This post is sponsored by The Bakken Museum
‘Inspiring a passion for innovation…’
During our first visit to The Bakken Museum in Minneapolis, it was obvious with every twist and turn that their mission of inspiring a passion for innovation was the heartbeat of the organization. You cannot help but be curious when visiting The Bakken. We were struck by the juxtaposition of a museum of innovation and imagination housed in a such a stately older mansion. It makes for such a unique experience!
We’ve put together a helpful guide for all the things you need to know about this amazing Museum, but first, here are some of our favorites from our first visit!
L-R: Innovation Inspired by Nature, The Spark Exhibit, Magic Book
The Spark Exhibit
The Spark Exhibit seeks to awaken the innovator inside of each of us. Through a combination of high and low technology experiences, visitors explore past innovations and learn to ask big questions to make the world a better place.
Innovation Inspired by Nature
Walk through an immersive mural experience exploring the ways people use strategies from nature to solve human challenges.
Move your body to collaborate with machines and create virtual paint strokes and splatters in this kinetic, full-body interactive.
Turn the pages of this one-of-a-kind book to bring science fiction literature to life.
Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, is widely considered the first science fiction novel. Learn about her life and the culture of the world in which Mary lived. Get spooked in the immersive object theater, featuring Frankenstein’s monster.
Innovation and Exploration
Located on the West shore of Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis, the museum features interactive exhibits for all ages and exceptional STEM education programs.
Exhibits & Programs
Make movies in the Spark exhibit, meet the mother of science fiction, Mary Shelley, in Mary & Her Monster and Frankenstein’s Laboratory, and test out some of Ben Franklin’s favorite experiments in the Electricity Party Room. In addition to regular exhibits, new activities, and experiments are available Saturdays and Sundays in the Science Studio.
In addition to the exhibits we listed above, don’t miss these amazing exhibits:
- Ben Franklin’s Electricity Party
- Plants as Medicine
- Keva Art & Architecture Studio
- West Winds Mansion
Plus! New for this summer, a Summer Garden Scavenger Hunt and a LEGO Mini Figure Hide and Seek! Inquire at the Guest Services desk for more information.
The Bakken Museum has a robust events calendar full of special events, workshops, programs and more! Be sure to check often for all of the great opportunities for innovation and exploration at The Bakken!
The Bakken Museum’s education programs provide a supportive environment for kids to learn science, technology, engineering, and math concepts, try out tools, and unleash their inner innovators. In each session, expert educators and volunteers provide guidance and room to fail to foster a growth mindset (we love this!) in all participants.
Students will design and build their own projects in this four-week workshop. The first two weeks will be spent on an introductory challenge to introduce students to new engineering concepts and safely use tools in the makerspace. The remaining weeks are dedicated to students working on individual projects with Bakken Museum educators’ and volunteer mentors’ support and guidance. At the end of the four weeks, friends and family are invited to our Big Show, where students present their innovations and share their challenges and wins from the program.
DATES: Four Saturdays | October 7, 14, 21, 28
AGES: 7-8 (grades 2-3)
Students will design and build a unique project in the museum’s makerspace during this six-week workshop. The first two weeks will be spent introducing students to a new engineering concept or technology. The remaining four weeks are dedicated to students working on individual projects with Bakken Museum educators’ and volunteer mentors’ support and guidance. At the end of the six weeks, friends and family are invited to our Big Show, where students present their innovations and share their challenges and wins from the program.
DATES: Six Saturdays | Saturdays, October 28, November 4, 11, 18, December 2, 9
AGES: 9-14 (grades 4-9) *varies by session
Nearly Three Acres of Gardens
Perfect for a picnic! The Bakken Museum encompasses nearly three acres of unique gardens maintained by a group of dedicated staff and volunteers. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the outdoor spaces including the green roof and gardens!
3537 Zenith Avenue South – Minneapolis, MN
Hours & Admission
Open: Tuesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Seniors (65+): $10
Students (with ID): $9
Children (4-17): $7
Children (3 and under): Free
Limited Income Admission: $1
*Free parking is available in the surface lot off Zenith Avenue South. Free street parking is also available on Zenith Avenue South (The west side of the street) and on both sides of W 36th Street.
The Bakken Museum is named for the founder, Earl Bakken. Earl Bakken spent his early years building and taking apart electronic devices. When Earl Bakken was a child, he saw the film, Frankenstein. The use of electricity to create life in the movie inspired him to pursue a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota. He would go on to co-found one of the world’s largest medical device companies – Medtronic. In 1957, following an electrical blackout on Halloween night, Earl built the first external wearable, battery-powered pacemaker.
Earl began collecting artifacts and literature for others to learn from in his company’s headquarters. Then, in 1975, The Bakken Museum became an independent 501(C)3 nonprofit and moved to its current home in Minneapolis. In the early years, the organization’s primary mission was to become an international research center focusing on “Electricity in Life.” As a result, the rare book and instrument collection attracted researchers worldwide.
In 1998 the first floor was built. This new construction included exhibit spaces, classrooms, a catering kitchen, and a climate-controlled artifact vault. The addition allowed the institution to focus its efforts on public-facing programs and becoming a nationally recognized STEM education center.
Today, The Bakken Museum inspires a passion for innovation by exploring the potential for science, technology, and the humanities to make the world a better place. Located on the West shore of Bde Maka Ska, the museum features interactive exhibits, a medicinal garden, a world-renowned collection of artifacts, and exceptional STEM education programs.