History in the Twin Cities: 1862, Huck Finn, and a Last Chance to See Real Pirates

Looking for interesting exhibits and events around the Twin Cities related to history? Here’s what’s on and what’s coming up:

Civil War Weekend: Minnesota in 1862

Fort Snelling continues to mark the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War, with special events this weekend (Aug. 18-19) such as military drills and cannon firings. And learn more about the role that the fort played in the debates over slavery that preceded the outbreak of the Civil War. (Dred Scott famously dwelled here from 1836-1840.)

Admission to Historic Fort Snelling (which has exhibits on other aspects of military history, including both world wars of the 20th century) is $11, with discounts for seniors, students, and children; members of the Minnesota Historical Society enter for free.

Huck Finn Two-Day Camp

Have children aged 9-12 who love The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? Consider signing them up to spend August 28-29 at Fort Snelling fishing, hiking, building a lodge, cooking over a fire, and other activities from the Mark Twain book. Space is limited, and advance registration is required. ($150 / $140 for MN Historical Society members)

Dakota Prisoners at Fort Snelling
Dakota Prisoners at Fort Snelling – Minnesota Historical Society

Ded Unk’unpi—We Are Here

As part of a continuing commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the brief but bloody war between the Dakota population of Minnesota and the U.S. government (see also an exhibit running at Fort Snelling through August-September and the next entry in our line-up), this exhibit brings together twenty Native American artists responding to the legacy of the war and the execution of 38 Dakota warriors that followed.

Through Sept. 28th, this exhibit is being hosted by All My Relations Arts in Minneapolis (free admission, but closed on Sunday — check its website for hours and directions). It will then move to the James J. Hill House in St. Paul for a run that will last from mid-October to next January.

The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862

Learn more about this challenging work of public history at its website, or read our earlier post on the debates that surrounded its planning. (And check out the Star Tribune‘s continuing, multi-part profile of Chief Little Crow, one of the leaders of the Dakota during their war with the U.S. government.)

History Center tickets are $11, discounted to $9 for college students. And there’s always free admission on Tuesday evenings (5-8pm). Or join the Minnesota Historical Society and get free admission anytime to see permanent exhibits on Minnesotans in World War II, the changing face of a neighborhood on St. Paul’s East Side, and weather in Minnesota, and temporary exhibits like The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and our next suggestion…

1934: A New Deal for Artists

This traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian will remain at the Minnesota History Center through September. Its fifty-six paintings come from the Depression-era Public Works of Art Project, which lasted only six months in 1933-1934, but stands as the first federal program to support the arts at a national level. Unemployed artists were commissioned to produce works (broadly fitting the theme “The American Scene”) to decorate public buildings.

Click here to learn more! (see above for ticket prices and membership info)

Photography from the USSR: Soviet Life, Russian Reality

Running through mid-September at The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, this exhibition features photographs from the last forty years of the Soviet Union’s existence. Learn more at the museum website.

Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship

Only a couple more weeks to check out this popular exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota; it’s scheduled to close on Labor Day. Real Pirates seeks to introduce the  “perils and privileges of 18th century pirate life” through interaction with over 200 artifacts (including coins, cannons, swords, and more), mostly related to the Whydah, the flagship of pirate Sam Bellamy, which sank in 1717.

Click here to learn more about the exhibition (prices range from $12-$36).

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