ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — In these cold winter months, warm up by taking in some high culture, indoors. This week we went looking for the best museum in Minnesota. You voted and chose the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul.
The Science Museum makes an often-dreaded school topic alluring.
“We all know that science is an essential literacy,” the museum’s Senior Vice President Mike Day said. “We make science fun, not just education. We inspire people to get engaged in science, appreciate science, to enjoy science because it is an enjoyable thing to be doing.”
After 110 years, it’s still as interesting and popular as ever, making practical applications of science accessible. Sports? That’s science. Space exploration? That’s science — mummies too.
“The glazes were organic material, which turn black with age. That’s why the skin is so dark,” a museum worker told a group of visitors.
“I’ll never forget when we opened our current facility at the end of 1999,” Day said. “I was in the dental chair with all the armature in my mouth, and the woman said, ‘You’re moving the mummy, right?’ ‘Yeah we are.'”
The Science Museum of Minnesota, voted Best of Minnesota, is a century-old St. Paul institution.
“The building was designed so that it’s not just one flat face to the river,” Day said. “As you move through the building, you get different perspectives, both upstream and downstream, of the river.”
It has nearly 370,000 square feet of indoor space. That’s eight and a half acres of science. It’s no surprise they fit the domed OmniTheater inside – playing films they’ve produced.
“It’s probably something most people don’t know,” Day said. “We’re not a passive museum that brings in things from the outside. We are a very active museum and original creator.”
That’s not where the creation ends — they also make their own exhibits. That leads us to one of the coolest parts about this musuem: what lies underneath.
Tom Loddengaard is a Science Museum fabricator.
“We research and develop them from just an idea into a reality,” he said. “We are experts at building weird stuff.”
Anything that needs to go from a science concept into reality happens here.
“We want to make sure that people are scientifically literate, especially with young people. We want to inspire them to consider careers in science and tech,” Day said. “We are the portal for that inspiration, but we do it in a unique, exciting and fun way.”
The museum welcomes nearly a million visitors every year. Your other favorites are the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Marine Art Museum in Winona.