ST. PAUL — May in Minnesota is the kick-off to summer, and one of the state’s new traditions: Minnesota Museums Month. The program is a collaboration among museums of all types— history, art, science, military, zoos, arboretums and more—to raise awareness of the importance of museums across the state in contributing to and sustaining community.
Minnesota Museums Month is an annual program organized by the Minnesota Association of Museums (MAM) and held each May. Minnesota is one of only a few states in the country that dedicates an entire month to celebrating the rich cultural resources of its museums.
“Minnesota’s museums are among the best in the country and serve as vital gathering places for fostering community and dialogue,” said MAM Managing Director Todd Wright. “I encourage all Minnesotans to participate in Minnesota Museums Month by visiting our great museum and cultural institutions across the state.”
“Since the launch in 2012, Minnesota Museums Month has ignited interest from visitors of all ages from Bemidji to Le Sueur and throughout the Twin Cities. Communities are seeing their local museums as partners for economic development, cultural exchanges and a destination for fun and creative family or group outings,” said Lin Nelson-Mayson, director of the Goldstein Museum of Design and Chair of the Minnesota Association of Museums.
According to the Minnesota Association of Museums, Minnesota has approximately 600 museums—one for every 9,000 residents, which is twice as many as the national average. Every county in the state has at least one museum—55 in Minneapolis-St. Paul alone, which is twice as many as in Chicago. The annual economic impact of Minnesota museums is more than $300 million.
During May, special events and programs will take place at museums across Minnesota. Examples include:
• From May 1-31, children will be admitted free of charge with a paying adult at the Minnesota Historical Society’s two signature museums in the Twin Cities: the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul and Mill City Museum in Minneapolis. In addition, moms will receive free admission at both museums on Mother’s Day, May 11. www.mnhs.org (The offer excludes school field trips.)
• During May, six history museums in Red Wing will mount exhibits related to the Phil Revoir Collection of vintage photos of the Red Wing area. On May 31 and June 1, the six museums will offer free admission and host the first Red Wing Museum Crawl featuring a surplus sale at the Red Wing Pottery Museum. Participating museums include: Goodhue County Historical Society, Red Wing Shoe Company Museum, Red Wing Pottery Museum, Red Wing Marine Museum, American Ski Jumping Hall of Fame and Museum, and Aliveo Military Museum.
• On May 18, celebrate International Art Museum Day at the Walker Art Center with free gallery admission all day including Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process. Walker Art Center is free to children 18 and under every day. www.walkerart.org
• The Science Museum of Minnesota will offer one free child admission (ages 4 to 12) with each paid adult admission May 1 through May 31. smm.org
• American Swedish Institute will host a “Summer Kick-off Bike-In Picnic”, a day of fun for the entire family and bike enthusiasts at Minneapolis’ only castle (free, May 18). Moms will receive free admission to ASI on Mother’s Day (May 11). Asimn.org
• The Landing – Minnesota River Heritage Park in Shakopee will host Civil War Weekend, May 3 & 4, complete with encampments, Minnesota soldiers and a visit from President Lincoln on Saturday. threeriversparks.org
• Moms are admitted free at the Minnesota Zoo on Mother’s Day weekend, May 10-11, courtesy of Macy’s. mnzoo.org
• The Twin City Model Railroad Museum celebrates its 80th enjoy special events on May 10 in conjunction with National Train Day. Tcmrm.org
• In conjunction with Minnesota Museums Month, Twin Cities Public Television will air a series of programs showcasing the diverse offerings of Minnesota Museums. Check local listings for air time. www.tpt.org
Minnesota Museums Month launched in 2012 in conjunction with the 106th annual meeting of the American Association of Museums, held in Minneapolis/St. Paul, the meeting welcomed more than 5,000 museum professionals from institutions in every state and more than 30 countries.
Participating museums and visitors are encouraged to share their highlights of Minnesota Museums Month via social media by connecting on Facebook or Twitter using: @MNMuseums or #mnmuseums. www.museumsmonth.org