About the Museum

We’re here to turn on the science

Through education, in-person experiences, online learning, and everything in between, the Science Museum of Minnesota is dedicated to collaborating with our community to create a world where everyone has the power to use science to make lives better.

With the help of our visitors, volunteers, staff, and community partners, we’re using science to figure out how our world works. Among our interactive exhibits, collection with over two million objects, and continuous scientific research, we believe there’s always something new to discover.


We exist to...

Turn on the science: Inspire learning. Inform policy. Improve lives.


We envision...

A world where everyone has the power to use science to make lives better.


We value...

Collaboration. We get the job done together.

Equity. We reject oppressive norms and practice authentic inclusion to achieve collective liberation.

Learning. We are curious and take risks to grow.

Museum Facts

  • The museum’s current location on the banks of the Mississippi River in Saint Paul offers 370,000 square feet of space. It includes a 10,000 square-foot temporary exhibit gallery, multiple permanent galleries, zero-emissions Science House, and an Imax Convertible Dome Omnitheater.

  • We impact over a million people from around the world every year through trips to our museum, school visits, online experiences, traveling exhibitions, and Omnitheater movies.

  • The museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Historical Milestones

1907: The Science Museum of Minnesota was founded as the St. Paul Institute of Science and Letters. It offered free French classes, as well as courses in breadmaking, nursing, food, and health. Though its name changed several times, it has been known as the Science Museum of Minnesota since 1970.

1927: The St. Paul Institute moved into the Merriam Mansion, which would be its home until 1964. 

1959: The museum became one of only four museums in the world to have a complete Triceratops skeleton — one discovered in Montana and brought to Minnesota during curator Bruce Erickson’s first year on the job.   

1964: The Science Museum moved to the Arts & Science Center on the corner of 10th and Exchange Streets in downtown St. Paul.  

1971: The museum’s live theater program was established, the first permanent acting company in a United States museum. 

1978: The William L. McKnight-3M Omnitheater opened as only the second IMAX domed theater in the world. The Science Museum went on to become one of the largest museum producers of movies for the giant screen.

1983: The museum’s touring exhibits business began. Since then, 26 original exhibits have traveled to more than 400 museums in 142 cities, reaching more than 48 million visitors.

1990s: School outreach programs took off, reaching more than 100,000 K–12 teachers and students each year. The museum became the leading provider of professional development for science teachers in Minnesota. 

1996: Omnifest began. This giant screen movie festival has become one of the museum’s most beloved annual traditions.

1999: The museum opened the doors of a new facility on the Mississippi riverfront, built with community support to be a museum for the next millennium. 

2003: Work was completed on Science House, the museum’s net-zero energy building (it generates as much energy as it uses on a yearly basis). It was the first of many innovations that is helping the museum reach its 2030 carbon neutrality goal.

2007: The museum introduced RACE: Are We So Different? After the award-winning exhibit’s run in St. Paul, it went on a tour of more than 50 museums and community organizations around the nation, where it reached more than four million people.

2011: Indigenously cultivated tobacco seeds from the museum’s collection flew on board shuttle Atlantis to test the extent to which germination will occur in microgravity.

2017: A vintage Science Museum Thunder Lizard hoodie appeared in an episode of  Netflix’s Stranger Things. In response to viewer demand, the museum re-issued the hoodie and sold nearly 20,000 of them to shoppers around the world. The hoodie remains one of the Explore Store’s top sellers. 

2022: The Science Museum installed a Digistar 7 projection system, provided by Evans & Sutherland, in the Omnitheater, which allows access to an astronomy atlas and a STEM library, as well as the opportunity to create and present original content. The museum’s own Stellar Tours live digital telescope show premiered soon after.