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MN History Center

345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102

Museum Hours

Tue 10 am-8 pm
Wed-Sat 10 am-5 pm
Sun Noon-5 pm 
Closed Monday (Open Monday holidays year round, including Memorial Day)
Museum Holiday Hours

Visiting in May or early June on a weekday? Consider planning your visit for after 2 p.m. if you prefer a quieter experience. We're thrilled to have nearly 1,000 excited school children visiting between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on most days, but we know it can be a little too noisy for some folks!

Library Hours

Tue 9 am-8 pm
Wed-Sat 9 am-4 pm
Closed Sunday and Monday
Library Holiday Hours


  • $11 adults
  • $9 seniors and college students w/ID
  • $9 active military w/ID
  • $6 children ages 6-17
  • Free Tuesdays 5-8 pm
  • Free for children age 5 and under and MNHS members
  • Free to visit the library



2015 May 28


U.S.-Dakota War Programs


No events are currently scheduled.


Prior Events

Mni Sota Makoce/Minnesota: The U.S.-Dakota War and the Making of Minnesota with Mary Wingerd

Wed., 7/18, 7 p.m. 

As we approach the sesquecentennial of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, explore how it forever transformed the land the Dakota call Mni Sota Makoce into the State of Minnesota at this exclusive lecture with eminent historian Mary Lethert Wingerd.


We Are Still Here: Minnesota is a Dakota Place

Wed., 7/25, 7 p.m. 

Chaska, Mankato, Wabasha, Shakopee, Winona.  Minnesota is a Dakota place.  The language of the Dakota people marks this land, the Dakota homeland of Mni Sota Makoce, as it has for generations. Join Dakota artist, poet and scholar Gwen Westerman as she shares her perspective on the modern Dakota people and their special place in Minnesota on the eve of the sesquecentennial of the tragic and transformative U.S.-Dakota War.



Sat., 9/22
2 p.m.
FREE and open to the public.
Coffee reception to follow the program.

In the spring of 2005, Jim Miller, a Native spiritual leader and Vietnam veteran, found himself in a dream riding on horseback across the great plains of South Dakota. Just before he awoke, he arrived at a riverbank in Minnesota and saw 38 of his Dakota ancestors hanged.
Four years later, embracing the message of the dream, Jim and a group of riders retraced the 330-mile route of his dream on horseback from Lower Brule, South Dakota to Mankato, Minnesota to arrive at the hanging site on the anniversary of the execution. The documentary DAKOTA 38 is the story of their journey- the blizzards they endure, the Native and Non-Native communities that house and feed them along the way, and the dark history they are beginning to wipe away.
Jim Miller and his son Isaac will appear to lead a community dialogue and will attend the reception. 

Dakota Family Day

Sat., Sept. 29, 12-4 p.m.
Speakers and artists from the Dakota community will share the traditions of their rich and vibrant history. The free event features Dakota artwork, flute music, drum and dance expo, cooking demo, games and a make-it take-it craft based on a Dakota buffalo hide decoration. 

Performances by Bobby Wilson and Dallas Goldtooth
Flute music and traditional games with Brian and Will Akipa
Living Healthy cooking demonstration with Jewell Arcoren
American Indian Magnet school drum and dance expo
Use Dakota symbols to decorate and tell a story on a small-scale fabric replica of a buffalo hide.  Hands on project is led by Dakota artist, Fern Cloud
Dakota hands-on learning trunk curated by Elaine Beaudreau Patton on loan from the St. Paul Public Schools’ Multicultural Resource Center
Dakota stories and games teach how the sky and earth are interconnected led by Jim Rock and Gabe Siert
Learn Dakota words through games and songs with teachers from Dakota Wicohan, an organization located in Morton, Minnesota that is dedicated to preserving Dakota as a living language.  

The Land of the Dakota

Tues., Oct. 2, 7 p.m.
FREE and open to the public. 
Coffee reception to follow program
“Minnesota” is derived from the Dakota phrase Mni Sota Makoce, Land Where the Waters Reflect the Clouds - and the people’s roots here remain strong. Examine the Dakota people’s origins and their undisputed connection to this place, and explore in-depth “reading between the lines”of historical documents such as the devastating treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Washington, documents which reveal misunderstandings and outright deceptions that helped lead to the US-Dakota War of 1862 and Dakota exile. With Gwen Westerman (Sisseton Dakota) and Bruce White, co-authors of Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota (MHS Press, Sept. 2012). Discussion, book signing and dessert reception will follow the program.

History Lounge: MN Newcomers/MN First Peoples

Tues., 10/23, 7 p.m.
In the 1840s, Germans and Norwegians began arriving in the lands of the Dakota and Ojibwe people.  The newcomers established farms and towns on the same places these American Indian nations had called home for generations, and two different ways of life took root, side-by-side, for better and worse.  How did these disparate peoples live together, while struggling to share a land all now called home?  Join professors Kathleen Conzen and Betty Bergland for a discussion of the relationships—good and bad, but always complicated—between German immigrants, Norwegian immigrants and the Ojibwe and Dakota peoples of Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. This talk is part of the History Center's History Lounge series. 

The Dakota Prisoner of War Letters/Dakota Kaskapi Okicize Wowapi

Sat., 11/17, 2 p.m.
FREE and open to the public.
Coffee reception to follow the program.

In April 1863, some 270 Dakota men were imprisoned following the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Separated from their wives, children, and elder relatives, and desperate to connect with their families, many of these prisoners of war learned to write. Their letters, mostly addressed to two Minnesota missionaries, asked for information, for assistance, and for help sending and receiving news from loved ones. Now, fifty of those letters have been translated. Join Dakota elders Clifford Canku and Michael Simon, the letters’ translators, as they help give voice to the experiences of Dakota men who had been silenced for over a century and a half. The book will be published by MHS Press in 2013. View a transcribed letter.


"38: The Dakota-U.S. War" Performance

Sat., 1/12, 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available from the History Theatre online or by phone at 651-292-4323. Ticketholders receive free admission to the History Center's exhibits (including the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 exhibit) on this day.

The Minnesota History Center pairs up with the History Theater to present this special performance. In 1862, Mankato, Minn., was the sight of the largest mass execution in American history. What followed was an exile of the Dakota people from their ancestral tribal lands; an exile that is still legislatively in force today. This new play explores the events leading up to the U.S.-Dakota War – invasions of indigenous sacred lands, cultural genocide, and starvation – through the court trials of the 38 Dakota warriors who were prosecuted as war criminals and executed by the U. S. government. Drawing on articles, letters, and diaries, this provocative new play personifies the famous, infamous, and nameless people who were caught up in this tragic moment in our country’s history. It is a story that has been waiting one hundred fifty years to be told. Performance takes place at the Minnesota History Center. 

History Forum: War Within War: Lincoln and the U.S.-Dakota War Of 1862

Sat., 1/19/13, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. $14 ($10 MHS members).
In early 1862 a federal investigator cautioned President Lincoln that mass corruption within Minnesota’s system of Indian Agencies would lead to disaster if left unchecked. The president, consumed by the battle to preserve the Union, ignored the warning. When the U.S.-Dakota War broke out eight months later, Lincoln told Minnesota’s governor Alexander Ramsey, “Attend to the Indians… Necessity has no law.” The war and its aftermath—U.S. victory, Dakota internment, the largest mass hanging in American history, and the forced removal of the Dakota from their homelands—solidified Minnesota’s place in the Union, even as it set the stage for the Indian Wars to come, and tragically altered the lives of thousands of Dakota people for generations to come. With David Nichols, the former academic dean at Southwestern College in Winfield. This is part of the History Foum Lecture Series.