"We are all of us living in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." ~Oscar Wilde
"Adventure is worthwhile in itself." ~Amelia Earhart

June 27, 2010

Mill City Museum

For months, I’ve been meaning to visit the Mill City Museum in downtown Minneapolis. I finally did it today.

This morning, I jumped on a bus and headed downtown. The one I took landed me a little less than a mile from the entrance of the museum. Bus service on Sundays can be horribly slow. Not the busses themselves, of course. But a bus that’ll normally show up every 20 minutes can wind down to once every 45 minutes. And, so, I decided to walk. That was mistake #2. Mistake #1 was wearing sandals. 

‘They’re cute! And strappy! And summery!’ I thought when I put them on.

That was an obnoxiously girly thing to think. Sandals are not meant for long-distance walking. I’m now limping around the house with a blister on the balls of each foot. And determined to kill any ‘girly’ thought that passes through my head. With a dull fork. Repeatedly.

But, other than that, it was a pleasant trip. The weather was perfect, one of those summer days with bright blue skies and the occasional white, puffy cloud. Walking through the museum, which was once one of many flour mills that lined the Mississippi River, was interesting. The museum primarily focuses on the history of the flour milling industry in Minneapolis. Exhibits and plaques are placed throughout the building allowing you to read as you go. A ‘baking lab’ is staffed by people giving interactive demonstrations. It’s a little overpriced at $10 for adults but most tourist attractions are.

When I bought my admission, the guy behind the counter handed me a sticker and told me to go to the “Flour Tower” exhibit. I suspect the exhibits change depending on what time you go. In this one, you (and the rest of the group) entered a large eight-story elevator with seats. The tour guide gives a little info on the building's history and the elevator moves between exhibits on each floor while short anecdotes from former employees play over the speaker.

Part of the "Flour Tower" Exhibit.
(Sorry, anonymous woman I captured. You have lovely hair.)

It ends on the observation deck on the top floor where there's a gorgeous view of the historic Stone Arch Bridge, St. Anthony Falls, and the Mississippi River.

View of the Mississippi River from the observation deck

Some pictures from the observation deck:

Looking down into the courtyard. In 1991, the mill caught on fire and
nearly burned to the ground. Soon after, the Minnesota Historical Society
converted it into it's current incarnation as a museum.


Ferd said...

Really great shots.
Interesting bits of old Minneapolis history!
I love how you love your city!

Noko Haha said...

I remember feeling nineteen or twenty someting and climbing around in that old mill. One time we brought guitars and climbed up the little ladders on the outside of the roof top water tanks. What a racket we made and a strange thing it was to be stoned and singing in a can on top of an abandoned mill. I remember taking a date up to inspect the view and on the way out she saw a rat and screamed! The older parts of the mill had amazing timbers and stair cases. Every floor contained long rows of ancient wooden macinery. I have a few pictures of my adventures in the mill on my blog. I never would have guessed the place would become condos and a museum. That fire back in 91 ruined all sorts of fun for me.

Berryvox said...

Ferd - I love all cities, really. :)

Noko - That's a fantastic story! I'm going to search for those pics right now.

Noko Haha said...