10 Questions About…

The History Center by Ann Treacy
November 26, 2009, 4:34 am
Filed under: St Paul

We were kind of the rerun family this month; we also went to the History Center twice this month. We hadn’t been there is years. Aine was still in God’s pocket last time we were there. But I have to say, the History Center was fun – a ton cooler than I remembered or maybe the kids are just at better ages to enjoy it now. (In other words, maybe we’re cooler now.) I’ll just tell you about our favorite parts…

The tornado room
There’s an exhibit on weather – big shock for Minnesota. But there’s a cool reenactment of the 1965 tornado in Fridley. None of us were around for the 1965 tornado, but we’re all experienced tornado watches so we knew a little bit. But this exhibit gives you a much better sense of having been there. It’s in a space that looks like a basement. You turn on the radio and you start to hear the radio report from the day of the tornado,. You can see the sky changing color out the basement window. You here that it’s coming. The hear and see the hail and then the yellowish quiet before you hear the loud noise like a train going overhead – then you see a tree fall down out the window. It’s pretty scary – in a good way.

Fighter Plane
The next exhibit is cool in a sad way. You climb into an old fighter plane as if you’re a new recruit on the way to Normandy or someplace like that. The exhibit doesn’t have a super high tech feel but you do get the sense that you’re taking off and flying through a little vibrating, the noise and the change in the clouds out the window. They talk through the history of the time by talking to you as If you were a soldier. Talking about how so many of the soldier would have been sick on the plane – too many to all reach the sick bucket. They give some context for why you’re going over in the plane – and then you’re hit and the plane starts to spiral down. Only 3 make it out alive. As I said – it’s sad. Even poor Aine left saying – so we died then, huh? But I feel like if you’re country is in a war that maybe you ought to get what that means no matter how old you are.

It’s part of the Greatest Generation exhibit. We were with Grandma, but she isn’t from the Greater Generation but the others who were there at the same time were a little older. It was kind of interesting to be there with folks who might have remembered some of it. Grandma did remember other parts of the exhibit – in fact I remembered some of the plates and other items because my Grandma Murphy would have had all of it still when I was a kid.

The House
Finally there’s a house replica and the historians have tracked the owners of the home since it was built. It’s from the East Side, which is an areas that we don’t really know – but it’s fun to walk through the rooms and learn about the inhabitants. You see how it went from what seemed like a pretty fancy place to becoming a duplex and what that meant for the new inhabitants. You get a sense as you read the info from the families that the neighborhood was super friendly at one point but that it became less so – maybe because everywhere just became less friendly, maybe as new immigrants moved in from new areas, maybe as the house got older and older and probably fell into needing more repairs.

They have a class at the History Center where you can research the history of your own house. Maybe I’ll do that with the kids when we get back this summer.

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