Museums

Visiting a museum is always a unique experience, as each one has its own distinct characteristics, style, and of course, content. Museum subjects vary greatly from city to city, and can range from firefighter's museums to fine art, to sports. If you need help making a selection, our 10Best list highlights the top spots to visit in Minneapolis.

10 Walker Art Center
By far one of the most well-known museums in Minneapolis, Walker Art Center houses an internationally acclaimed collection of modern and contemporary visual art. The more than 11,000 works span a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, film, video, drawings and photography. Artist highlights include Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder and Isamu Noguchi. Visitors also find the McGuire Theater and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden here. (612-375-7600)

9 Bell Museum of Natural History
Dedicated to Minnesota's past, especially in regard to landscape and wildlife, this museum features dioramas that simulate actual forests, fields, streams, and swamps. The Touch and See Room provides real animal fur and bones that children love to handle, and rainforest exhibits and botanical artwork also please visitors. In addition, the museum store is rich in hard-to-find books and resources on natural history, including a great selection of children's books. (612-624-7083)

8 The Landing - Minnesota River Heritage Park
Tour a reconstructed 19th-century village and see how Minnesotans lived 100 years ago. Forty authentic buildings (ca. 1840-1890) are set up along 1½ miles of Minnesota River shoreline. Stroll from one end of town to the other, or take the horse-drawn trolley. Watch men, women, and children engaging in woodworking, weaving, spinning, cooking, or school work as their ancestors did long ago. In June, guided tours are offered on weekends while during July and August, special living history exhibitions engage visitors; on summer weekdays, self-guided tours are available, but no buildings are open. (763-694-7784)

7 Ellingson Car Museum
You can't miss the Model-T sign that points the way to this car museum, located just off Interstate 94. The museum contains over 100 vintage vehicles, ranging from classic cars to motorcycles. The museum also has a gift shop, along with Clarabelle's Ice Cream Parlor, a '50s-style hangout that serves awesome shakes and malts when the museum hosts car shows during the season. (763-428-7337)

6 Museum of Russian Art
This unique, non-profit museum maintains continuous exhibits focusing on art created during the Soviet reign between 1922 and 1991. Many of these rare paintings are pulled from the private collection of the museum's founder, Raymond E. Johnson, who possesses what may be the most extensive privately-owned collection of Russian Realist paintings outside of Russia. In addition to Johnson's personal acquisitions, TMORA has also shown pieces on loan from Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery and from the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Museum at Rutgers. (612-821-9045)

5 American Swedish Institute
You won't find any other museums in Minneapolis quite like the American Swedish Institute. This distinctive museum is housed in a turn-of-the-century mansion, a sight in itself with intricate stone carvings and intriguing gargoyles. Once inside the 33-room mansion, you can explore elaborate period rooms and exhibit galleries that showcase various works of art, artifacts, special exhibits, many of which come directly from Sweden, and the ongoing Swedish Life in the Twin Cities display. (612-871-4907)

4 Minneapolis Institute of Arts
This internationally renowned museum boasts a permanent collection of more than 80,000 items representing prehistoric to modern eras. Highlights include a 2000-year-old mummy and an exquisite collection of Chinese jade. The Institute also houses an excellent collection of Impressionist works. Period rooms feature original objects and furnishings from upper-class European homes and from America's early decades. Films, concerts, lectures, tours, and special events are offered throughout the year. (612-870-3131, 888-642-2787)

3 The Bakken Library and Museum
The Bakken, located near Lake Calhoun, opened its doors more than 25 years ago and continues to promote education and experimentation in the fields of magnetism and electricity. The museum maintains a comprehensive collection of books and scientific instruments. Exhibits range from electrotherapeutics to electro-physiology, and special programs are often sponsored. (612-926-3878)

2 Mill City Museum
Learn more about Minneapolis history via this museum's engaging interactive exhibits. Located along the historic Mississippi Riverfront, Mill City Museum is built on the ruins of what was once the world's largest flour mill. Today visitors can take an eight-story elevator ride through the mill and view exhibits like the Baking Lab to learn about the state's historic role as the world's leading flour producer and the impact of the flour industry on its evolution. (612-341-7555)

1 Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum
This Minneapolis museum's truly unique collection is a definite must-see. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the museum building houses the University of Minnesota's extensive collection of 20th-century American art. The permanent collection includes more than 17,000 works and spans a diverse variety of styles and genres, including American modernism, Mimbres pottery, Korean furniture and ceramics. Featured artists include Roy Lichtenstein, Georgia O'Keeffe and Marsden Hartley. Special exhibits are scheduled throughout the year. (612-625-9494)

Maps and Directions

1
Walker Art Center 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Museums, Museums, Performing Arts
Neighborhood: Loring Park
2
Bell Museum of Natural History 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums, Science Museums
Neighborhood: University
3
The Landing - Minnesota River Heritage Park 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: SHAKOPEE
4
Ellingson Car Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: Museums
Neighborhood: ROGERS
5
Museum of Russian Art 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: SOUTH MINNEAPOLIS
6
American Swedish Institute 10Best List Arrow
Type: Architecture, History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: EAST MINNEAPOLIS
7
Minneapolis Institute of Arts 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: WHITTIER
8
The Bakken Library and Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: Museums, Science Museums
Neighborhood: SOUTHWEST MINNEAPOLIS
9
Mill City Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: MILL DISTRICT
10
Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: Architecture, Art Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: UNIVERSITY