Yes, Saint Paul is known for stellar museums, including the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Minnesota Children’s Museum, the Minnesota History Center and more. While we’d argue that you’re probably due for a trip to one of these well-known museums, we have a few exhibits in the city that might surprise you, too.
Note that some museums have reduced hours, require advanced reservations, or are temporarily closed in response to the impacts of Covid-19 - please check with locations before your visit.
Minnesota Museum of American Art
Located in the Cass Gilbert-designed Pioneer Endicott building, the Minnesota Museum of American Art has a history that spans back to 1894. The M strives to bring in diverse exhibits that connect audiences with relevant subjects and issues. Currently undergoing major renovations, plan a visit to the M when it reopens December 2, 2018.
The Smallest Museum in St. Paul
Grab a coffee and see the smallest museum in the city. At Workhorse Coffee Bar, a 24” x 35” vintage firebox is curated to feature a new tiny exhibit. Branded as The Smallest Museum in St. Paul, this on-going effort is a project of the Knight Foundation and is curated by artists who are selected to showcase on a monthly basis.
Minnesota Transportation Museum
There aren’t many operational roundhouses from the 1890s anymore, but the Minnesota Transportation Museum is happy to show you one. The museum houses the regional history of buses and trains, as well as several interactive exhibits. Ask to see the restoration area or the blacksmith shop, and don’t pass up free train rides on Saturdays.
Hmong Cultural Center
The Hmong Cultural Center is a small community exhibition, but it’s well worth a visit to this University Avenue gem that’s been in Saint Paul for about twenty years. Located conveniently next to the Green Line, spend some time learning about the Hmong population’s experience, art and history in Saint Paul, and you might befriend one of the hundreds of people who take community classes at the center. While you're in the area, stop in for a bite at one of our favorite University Avenue restaurants.
Alexander Ramsey House
Built in 1868, the home of the Minnesota Territory’s first governor and state’s second governor is an example well-preserved Victorian architecture. Although the Alexander Ramsey House doesn’t have regular hours, check here for happy hours, history tours and seasonal events.
The Schubert Club
Inside the Landmark Center, you’ll find several organizations that represent the history of music, art, legislation and change within Minnesota. The Uncle Sam Worked Here exhibit, the American Association of Woodworkers gallery and the Ramsey County Historical Society are tenants in the building, and we highly recommend seeing the instruments and documents housed here by The Schubert Club, which hosts free concerts on Thursday in the summer.
Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum
Though the Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum recently moved to a new location, but you’ll still find the O-scale models of your favorite trains. Much of the museum replicates the railroads and landmarks that travel through Minnesota, but you’ll find some Easter egg treats hidden in the tracks, such as Big Foot and Mickey’s Diner.
Julian H. Sleeper House
The Julian H. Sleeper House is a testament to architecture and furniture during the Gilded Age, and features more than 500 decorative owls scattered throughout the home. Although the structure has moved throughout the Crocus Hill neighborhood, it’s now permanently situated on St. Alban’s Street. Tours are available by appointment only as it is a private residence.
Have you found a hidden museum in Saint Paul? Let us know about it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #MYSAINTPAUL.