Friday, May 18, 2007

Mill City Museum

During a recent trip to Scandanavia Minneapolis Mrs. Doc Larry and I visited the Mill City Museum, which "chronicles the flour milling industry that dominated world flour production for roughly a half-century and fueled the growth of Minneapolis...."

Built within the ruins of a National Historic Landmark, the Washburn A Mill, the museum will provide a multi-sensory, interactive journey. The story of flour milling - and its impact on Minneapolis, the nation and the world - comes to life in this one-of-a-kind museum.

The old mill has exploded once, burned twice and now been transformed into a museum within the ruins.

Mill City Museum is built into the historic ruins of the Washburn A Mill, which opened in 1874 and at peak production ground enough flour every day to make 12 million loaves of bread. In 1878, the mill exploded, claiming 18 lives and destroying one-third of Minneapolis’ milling capacity. It caught fire in 1928 and was nearly destroyed again by fire in 1991.

The best exhibit is an interactive one called Flour Tower, an eight-story multi-media experience built into a former grain storage tower.
A media show in an eight-story elevator ride features the stories of employees who worked in the mill from the 1940s through the mid-1960s when it closed; historic film and photographs; and the dramatic use of lighting, sound and special effects. The ride provides a memorable trip back in time - and an appreciation for the powerful, noisy process of transforming grain into flour.

At the end, guests head to the Rooftop Observation Deck for sweeping views of the Mississippi River. . .

St. Anthony Falls, the Stone Arch Bridge, and the Museum’s stunning new neighbor. . .

the Guthrie Theater.

Upon returning to the main floor, guests are treated to delightful aromas and samples of goods freshly baked every day in the Baking Lab. Mmmmmmm...warm bread.

One other treat, an exhibit of vintage radio and television ads for products like Malt-O-Meal Hot Wheat Cereal ("Good stuff, Maynard"), Pillsbury ("Nothin' says lovin' like something from the oven"), and Betty Crocker ("bake someone happy").