"Then Now Wow" Exhibit

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Minnesota Historical Society
Start Date
July 2009
End Date
December 2012
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws of Minnesota, 2009, Chapter 172, Article 4, Section 2
Appropriation Language

Minnesota History and Cultural Heritage Exhibit. $2,500,000 in 2010 is appropriated to the Minnesota Historical Society for an exhibit on the regional, local, and cultural diversity of Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage. These funds are available until expended. These funds are for the creation of both traveling exhibits to be made available to local historical and cultural organizations and an exhibit to be housed at the Minnesota History Center. The Minnesota Historical Society shall raise funds from private sources to augment this appropriation, with a goal of $1,500,000 in private funds to be raised. This is not a match requirement, but the Minnesota Historical Society shall certify that a good faith effort has been made.

2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Project Overview

The Minnesota Historical Society is developing an extensive, hands-on exhibit designed to bring the rich cultural tapestry of Minnesota into vivid focus.  Visitors to “Then Now Wow” (the exhibit's working title was "Our Minnesota") at the Minnesota History Center will explore the state’s distinctive places and meet the people who have made their homes here.

Opening in late 2012, the exhibit will incorporate a wide range of engaging, interactive, story-driven features, supporting the state history standards and complementing the Northern Lights state history textbook. It will also have traveling exhibits to augment the Minnesota Historical Society’s onsite and distance-learning classroom programs.

“Then Now Wow” is being designed primarily for schoolchildren visiting on field trips and for families with children. The exhibit is at the core of a major institutional initiative to reinvent the field trip for 21st-century learners.

The exhibit’s themes and topics, as well as the methods designed to engage students in learning about them, are being developed to meet the needs of teachers who are facing dwindling resources for history education and of students who are coming of age in a time of rapid global and technological change.

ACHF funding was appropriated to "Then Now Wow" for the 2010-2011 biennium but the funds are available until expended.  Private fundraising for “Then Now Wow” is underway. Fundraising efforts will continue in earnest until the exhibit opens in late 2012.

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Minnesota Historical Society
Street Address
345 Kellogg Boulevard West
St. Paul
Zip Code