In 1879, a lumber baron named Thomas Barlow Walker built an extra room onto his house. He mounted his 20 favorite paintings on the room's walls and opened it to the public. This private collection transformed into a public gallery with the founding of Walker Art Center in 1927. Over the following decades, the center's staff amassed a collection focused on modern art, gathering works from Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, and Alberto Giacometti. Today, this permanent collection has expanded to encompass more than 11,000 modern and contemporary paintings, sculptures, and photographs, more than 800 film pieces, and more than 1,200 artists' books.
In the whimsical multistory geometric helix of the Barnes building, seven cube-shaped galleries radiate from a central core on terrazzo floors and under lofted ceilings. Docents lead group tours through the galleries to see rotating exhibitions or play hide-and-seek with Jackson Pollock. Current exhibits have explored the contemporary still photography of Cindy Sherman, American avant-garde film from 1960 to 1973, and prints, paintings, and sculptures produced after 1989. Inside the museum's social spaces, docents also host artist talks, film screenings, and open houses.
Designed as a contemporary twist on old European opera houses, the center's McGuire Theater draws visitors into its intimate space for live dance, theater, and music performances as well as performance art. Museum exhibits and events also spill outside to a central square and the four quadrants, bordered by granite and evergreen hedges, of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. As visitors walk across its lawns, they can glimpse iconic modern sculptures, cross a 375-foot steel-and-wood footbridge, or watch staff teach plants to paint in the Cowles Conservatory.
Originally the home of the Dakota and Ojibwe, Hennepin County began with the hopes and dreams of immigrants, New Englanders, and retired veterans. Why these entrepreneurs, farmers, laborers, craftsman, and vacationers decided to settle in what seemed to be a frigid, uninhabitable land is still a mystery, but their innovations and lineage are traced through the exhibits at Hennepin History Museum. The museum, located inside the historic George Christian mansion, hosts rotating exhibits and permanent collections that paint a picture of Midwestern life in the 19th and 20th centuries. From more recent decades, there are objects from Minneapolis Aquatennials and high-fashion clothes from downtown department stores such as Dayton's and Young-Quinlan. The Pillsbury Doughboy presides over it all, reminding guests of the importance of milling to the region's history.
Photographs, personal papers, and atlases round out the collection, whose contents are further illuminated during the museum’s frequent events. Experts and authors, for instance, deliver talks in the museum’s intimate fireside room, whose fireplace keeps guests warm and prevents them from huddling in the museum's historical bear-skin rugs. In another tucked-away area, researchers and amateur historians pore through the material in the library, which is open to visitors 5 days a week, and in the archives, which is open by appointment. They might find maps of the region from the start of the 20th Century or old pictures of homes in the neighborhood, all steeped in memories and history.
National Sports Center is one of the few places in the world where you can step from verdant fields onto stretches of ice. Eight ice arenas?four Olympic-sized, four NHL-sized?comprise more than 148,000 square feet inside the Schwan Super Rink. And as for the fields? The National Sports Center was originally conceived as a soccer complex, and it still boasts 52 fields. The Guinness Book of World Records has certified National Sports Center as the largest soccer complex on earth.
Hockey and soccer still only make up a small portion of the sports that are playable at the center. Those same soccer fields might host rugby on one day, lacrosse on another, and ultimate disc the following week, provided the discs have not flown south for the winter. The ice rink might host figure skaters as well as broomball teams. At the center's outdoor cycling velodrome, brake-free bikes race each other along a canted track, thrilling crowds every Thursday from late May to September. And of course, there's the Victory Links Golf Course, a 400-acre expanse that's home to an 18-hole championship course, a grass driving range, and an 18-hole bent-grass putting course. Players of all stripes can sign up for leagues and lessons in their favorite sport, or check out everything from expos to fitness classes on the calendar of events.
CorePower Yoga founder Trevor Tice knows yoga is much more than a tool for increasing physical strength. "We've seen first hand emotional breakthroughs, physical improvements, and most of all, a new found confidence and balance our students carry from the studio into their daily lives," says Trevor. To further their holistic efforts, CorePower provides additional services and programs across various locations. Some outposts house spas where visitors can quiet their minds with a massage or facial, while others host Karma Yoga events wherein teachers lead free classes for cancer survivors, and students share home-cooked food with homeless youths.
But yoga resides at the heart of CorePower's mission to inspire as many people as possible, so each studio boasts a range of classes that accommodates all experience levels. Truly serious students can conjure pensive expressions as they enroll in a yoga-teacher-training program, and all patrons can take comfort in knowing their studio was built from recycled materials and equipped with energy-efficient fixtures.
Wood Lake housed the antics of swimmers and boaters until the 1950s, when most of its water drained away. In the years since, it has transformed into the 150-acre year-round Wood Lake Nature Center, where 3 miles of trails and wooden boardwalks meander through three defined natural habitats. Visitors can immerse themselves in wildlife at a cattail freshwater marsh, mixed lowland forest, and restored prairie; view creatures from a wildlife observation shelter and docks; and witness performances and lectures in a 100-seat outdoor amphitheater. In a more than 4,000-square-foot interpretive center, on-staff naturalists guide guests through educational programs focused on plants, animals, and ecosystems while fielding questions such as why bears hibernate and how to beat an owl in a staring contest. Staff members showcase natural splendor through a range of indoor and outdoor seasonal events, such as Earth Day craft projects, family-friendly Halloween festivities, and winter festivities around New Year's. In the summer, counselors lead day camps during which children can explore the marsh with bug nets, learn how to use binoculars, and build forts in the forest. While Wood Lake Nature Center welcomes exploration, pets, bikes, rollerblades, and giant hamster balls are prohibited to ensure the preservation of local habitats.
Dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the state?s storied past, the Minnesota Historical Society dutifully curates 26 historic sites and museums that help visitors delve into days of yore?from the Forest History Center in Grand Rapids to the Jeffers Petroglyphs in Comfrey and Split Rock Lighthouse on the North Shore.
Explore the Minnesota History Center?s collection of artifacts, local artworks, and hands-on exhibits at the History Center in St. Paul, from Civil War battle flags to Prince's suit from Purple Rain. Temporary exhibits include American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, on display through March 16, and Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s, opening May 24. Mill City Museum in Minneapolis chronicles the linked histories of the flour industry, Minneapolis, and the Mississippi River, sending visitors through history as they traverse each floor on an eight-story elevator ride that depicts a working day at the mill. As a bonus, baking-lab demonstrations produce balmy bread samples and historically accurate stomach rumbles.