Legacy Projects

Minnesota voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November, 2008. The Legacy Amendment supports outdoor heritage, clean water, parks and trails, as well as arts, history and cultural heritage. As a Legacy fund beneficiary from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, the Science Museum of Minnesota has been able to improve our collection of artifacts representing Minnesota’s cultural heritage, create deeper and broader connections about our work with residents throughout the state, and inspire even more enthusiasm in Minnesota for science and its social and cultural impact in the past, present and future.

We’re proud of the work we’ve done so far and are excited to continue these projects with our current Legacy grant. For more information about any of these projects, please contact Sara Spiess, the museum’s Legacy Amendment contact, at sspiess@smm.org. An overview our Legacy funded projects is below. Our thanks to Minnesotans across the state who make these projects possible.

American Indian Art and Culture in the Bishop Whipple Collection

Henry Whipple was Minnesota’s first Episcopalian minister, appointed in 1859. He was an avid collector of American Indian objects, and an advocate for the Ojibwe and Dakota people living in Minnesota. Legacy Amendment money provides acquisition funds to preserve 191 American Indian objects in the Bishop Whipple collection.

The Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund has been instrumental in helping the Science Museum of Minnesota to establish and expand our American Indian exhibit and programming, beginning with the purchase of the Bishop Henry Whipple Collection in fiscal years 2010-2012. We were fortunate to acquire the Bishop Whipple Collection, consisting of local and regional American Indian artifacts from the 1850s. We Move and We Stay, the exhibition’s title, was created in fiscal year 2013 and features artifacts from both the Whipple collection and the museum’s other American Indian collections. The exhibition tells the story of generations of Dakota and Ojibwe people who have made their home in Minnesota. We have relied heavily on our American Indian advisory council in shaping this exhibit and they have lent their voices and stories to the objects in this collection, as this is their story to tell.  The exhibition opened in February 2013 and we have continued to expand and improve the exhibit and visitor programming.  In fiscal year 2016 our focus included: adding final objects and interactivity to the exhibition; developing curriculum materials associated with the exhibition; and improving operations of the Visible Lab.

School Services

The Science Museum of Minnesota continues to make it a top priority to enhance our programs and offerings to schools and teachers throughout the state. We are proud to serve and reach students in all 87 counties in Minnesota through field trips and school programs. With previous Legacy support, we undertook a museum-wide evaluation of our offerings to schools to determine the best way to serve student and educator audiences. Current Legacy support has given us the ability to invest in new programs and resources that directly address academic standards and ensure high-quality STEM educational experiences. Over 181,000 participants are directly reached each year by Science Museum programs serving school audiences. With Legacy funds, we are enhancing school programs in ways informed by conversations with schools about how we can partner with them and meet their needs most effectively and cost efficiently. 

About the Legacy Amendment

The Legacy Amendment is a constitutional amendment adopted by Minnesota voters in November 2008. It raised the state sales tax by 3/8 of 1% for a period of 25 years and dedicated the earned revenue to clean water, parks, outdoor habitat, and arts and cultural heritage.

A website was also created by the Minnesota Legislature to help citizens monitor how funds from the Legacy Amendment are being used. On the Minnesota’s Legacy: watch the progress website you can see how funds are being invested across the state.