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Hennepin History Museum's exhibitions highlight the diverse and rich history of Hennepin County, the most populous county in Minnesota.

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Inventions & Innovations

Inventions & Innovations showcases the men and women of Hennepin County who improved our lives through their engineering, scientific, artistic, and design contributions and inventions. Many items on display can be found in their modern iterations used daily in homes across the country, from Honeywell's damper flapper (the precursor to the thermostat) to Nordic Ware's Bundt pans, to Prince's Minneapolis Sound. While most items on display are from the Museum's extensive collection, visitors will also be able to see early Toro lawnmowers on loan from the Bloomington-based international company.

Exhibit Dates: April 11 - October 13, 2019

Thanks to Xcel Energy, Thermo King, and Nordic Ware for sponsoring this exhibit.

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Being Human: Stories from Humans of Minneapolis

In 2010, Stephanie Glaros began walking to work in downtown Minneapolis with her camera in hand, asking people she encountered along the way if she could take their photograph. It was a means of breaking through the social barriers she felt between herself and others. Originally a personal project called Minneapolis Strangers, it evolved into Humans of Minneapolis, inspired by the storytelling project Humans of New York. She shared her photographs and interviews online, developing a social media following of over 70,000. While preparing a book about the work, published in 2006, she learned how the project had affected the people in the photographs. It is a project that keeps on giving. She relaunched as a nonprofit organization in 2018 with the mission of connecting hearts and minds with storytelling to encourage empathy and build community. Being Human: Stories from Humans of Minneapolis is a curated collection of memorable stories from the project. A series of events is being held in conjunction with the exhibit.

Exhibit dates: Thursday, June 20, 2019 - Sunday, January 5, 2020

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Minneapolis Aquatennial: Gifts, Awards, and Memorabilia

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Minneapolis Aquatennial which was created in 1939 by a group of Minneapolis businessmen to promote the City of Minneapolis and provide entertainment to the residents of Hennepin County. Festivities included a canoe derby, an air show, a rodeo, boat races, parades, aquatic performances, and the coronation of the Queen of the Lakes. This exhibit, curated by Aquatennial historian Ken Hafften, showcases some of the memorabilia and collectibles that commemorate the festival.

Exhibit dates: On display through Sunday, August 11, 2019

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Shelf Life: Open storage and preservation at Hennepin History Museum

Have you ever wondered what REALLY goes on behind the scenes in a museum? Why museums collect? What's back there in the storage areas? Join us as we open the door to the secret life of history museums. Our new "Inside Out" visible storage galleries will give you a chance to watch as our staff and volunteers systematically document, research, and photograph every single item in our vast collection.
This space will be constantly changing as we make our way through the collection. So make sure to come back often to check out the newest findings!
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The Story of Our County

The Museum's mission is to collect, preserve, and share the history and stories of Hennepin County. This exhibit serves as a foundation from which guests can learn about Hennepin County and then explore the Museum's other rotating exhibitions with a better understanding of the people, institutions, and events that have shaped this region. The exhibit consists of six main panels, covering topics from the County's pre-settlement home to the Dakota, to the establishment of the County in 1852, the rise of local industry, and the diverse immigrant populations that moved here.

Visiting the museum at this time does require the use of stairs.