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Minnesota Historical Society Thanks Governor Dayton for Historic Fort Snelling Support, Legislature for Funding

Dollars support Historic Fort Snelling revitalization and preservation of statewide historic sites

The Minnesota Legislature passed the capital budget bill last night, which includes $15 million for the revitalization of Historic Fort Snelling and $8 million for statewide historic sites asset preservation. The governor—who recommended $30 million for Historic Fort Snelling—has not yet signed the bill.

MNHS thanks the governor and legislators, educators, veterans, community partners, MNHS members and private citizens statewide for their continued support of the Historic Fort Snelling revitalization project.

The amount appropriated for Historic Fort Snelling this year is half of the $30 million needed from the state for the full revitalization. The next step is to revise the schedule for this complex project after consulting with project managers, architects, contractors and community partners.

“Historic Fort Snelling is our state’s first National Historic Landmark, and its revitalization is crucial in sharing the full military history and historical significance of the area, and the stories of the many peoples throughout time who have a connection with this important place,” said D. Stephen Elliott, director and CEO of MNHS. “As I retire from the Minnesota Historical Society, I join the many Minnesotans who are gratified that the revitalization is moving forward to enable today’s schoolchildren and future generations to learn from our past in the place where so much of our history happened.”

“We are already developing new interpretive programs at Historic Fort Snelling, some of which visitors can experience this summer,” said Melanie Adams, director of guest experience and educational services. “With the state’s investment, we can focus on rehabilitating the buildings, which will allow us to expand this work even further, welcome more visitors and engage with more students.”

The goal is to complete the $46.5 million project in its entirety, which calls for additional state funding. The $46.5 million includes $4.5 million for predesign and design appropriated by the legislature in 2015 and 2017, a commitment by MNHS to raise $12 million in private funding, and the $15 million allocated this session. MNHS will continue to advocate for the remaining $15 million in state funding.

Once fully funded, the revitalization plan will include the rehabilitation of a historic cavalry barracks and an ordnance building to create a new visitor center and orientation area; the removal of the current visitor center; landscaping and wayfinding; and new exhibits and programs developed in partnership with community partners.

This summer, visitors can explore Historic Fort Snelling starting with the popular Memorial Day Weekend program, May 26-28, and then daily, Tuesday through Sunday, starting June 9. Find out more at

The $8 million asset preservation appropriation supports preservation and rehabilitation at MNHS historic sites and museums statewide, as well as necessary fire and security upgrades. MNHS cares for 154 buildings statewide, of which nearly half are more than a century old.

About Minnesota Historical Society

The Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.


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