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Mill City Museum

704 S 2nd St
Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, 55401

Mill City Museum
Photo: McGhiever License: CC BY-SA 4.0
Mill City Museum opened in 2003, built in the ruins of the Washburn "A" Mill. The museum focuses on the founding and growth of Minneapolis, especially flour milling and the other industries that used water power from Saint Anthony Falls.
The centerpiece of the museum's exhibits is the multistory Flour Tower, where visitors sit in the cab of a freight elevator and are taken to different floors of the building, each designed to look like a floor in a working flour mill. Voices of people who worked in the Washburn A Mill are heard throughout the show. Visitors exit on the 8th floor, where extant equipment is interpreted by staff, and are then led to the ninth-floor observation deck to view St. Anthony Falls.

In 1991 a fire nearly destroyed the old mill, but during the late 1990s, the city of Minneapolis, through the Minneapolis Community Development Agency, worked to stabilize the mill ruins. After the city had cleaned up the rubble and fortified the mill's charred walls, the Minnesota Historical Society announced plans to construct a milling museum and education center within the ruins. Construction on the museum began in March 2001. Designed by Tom Meyer, principal for the architectural firm Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, the museum is a new building built with the ruin walls of the 1880 Washburn A Mill. Efforts were made to retain as much of the historic fabric of the building as was possible. Many features of the Washburn A Mill were left intact, including turbine pits, railroad tracks, a train shed and two engine houses.

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