The Minneapolis Institute of Arts better known as MIA (2400 3rd Ave, 612-870-3131) was established in 1883. Housed in this really cool building is over 4,000 years of world history. The museum’s permanent collection includes 100,000 objects from around the world. Special exhibits sometimes require a small donation, but the majority of the museum is free. The Minneapolis Youth Hostel is conveniently located across the street.
Walker Art Center/Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
(725 Vineland Place, 612-375-7622) Here in Minneapolis we tend to be a little snooty about our art. We have the Walker Art Center, one of the country’s finest in contemporary art. Even Yoko Ono has been for a visit.
The Walker also boasts the nations largest Outdoor Sculpture Garden. Unfortunately, it’s only visible for half the year. In the summer it’s a great place to wander and wonder outdoors, not to mention great people watching. Having said that, there is also something very disturbing in the sculpture garden. It’s a little embarrassing. This structure is known as the Spoonbridge and Cherry Fountain. It’s a huge cherry carefully placed towards the tip of a massive spoon, if that’s not weird enough, the cherry spouts water from the top of its stem. I donâ€™t know who’s idea this was, nor do I know what it represents. I am a native Minnesotan, and do not remember any cherry and spoon story. Try to ignore it, I do.
The Walker is free every Thursday and the first Saturday of each month. Otherwise: $4 adults, $3 12-18, 12 or younger are free.
The Bakken Library and Museum (3537 Zenith Ave. S, 612-926-3878) is “an Electrifying Experience”. Full of electrical gadgets from the 18th and 19th century. The museum is very hands-on with lots of levers to push and pull and knobs to turn. The Bakken museum of electricity and magnetism is located on the West side of Lake Calhoun in a newly expanded mansion known as the West Winds. In the library there is a collection of 11,000 rare books on electricity and magnetism. In the summer there is a beautiful garden full of medicinal herbs to enjoy.
Earl Bakken, who was born in 1924 and is still with us today, is responsible for this fun museum, not to mention the first transistorized pacemaker in 1957. The original pacemaker is on display in the lobby of the museum. This is a good place for children of all ages.
Adults pay $5 to get in, students and seniors $3, and kids under six are free. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Museum of Questionable Medical Devices (201 SE Main St., 612-379-4046) is located mysteriously across the river in no man’s land. This museum is really something to see. Crazy medical devices and advertisements for cures from a long time ago. There is a pretty pink machine with a funnel for breast enlargement and my personal favorite, an ad for Sterilized tape worms as a diet aid.
Free; donations accepted. Hours: T,W,TH 5pm-9pm; F,Sat 12pm-9pm; Sun 12pm-5pm; closed on Mondays.