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Bakken Museum announces plans for major renovation

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An artist's rendering of the renovated Bakken Museum
An artist's rendering of the renovated Bakken Museum in Minneapolis, looking toward the museum from Bde Maka Ska. The museum's lower-level wing is set to undergo a major renovation in 2020.
Image courtesy of Bakken Museum

The Bakken Museum in Minneapolis will undergo a major renovation next year.

The renovation involves the entrance, lobby, classrooms and gallery space in the 21-year-old lower-level wing of the museum near Bde Maka Ska. 

"We are going to maximize our square footage in that wing," said Laura Whittet, associate director of communications for the museum. "We're going to really modernize the building, and that's going to give us the ability to create larger classrooms, create a larger maker space, and really bring in some new entertaining and engaging exhibits."

Whittet said they will break ground on the project in January, with plans to reopen the wing next summer, and bring in new exhibits next fall. The West Winds Mansion portion of the museum will remain open throughout the renovation.

Next year’s renovations won’t expand the museum’s footprint; museum officials said it's the first phase of a long-term capital project. A second phase would add additional space to the museum; that's pending additional financial support.

The building renovations will be accompanied by "new education and outreach programs ... exploring the intersection of science and the humanities," museum officials said in a news release.

The Bakken Museum celebrates innovation and inspiration in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math. It's named after Earl Bakken, co-founder of Medtronic, whose interest in medicine and electricity inspired the museum's founding. It was officially incorporated in 1975, and acquired its present site in 1976.