If we had been thinking, we would have parked in the giant parking ramp attached to the theater next door. I'm using the royal 'we' here, because it makes me feel less responsible for my own choices. As it was, we were in a 2-hour parking area on a nice day, and we all know that Mpls cops only ticket on nice days, when they do so with a vengeance.
So we had a scant 2 hours to spend at the museum. We planned on going back to the car and moving it to a different spot in the lot (to get around the 2 hrs in a single spot technicality) and feeding the meter some more, but this is really a 2.5 hour museum. It didn't seem worth it. And it's not like the kids were going to let us guide the logs down the river anyway.
- The Flour Tower: 8 stories of pure floury fun. Going up and down the tower in the Elevator Classroom, we learned about how flour is made, and also about the various risks to life and limb taken by the workers in the name of efficiency. I think a lot of people died so that 50s housewives could make bread. Of course, if it was anything like the foccacia in the baking laboratory, it was worth it.
There was a fabulous open-air view of St. Anthony Falls from the flour tower. This is when I became most annoyed that I had left my camera in my car.
- The Baking Lab!: Here we could feel different flours by elbowing some midgets out of the way. They also had bread and carrot cake samples. I copied down a recipe, none too discretely. I loudly read the "one sample per person" sign to myself. And, you know, anybody who had maybe missed it.
- The Water Lab: This is where you go when you want to splash around and throw miniature wooden logs around. Oh...wait...no... that's actually what you're not supposed to do. I get confused sometimes. We tried to preserve a waterfall by placing wooden beams over the rocks so that they wouldn't erode away, but the beams just ended up floating downstream to the bridge that I built. Because a Mill City requires a bridge, some mills, and a waterfall.
- Ye Olde Re-enacter Who Has Nothing to Do With Mills: I actually skipped this one, but rumor has it that I didn't miss very much. I read about her on the recipe card. They had giant recipe cards that talked about how one might go about making a Mill City.
- Ruins Courtyard: The entrance that we used was through a courtyard of ruins, hence the name. Apparently the mill was destroyed in a fire long after it ceased being used for milling. The building was largely gutted, leaving only the limestone shell and twisted bits of metal. The museum was built into a little over half of the remains, and the rest were left bare for us to marvel at.
Regular Admission: $8
Overall Grade: A--
Re-visit?: Absolutely. Maybe not for a regular museum visit, but there are a lot of events and special tours held here that would be very interesting. (Haunted mill tour, anybody?)