A Taste of Minnesota

  • Hennepin History Museum

MSP Terminal 1, Gate F10
Aug 08, 2018 - Dec 09, 2019

About the Exhibit:
Saint Anthony Falls, the only natural waterfall along on the length of the Mississippi River, powered lumber mills, flour mills, and is still the centerpiece of downtown Minneapolis.

The first flour mill built on the falls was in 1823. Innovations in milling, as well as the development of a hearty spring wheat that could thrive in Minnesota’s cold climate, catapulted the area’s industrial expansion. By 1880, 25 mills crowded the riverbanks. Pillsbury and Washburn Crosby Company (later General Mills) got their starts here.

Known as “Mill City,” the riverfront was the flour capital of the world! More than two million barrels of flour a year were ground between steel rollers, packaged in barrels, then sent on trains throughout the United States. Flour also shipped out of northern Minnesota’s Duluth–Superior port, the largest inland port in the United States. Italy’s legendary durum wheat semolina pastas were made from our flour.

Commercially available flour made it easier for bakers and cooks to prepare for their customers and families. When Washburn Crosby entered an international milling competition in 1880 it won the Gold Medal. Their Gold Medal Flour brand still fills grocery store shelves today, more than 130 years later.

Many other businesses got their starts here by supporting the flour industry. Northern Pacific Railway, package manufacturers, advertising companies, the banking industry, even retail, all thrive here. Greater Minnesota’s fertile ground is home to vegetable growers such as Green Giant and meat producers like Hormel with their legendary spam. The state is number five in total agricultural production. Though wheat is still grown here, our top crops are soybeans, sugar beets, sweet corn, green peas, oats, wild rice, and sunflowers.

Both General Mills and Pillsbury still have corporate offices in Minnesota. Their original mill buildings at St. Anthony Falls are now home to Mill City Museum and the Pillsbury A Mill artist lofts.

We’re proud of our milling heritage and hope you enjoy this exhibit.

About Hennepin History Museum:
Since 1938, Hennepin History Museum has collected artifacts, archival items, and stories of Hennepin County. Located in a historic mansion near downtown Minneapolis, we offer exhibitions, programs, research facilities, a magazine, and memberships.

Among the 25,000 artifacts in the Museum’s collections are more than 600 aprons. The vast collection was donated to the Museum by Minneapolis resident Dorothy Sauber, a professor of women’s studies at Anoka Ramsey Community College. She admired aprons as ordinary domestic objects that documented the everyday lives of American women. We’re pleased to show part of her collection here in this exhibit.

  • Collections: Exhibitions (Past)

Other Work From Arts@MSP