Ft. Snelling planning renovations

Fort Snelling. Photo provided

Fort Snelling. Photo provided

A $34 million legislative request would create a new visitor center, preserve historic structures, make critical site improvements, and tell essential stories of American history at Fort Snelling.

The Minnesota Historical Society is asking the state legislature to support a $34 million capital budget request to fund a revitalization and renovation of the historic fort. The project will create a new era for Fort Snelling, where many essential stories of American history will be told in preserved historic buildings.

The current visitor center, because of its subterranean location, creates serious, ongoing maintenance issues and is difficult for visitors to find and navigate. In addition, with the approaching bicentennial of the fort in 2020, this project provides the opportunity to expand the site’s story telling abilities.

“This area, a sacred place known as Bdote to the Dakota, is a meaningful place of remembrance for many people,” says MNHS Director and CEO Steve Elliott. “We need to fully share the stories of American Indian people—stories that date back thousands of years—and of veterans and their families, of enslaved and free African Americans and Buffalo soldiers, and of Japanese American soldiers who served in military intelligence in World War II. By doing so, we know that more and more people from Minnesota — and across the globe — will find a connection to this unique place.”

This project revitalization will:

•Renovate a cavalry barrack and ordnance building to create a new visitor center and orientation area.

•Demolish the current failing visitor center and landscape the vacated space.

•Improve the site’s wayfinding.

•Create a park-like plaza for reflection, commemoration and programming.

•Create new exhibits inside the visitor center and new programs experiences in concert with community partners.

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