Mississippi River Gallery Fact sheet
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Mississippi River Gallery
Science Museum of Minnesota, level 5
120 West Kellogg Boulevard
Downtown St. 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 the landscape as of 1999;
- 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!
- A giant-sized floor puzzle that allows visitors to map out the Mighty Mississippi from its headwaters in Lake Itasca to the Iowa border;
- A stream table that reveals how the Mississippi River changes its channel over time and how the river has been filling in Lake Pepin over the past 10,000 years;
- A super-sized scale that invites visitors to compare their weight to that of some of the Mississippi River's most famous giants, like sturgeon and paddlefish;
- 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 Digital River Basin activity, which gives visitors the chance to investigate the Mississippi from downtown Minneapolis to South St. Paul by watching a computer translate data into images as they "move" across the river; and
- 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.
ON A RELATED NOTE
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/Chris Bauer, Public Relations Co-Directors, (651) 221-9423
Sarah Imholte, PR Coordinator, (651) 221-9412
Peg Roessler, Roessler Public Relations, (612) 200-8600