How to Visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art without Getting Lost

Last updated on November 24th, 2018

Have you ever wanted to get lost in some artwork? Sometimes it is the paintings will just draw you in. Other times, it is just that you wandered away from your group and now you are literally lost. That was my experience at The Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA). I was perfectly content with either definition of lost.

Last weekend we got a sneak peek of the MIA we took the kids to the Children’s Theater. I didn’t feel like I could really enjoy the art. I would have to go in-between looking at a painting and then worrying about if the kids were in the room with me or if they were touching things. It was just way too stressful. So this weekend my sister and I both got sitters and we invited my husband to go along with us.

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Minneapolis Institute of Art

The museum has three floors worth of activities. Since the third floor has the most amounts of open rooms to explore we started there. As we meandered through all the rooms, just taking it in, we all found inspiration in different things. I fell in love with European oil paintings. It probably has something to do with my love of that history. The collection was a way to bring that part of history alive.

My sister gravitated towards the modern and ‘Pop Culture Art’, especially the Andy Warhol. They had larger than life displays of all kinds of Pop Art. The art is filled with color and textures. Reminiscence of the golden age of marketing when things popped off the page.

My husband was torn between pictures of nautical themed paintings and the weaponry. The historical weapons were a bit of a surprise for me in a museum about art. But if you think about the craftsmanship involved and the attention to details, these weapons were a work of art and an important part of our history.

Andy Warhol at Minneapolis Institute of Art

Period Rooms

The period rooms are really unique. They are recreations of different rooms with donated paneling and furniture. Most of the rooms allowed you to walk right in. You could see the details in the wood paneling. The floors matched the period exactly. The tables were set with plates waiting to be eaten on. The windows were stain glass with light shining through. Depending on the room, there may have been a view from the window as well. The Jane Ere room was something I pictured right out of Pride and Prejudice. Walking into the Tutor room, you could almost see Henry the Eighth sitting at the end of the table eating. The details they put into each room, took you right back to that time. There is also a rumor that they are haunted!

Pride And Prejudice at Minneapolis Institute of ArtThe period rooms were not exclusively on the third floor either. We found some located on the second floor as well, depicting life in the Suzhou region of China. American schooling, in my option, does not properly teach our children about life in this region of the world. Upon our adventure, we stumbled upon some pieces of Chinese culture that we never expected to find. One of which was cricket cages. The Minneapolis Institute of Art had a variety of different one including smaller ones that you would use to keep your cricket in while you were cleaning the other cage. Who knew that when Disney created Mulan, that the lucky cricket had historical origins. Do you think they had taking dragons too? Maybe I should look that up.

China room at Minneapolis Institute of Art

China

The Labyrinth

We loving decided that the Minneapolis Institute of Art is one giant maze. As you are looking in one room, your eye spots something intriguing in the next. It draws you in. It wasn’t long before I would look up and realize that we left someone in the other room. You could easily get lost just gazing into paintings and forget where you were.

The key is to stay together as a group. Bring a map so you can find your way out. In most cases, there are large hallways that will allow you to cross the museum. When you go, make sure to have a plan of action and know what you would like to see. It will help you ensure you don’t get too lost.

Minneapolis Institute of Art Tips for Next Time

Minneapolis Institute of Art
2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis MN 55404
Costs: Free
Hours:
Sunday: 11am – 5pm
Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday: 10am – 5pm
Wednesday: 10am – 5pm
Thursday: 10am – 9pm
Friday: 10am – 9pm
Saturday: 10am – 5pm

  • Get there when the place opens. Not only will you be able to take advantage of the Minneapolis Institute of Art free street parking, but it will also be a lot less crowded.
  • The Second Sunday of the month is Family Day. They have special programs just for kids, different adventures, local artists, musicians, dancers, and storytellers. There is a scavenger hunt for the kids to do.
  • The museum is always free, but they sometimes have special exhibits that cost extra. There are some other free museums in the Twin Cities to check out too.
  • Bring a Camera or a sketchbook. If you are using your camera, make sure not to use a flash. Also, look for those pieces that are labeled ‘Loan’, ‘Lent by’, and ‘Private collection’ or have another museum’s name on it. Those are the only ones that they do not want you to photograph.
  • Check out one of the many different free tours they offer before you go. Or bring your smartphone and take your own guided audio tour.

We had a great day at the museum. We only spent a couple hours there, but I could easily see going back to see more of it. If you have some free time, bring the kids or find a sitter and check it out. You will leave feeling inspired and enriched, all in a good way!

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