Science Museum Of Minnesota

120 West Kellogg Boulevard
Saint Paul, MN 55102



To invite learners of all ages to experience their changing world through science.

About The Museum:

The Science Museum of Minnesota, founded in 1907, is a large regional science museum located on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul. The Science Museum's programs combine research and collection facilities, a public science education center, extensive teacher education and school outreach programs, and an Imax Convertible Dome Omnitheater to provide science education to our audience of more than a million people per year.

On December 11, 1999, the Science Museum opened its new 370,000-square-foot facility built into the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. The new museum's 70,000 square feet of exhibition space includes a 10,000 square foot temporary exhibit gallery and five permanent exhibition halls covering the topics of paleontology, physical sciences and technology, the human body, peoples and cultures, and the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River flows just outside the windows of the new Museum and past the museum's ten acres of outdoor exhibits and programming space. The Science Museum of Minnesota employs over 600 full and part time staff and is supported by more than 1,000 dedicated volunteers.

The Science Museum of Minnesota is known worldwide for its interactive exhibits, dynamic traveling exhibitions, and internationally distributed large format films. The Museum was an early innovator in the use of live theater as a humanizing interpretive tool and continues to be a training ground for other museums wishing to include live programming in their exhibit halls. The museum provides innovative staff development programs for teachers throughout the region, science education outreach programs for K-12 classrooms, and partners with the St. Paul Public School district to operate a K-6 Museum Magnet School. The Science Museum constantly explores and implements new technologies to educate our audience about science. The Science Museum's research and collections division and St. Croix Watershed Research Station provide significant ongoing scientific research in the areas of anthropology, paleontology, biology, and environmental sciences.

A Brief History:

The beginning of the Science Museum of Minnesota can be traced to a luncheon at the Minnesota Club in 1906 when a small group of St. Paul businessmen, headed by Charles W. Ames, met to discuss "the intellectual and scientific growth of St. Paul." Ames proposed a series of free lectures on hygiene and sanitation, and Thomas Irvine pledged financial support. Thus the St. Paul Institute of Science and Letters was born, later to become the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM).

The institute's first home was in the St. Paul Auditorium on Fourth Street. Thousands of scientific specimens and valuable collections were offered as gifts, including a mummy shipped from Egypt by a vacationing St. Paul couple. Upon incorporation in 1907, the institute received its first collections of scientific interest from the St. Paul Academy of Natural Sciences. These became the nucleus of SMM's extensive collections.

In 1927 the museum moved to the Merriam Mansion on Capitol hill, the former home of Col. John Merriam. In less than a decade this became overcrowded and an auditorium and exhibition hall were added and opened in 1936.

SMM continued to outgrow its facilities. In 1964 a new building was opened at 30 East Tenth Street, which housed SMM and other member agencies of the St. Paul-Ramsey Arts and Science Council. In 1978 SMM completed a major expansion program and opened a new building in an adjacent block, which included three new exhibit halls and the William L. McKnight-3M Omnitheater.

In the early 1990s, the board of trustees and museum staff began plans for a new facility. Located on St. Paul's riverfront, the new museum and its expanding programs are designed to fulfill SMM's mission and values well into the new century.

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