A meandering of museums

Linda Koutsky explores the beauty of small, regional museums.


We’re supposed to be done making lists now, but my 2013 New Year’s Resolution is to visit smaller regional museums so I started jotting them down and soon the list kept growing and growing! Now I wonder if a year’s going to be enough time. We have a ton of museums the metro area and don’t even get me started on the state. No wonder the American Association of Museums had their annual conference here last year. I’ve been to a lot of them, even worked for a few, but I need to hit them all.

Ever since I was a kid I’ve been a museum junkie. Art, history, science — count me in. There’s nothing better than visiting a little museum in a small town on a trip in the middle of nowhere. You never know what you’ll find if you can just keep your imagination open. I love how people put their passion for objects into typewriter-typed labels and artfully arranged still lifes.

A couple years ago I visited one of my favorite county historical societies. In the center of the museum they have little cubicle-like spaces for every township in their county. Each space was filled with amazing photos and band uniforms and silver teapots — who would think that many historic artifacts could be found in a rural township?

More recently, I just got back from a family reunion in Florida where the highlight of my trip was a visit to a little fishing museum. I found out about the town’s namesake, his love of painting, and his distinctive fishing boat’s shape that is still used today. My relatives, who live there, had never even been to the museum. I told them about an exhibit showing how their treasured white beach sand is ground from clear quartz crystal. They had no idea. Of course, I had to sit through a million of the docent’s shark and red snapper stories first, but it was worth it.

I consider myself a Minnesota aficionado, but I know there’s always a lot more to learn. Here’s a partial list of potential upcoming destinations. And send your list of favorite museums to WeekendTourist@mnpubs.com. Happy New Year!

— The Museum of Broadcasting

— Bakken Museum

— Gibbs Farm Museum

— Northwest Airlines History Centre

— The Minnesota Air National Guard Museum

— University of Minnesota: Alumni Heritage Gallery, Goldstein Gallery, Bell Museum

— The North Star Museum of Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting

— The Bakken Museum of Electricity and Magnetism

— Ard Godfrey House

— Foshay Museum and Observation Deck

— Hennepin Medical History Center

— Sibley House Historic Site

— Minnesota Transportation Museum’s Jackson Street Roundhouse & Minnehaha Depot

— County historical societies in Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota, Scott, Washington

— Town historical societies in Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka, Fridley, Hopkins, Plymouth, Richfield, Robbinsdale, Wayzata


BREAKFAST BREAK: Practically a museum in itself, vintage flour sacks and agribusiness memorabilia are hung salon style at the Copper Dome Restaurant (1333 Randolph Ave., St. Paul).

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