At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we love our state and all it has to offer. Hopefully Twin Cities residents are by now well-aware of the high-caliber dining/restaurant options across the metro. Our annual James Beard Award semifinalists and nominations have helped spread the news to a national audience. Additionally, we have a pretty outstanding performing arts scene to sample, enjoy, and support. The Guthrie, MN Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, MN Opera, Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Children's Theatre Company, and so many more offer a wide range of performances to please varying tastes, interests, and budgets. To appropriately round out the performing arts-fine arts-educational spectrum, our state is practically bursting at the seams with museums. Most of the major museums are located within the Twin Cities metro, though Rochester and Duluth maintain their own smaller variety. Speaking of notoriety, the latest museum to have the spotlight is our own Science Museum of MN (pictured above), thanks to the throwback purple hoodie worn by the character Dustin on the hit Netflix series "Stranger Things".
In St. Paul and Minneapolis alone, we have the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Russian Art, the American Swedish Institute, the Mill City Museum, the MN History Center, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the MN Children's Museum. The art museums have an incredible range of art forms, styles, and periods covered in permanent exhibits, and they regularly host traveling exhibits, keeping the variety fresh. One of the Mia's most popular events - "Art in Bloom" - is coming up in April, and it's a must-see. The vibrant colors and fresh smell of the flowers relieve Minnesotans' winter-starved senses; and best of all, the event is free. In fact, the Mia's permanent exhibits are always free, and the other museums offer reasonable annual memberships. If you're looking to get the most bang for your buck, a membership to the MN Historical Society grants access to 2 of the museums above (MN History Center and the Mill City Museum) along with many others not listed, like Ft. Snelling, Oliver Kelley Farm, Split Rock Lighthouse, and the James J. Hill House. Although a couple of the museums are small enough to see everything in one visit, most can be visited over and over, and you'll keep discovering new things. For those concerned about kids, most of the museums are kid-friendly and lots of fun. If you have a doubt, we'd recommend calling ahead for the museum staff's input and tips to best plan your visit.
We are lucky to have these world-class museums, theatres and performing groups at our fingertips. One visit to Orchestra Hall or the Ordway can drastically improve one's mood and outlook on life upon witnessing humanity's incredible creativity and the tangible result of years of work, practice, and struggle. A visit to the MN History Center's "Minnesota's Greatest Generation" exhibit will help you better appreciate the considerable sacrifices made at a time so dire. And a visit to an art museum transports you into the minds of hundreds of artists who have put their triumphs and heartbreaks on display for the world. Experiences like these enrich life beyond measure., and now's the time to take advantage!
Cover Photo: Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, MN
By McGhiever - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59684189