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Media Room - Mississippi River Gallery Fact Sheet

Mississippi River Gallery Fact sheet

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Mississippi River Gallery


Science Museum of Minnesota, level 5
120 West Kellogg Boulevard
Downtown Saint Paul


Visitors to the Science Museum of Minnesota's Mississippi River Gallery embark on a river journey through Minnesota. Destinations along the way include the Headwaters Area of Northern Minnesota, the Twin Cities Gorge, the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Facility, Prairie Island and Lake Pepin. This exhibit encourages visitors to think about how their actions impact the river, the influence the river has on their lives, and how the river ecosystem is complex and ever-changing.


The exhibit follows a winding path—like the river itself—so visitors never know what's coming around the next bend. Highlights include:

  • A visual journey through a lush 13-foot by 30-foot diorama of Lake Itasca – the perfect opportunity to search for well-camouflaged native wildlife in their habitats and to take a photo next to the actual marker that once stood next to the headwaters of the Mississippi River;
  • A wall-sized mural that recreates the enormous waterfall formed 11,700 years ago (in what is now downtown St. Paul) by huge volumes of water released from melting glaciers. Visitors can turn a crank to change the scene to 130 years ago, then turn it again to see a modern landscape;
  • A new section devoted to the scientific phenomena behind Minnesota weather! These time-tested favorites, originally located in the Experiment Gallery, include explorations of warm and cold fronts, a real-time weather data station, and an activity that examines mid-latitude cyclones that govern the Midwest's signature winter weather.
  • A large sewer pipe that leads into an exhibit with practical applications: restrooms that invite visitors to explore how water is pulled out of the river, cleaned, used, treated, and then returned to the river!
  • The Collectors' Corner, where visitors can bring in their own natural objects – like rocks, pinecones, and shells – and trade them for objects brought in by other visitors or provided by the museum. The more visitors know about the objects they're trading, the more points they earn toward future trades. For more information, visit the Collectors' Corner website at
  • A Virtual River Pilot video game that challenges visitors to navigate a tow of barges through the gauntlet of bridges in downtown St. Paul;
  • The Charles E., a climb-aboard, authentic Mississippi River towboat situated on the Gallery's outdoor terrace and connected to the gallery by a four-season glass vestibule. This retired towboat provides a spectacular viewing point for the river 75 feet below. Visitors can sit in the pilot's chair and imagine themselves at the wheel, or go below and explore displays related to the commercial importance of the river.


Science Museum visitors can cap off a visit to the Mississippi River Gallery with a visit to the Mississippi River Visitor Center, located directly across the Science Museum lobby. The Center invites visitors to explore the Mississippi River resources in their own backyard. It also provides information about the entire length of the Mississippi River. The Center features free interactive exhibits about the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA)—a 72-mile corridor of the Mighty Mississippi—as well as trip planning assistance from National Park rangers, and a wide selection of educational merchandise.


Kim Ramsden, PR Director, (651) 221-9423
Sarah Imholte, PR Coordinator, (651) 221-9412
Peg Roessler, Roessler Public Relations, (612) 200-8600