Quirky Attraction: The Mill City Museum in Minneapolis

giant-bisquick-boxes flour museum

The Mill City Museum
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota (704 South 2nd St.)
When to visit: 10 am – 5 pm (Tues-Sat) or noon – 5 pm (Sun)
Cost: $12 for adults, $10 for students & seniors, $8 for kids
Time needed: 1 hour
Website: www.millcitymuseum.org

Can I interest you in a museum dedicated to all-purpose flour? Okay, the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis is more interesting than that. But it really is pretty much about flour. And Bisquick. And the history of flour milling, and the history of Minneapolis itself.

Sights Inside the Flour Mill Museum

The museum lives in the ruins of the Washburn “A” mill, which was once the world’s largest flour mill and sat along the banks of the Mississippi River. Exhibits explain the entire process of converting wheat into flour and bread, including how roller mills are used to grind wheat kernels into fine bits of flour.

mill-city-pillsbury-display

The “A” Mill was built in 1874 but destroyed in a flour dust explosion that killed 18 people. The explosion led to a fire that devastated the city’s riverfront business area. In 1880, the mill was rebuilt using the most advanced technology, which allowed it to increase its output. It produced enough flour in one day to produce 12 million loaves of bread.

The mill was shut down in 1965 after it became obsolete due to further technological changes. In 1991, another fire destroyed most of the remaining building.

Part of the draw of the Mill City Museum is just seeing the ruins. Guests are slowly carried up to the 9th floor via elevator, watching a historic presentation about the Flour Tower along the way. From the observation deck, you can see the view of the Mississippi and the nearby riverfront park.

mill city museum view

From the ruin courtyard below, look up at the walls and busted-out windows that remain.

mill-city-museum-courtyard

mill-city-minneapolis-museums-broken-window

I don’t know why, but there’s a definite appeal in being among the ruins of a building. Some people even choose to shoot wedding photos there!

mill-city-museum-wedding

Another cool part of this flour museum in Minneapolis is the rooftop observation deck. You can go up there and get great views of the city when weather permits!

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Mill City Museum Hours, Ticket Prices, Parking

Currently, the Mill City Museum is closed on Mondays. It’s open noon to 5 pm on Sundays. The rest of the week, it’s open 10 am to 5 pm. Adult tickets cost $12 each, while seniors, veterans, active military and college students pay $10. Kids from 5 to 17 pay $8, and those under age 5 are free.

The museum does not have a parking lot. This part of the city is pretty dense. Be prepared to use one of the nearby pay lots or street parking meters. If you really want free parking, try the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, and walk across the Stone Arch Bridge.

roller-mill-city-museum-hours-tickets

The museum also offers a video on the history of the city, titled “Minneapolis in 19 minutes flat.” I had to skip the movie because I didn’t have enough time, and quite honestly, 19 minutes is a long time to sit and watch a historic film. I’d suggest editing that to around 12 minutes.

You can also stop by the baking lab to see live baking demonstrations. You may even get a fresh cookie sample.

Check out other quirky and cool Minneapolis attractions, such as the Sculpture Garden, the Skyway, the St. Paul Indian burial mounds, and the complete list of Minneapolis beaches.

Would you visit a flour museum? Have you ever stopped inside this fascinating Minneapolis museum?

About Quirky Travel Guy

Scott Shetler is a Seattle-based freelance writer & fan of indie rock, road trips, ice cream, squirrels on power lines, runaway shopping carts, and six-way intersections. Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, which may earn me a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.

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11 Comments

  1. I’ve been noticing a trend for slightly edgy wedding photographs with smashed up buildings / graffiti and such things in the backdrop…. I guess people are just trying something new.

    The museum looks interesting and a little quirky!

    1. Me too, I like that trend. Although urban decay and weddings wouldn’t seem to go together, the combination does result in some interesting art and photos.

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