers, passenger arrival records, oral histories, photographs and more.
As the Minnesota iron mining industry exploded at the turn of the 20th century, people seeking economic prosperity and freedom immigrated to northern Minnesota from nations around the globe. These immigrants brought few material goods on their journey, but carried with them the rich traditions and customs of their homelands. Ironworld Discovery Center preserves this important period of American history.
Mille Lacs Indian Museum & Trading Post (Onamia)
The Mille Lacs Indian Museum, which opened May 18, 1996, offers exhibits dedicated to telling the story of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Trace their journey to Northern Minnesota, learn about their fate during a period of treaties made and broken and follow their story up to the present. The museum exhibit reveals information about the Band's life today, from how dance traditions are carried on to members' interests in music to sovereignty issues.
The museum features videos, listening stations and objects from traditional and contemporary Ojibwe culture, showcasing traditions of language, music, dance and art. A large collection of Ojibwe objects illuminates the lives of Band members, past and present. The Four Seasons Room, a stunning life-size diorama, depicts traditional Ojibwe activities in each season: hunting and spear fishing in winter, maple sugaring in spring, gardening and berry picking in summer and wild rice harvesting in fall.
The museum's crafts room serves as a demonstration area for traditional cooking, birch-bark basketry and beadwork. In a restored 1930s trading post next to the museum-a landmark along Mille Lacs Lake you can shop for books, crafts, clothing and souvenirs. All year, the museum offers demonstrations and classes on a variety of crafts.
April and May: Thursday to Saturday, 12 to 5 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day: Wednesday to Saturday and Mondays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.
September and October: Thursday to Saturday 12 - 5 p.m. October to April: By appointment for group and educational tours only. See calendar for weekend workshops and special events. Outreach programs and ITV programming also available. Educational group tours and special events are always available by appointment. Attraction Accessible to Disabled and can accommodate groups of 45 or more. Directions to Attraction from Nearest Town/Intersection Located on U.S. Hwy 169 on the southwest shore of Mille Lacs Lake, 8 miles south of Garrison, 12 miles north of Onamia.