Great River Road 05 - Minnesota History Center

A museum exhibit about suburbia? We’re there!

When we were plotting our route down the Great River Road the marketing materials suggested the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.

Chance, Or?

That they were just opening an exhibit called “Suburbia” was entirely by chance.

Or was it?

We noticed the Center was free on Tuesday nights from 5-8 to so we scheduled our Dutch selves there during that time.

Suburban Story

The exhibit retells the story of the explosion of classic American suburbs in the post-war boom of the 1950’s - but localized for the Twin Cities area. You could:

  • View aerial maps of the area from decade to decade (watching farmland disappear)
  • Look at sample floorplans being built during that time (some not too far off of today’s tiny houses)
  • Look at sample merchandise from the large stores and malls of the era (did you know Target started in 1962 in the Twin Cities suburbs?)
  • Sit in a ‘56 Chevy Station Wagon (I had to duck to see out the windows)
  • Read of the racial tensions in the suburbs (typical of what we’ve learned about in the ‘original’ suburban Levittowns of New York)
Noooo! Not suburbia!

Noooo! Not suburbia!

A cool wall mounted horizontal refridgerator.

A cool wall mounted horizontal refridgerator.

1950's era TV and Radio

1950's era TV and Radio

Oh yea, your great-grandma had these.

Oh yea, your great-grandma had these.

I appreciated the quality of exhibits -lighting, multi-media, and vintage goods all presented nicely.

I appreciated the quality of exhibits -lighting, multi-media, and vintage goods all presented nicely.

A cool 1956 Chevy Station Wagon. I had the girls puzzled for 15 minutes trying to figure out where the gascap was.

A cool 1956 Chevy Station Wagon. I had the girls puzzled for 15 minutes trying to figure out where the gascap was.

Welcome to Minnesota!

Welcome to Minnesota!

Mikes New Job?

In talking with the Docent I realized I had done so much research about the era in preparation for our own book that I could have easily done his job. Put that together with retro-fitting 50’s era electronics with modern flat screens and sound systems and I’d have to consider getting off the road!

Have You Been?

Have you been to this exhibit - if so what did you think?

Total Crossings

We have crossed the Mississippi River 26 times.

Curious About the Costs?

Join our newsletter and get our budget numbers.A family of 3. Traveling fulltime in an RV. What's that cost? Join our periodic newsletter and we'll show you our 2016 budget.


No spam ever, pinky-promise.

Leave a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *