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 of each of our Legacy funded projects is below and more details can be found by clicking on each project’s associated link. 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.

In Honor of the People
The In Honor of the People website is a critical first step toward a virtual reunification of Whipple objects held in multiple institutions. Our first phase, a partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society and funded through the Legacy Amendment, brings together nearly 500 objects from the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Minnesota Historical Society. Learn more.

School Services

Over 160,000 students are directly reached each year by Science Museum programs in their own schools or in the museum itself. With Legacy money, we have begun the process of enhancing these school outreach programs in ways informed by conversations with schools about how we can partner with them and meet their needs most effectively and cost efficiently. We look forward to continuing this effort by developing plans to increase science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning opportunities for students throughout Minnesota.

Omnitheater Digital Upgrade

The William L. McKnight-3M Omnitheater’s unique brand of immersive education has been one of the leading attractions at the Science Museum since the original Omnitheater opened in 1978. The William L. McKnight-3M Omnitheater currently uses the largest film format ever manufactured for both recording and projecting images. However, the future of the system is short-term as film is being replaced with digital technology. Our goal for this project is to implement the technical upgrades in the Omnitheater necessary to show digital productions. The legacy funding for this project concluded June 30, 2015.

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.