Sunday, July 24, 2011

Minnesota History Center

Yesterday my friend Shirley and I toured the Minnesota History Center, which is only blocks away from the Minnesota Capitol and the Cathedral of Saint Paul. Perhaps you've been there. It was my first visit, and it won't be my last! Little did I know such a gem existed.

There were various displays within the museum, but some interested me more than others. There was a section called "Minnesota's Greatest Generation" that was fascinating. We sat in a small movie theater where we saw pieces of movies from the past. Leaving the theater, I was intrigued by the woman who acted out the part of Fanny Brin, a Jewish immigrant woman who lived from 1884 to 1961. She supported the United States' membership in the United Nations. Seeing her monologue was really worth it! Also in this section, we sat in a flying boxcar while it took us on the journey of soldiers on their way to the beaches for battle in WWII - guns hitting our plane, orders given to prepare ourselves to jump. The plane rumbled and shook. It felt real to me!

In another area, we sat in a basement while the tornado of 1965 hit Fridley, Minnesota. WCCO radio was playing the weather. The "railroad" sound of the tornado was incredible!

Munsingwear has a "brief" display from now through September 11. This was interesting - showing a history of children, men's and women's underwear through time. I'm sure glad some of the things we used to wear have been retired!

My favorite display was "Open House: If These Walls Could Talk." Through census records, and perhaps other means, it was determined a house in St. Paul has had 50 families live in it since it was built. The single family home was made into a duplex after the first family lived it it. Eventually it was divided three ways. The display of this house was ingenious. One entered the parlor of the original homeowner. It had the period wallpaper, furniture, and a slide projector of the day with 6 cool paddle-type slides for the public to insert. Parts of the house were sensitive to visitors - and a recording would start with narration from the homeowner of the time. Step close to the piano, and it would begin to play. Moving to the next room brought you to a bedroom - decorated in the 50's style. When walking up to the bed, the bedspread illuminated these words: Sit Here. When I noticed it, I sat down. Within seconds, the foot end of the bed collapsed! Oh, how it started me! Shirley laughed. Then a recording started of a woman who had lived in the house at that time. She was a hoot! She told how the slats in the bed often fell out causing the bed to tip down! She said the people below would snicker and say, "They're having fun again!"

I could go on, but don't want to spoil it for any of you who may want to visit this wonderful treasure. Many times I thought of my brother and sister and told Shirley I was certain they would enjoy this museum! I hope we can go together some day. I know I want to return.

1 comment:

MamaD4 said...

We enjoyed our visit, all those years ago when Hans and I were dating. The last time I was there was to visit their amazing bookstore. I think this was before we headed to Japan, so we loaded up on Minnesota books!