Minneapolis Museums For Those Looking to Escape the World

A review for those looking to take a break with the quiet and beautiful spaces of Minneapolis

Illustrator: Jaye Ahn

If you’re looking for a space of healing, what you might really need is a day at the museum. Life can be overwhelming, and taking an afternoon to stand in quiet spaces looking at art and history can be an incredible opportunity to reset. Luckily, Minnesota is home to many amazing museums and artistic spaces. Below you will find a review of three such museums based on their suitability as a place to practice a little self-care.

Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia): 5/5 stars

I’ve been visiting the Mia for years, and in all honesty, it established the bar to which I hold most other museums. Although there is a suggested donation, there is no required fee to gain access to one of the largest art museums in the country. Spanning three floors lined with marble floors and pillars, there are always places to go if you want to look at art alone, even on a busy day. As a bonus, one of the visiting exhibitions at the time of my visit was Artist Dave Muller’s “Now Where Were We?”, which is a temporary re-installation of Mia’s contemporary art galleries. The various works of contemporary art are displayed across multiple rooms, with Muller’s hand-painted murals on the walls behind them. The exhibit is very colorful, and it felt like walking through a children’s picture book. In addition to all Mia has to offer inside, there is also a lovely patio and mini garden in the back. This little blooming oasis can serve as a great way to reset by reconnecting with nature.

“Now Where Were We” is on display until December 3.

Hennepin History Museum: 2/5

Located just down the street from the MIA, the Hennepin History Museum is a small museum located in the George Christian Mansion. This is the only museum on this list that requires an entry fee, but student rates are comfortably priced at $3. Upon entering the museum, I was greeted by a friendly woman with a thick Minnesotan accent. She gladly told me about the history of the museum, offering me water and letting me know about upcoming events. It was nice to have someone so friendly to interact with, but I can imagine on a day when I didn’t want to talk to anyone, this museum could become a little annoying. The special exhibit on display is “Eat Street at 20,” an oral history exhibit celebrating 20 years of the part of Nicollet Avenue that is home to a variety of restaurants. Each restaurant featured is given its own written article about its history, complete with pictures, menus, and other artifacts related to the restaurant. In the center of the room is an array of spices to smell, which isn’t exactly aroma therapy but could potentially fit the bill in a pinch. Upstairs, there is a small gallery of Minnesota landscape and cityscape paintings. It was calming to see all of the different art styles depicting Minnesota, and to think about all the people who have made a home in the Minneapolis area before me. Wandering through this upstairs exhibit was calming, as it was separate from the crowds downstairs. However, the highlight of the museum was a bench in this upstairs exhibit that sat opposite five vertical windows that overlooked the beautiful neighborhood.

“Eat Street at 20” is on display until February 25.

Weisman Art Museum: 3/5 stars

Weisman is conveniently located on the University of Minnesota campus, and offers free admission. The main downside to the museum is that there were a lot of workers walking around and talking during my visit, which prevented me from ever feeling completely immersed in the art. Additionally, the visiting exhibit at the moment is “What a Drag!”, which primarily features the Tom Hoover 1966 Top Fuel Dragster, and although it is admittedly an impressive vehicle, it isn’t a piece of art that really resonates with me. However, despite its smaller size, the Weisman does offer a wide variety of visual art styles, so you should have no problem finding a piece that speaks to you.

“What a Drag!” is on display until November 19.