Our Work

Mill City Museum

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    • the museum is located within the National Historic Landmark Washburn A Mill ruin
    • Overview

      “A creative adaptive reuse of an extant shell of a mill building, with contrasting insertion of contemporary materials, weaving the old and the new into a seamless whole. . . . It is museum as a verb.”
      —AIA National Honor Awards Jury

      Located within the ruined walls of the National Historic Landmark Washburn A Mill, the Mill City Museum focuses on the stories of flour milling, water power, railroading, food product development, grain trading, and farming, as well as the related people, labor, and immigrant stories. With multiple entries on two levels, the museum functions as a porous link between downtown Minneapolis and the river. A destination place and must-see addition to the riverfront’s menu of cultural attractions, the museum furthers the city’s vision of reconnecting to its birthplace at Saint Anthony Falls.

    • the mill in operation, circa 1940s
    • closed in the 1960s, the abandoned mill was nearly destroyed in a 1991 fire
    • after the fire, the mill was a ruined shell prior to stabilization and reuse, circa 2000
    • the museum was pivotal in area redevelopment, such as the adjacent Guthrie Theater
    • the new facade shows life-size graphics of machinery from an 1898 section drawing
    • the lobby lead visitors to the exhibits, courtyard, and riverfront beyond
    • the Ruin Courtyard is a popular venue for music, events, and weddings
    • the Flour Tower (an interactive exhibit ride in an elevator) tells the milling story
    • Specifications

      Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

      Type: Adaptive reuse

      Size: 125,000 square feet

    • Awards

      AIA National Honor Award.

      AIA Minnesota Honor Award.

      National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award.

      The Waterfront Center’s Excellence on the Waterfront Top Honors.

      Preservation Alliance of Minnesota Preservation Award.

      Preservation Alliance of Minnesota One of Minnesota’s 25 Best Preserved Historic Properties.

      Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission Heritage Preservation Award.

      Minneapolis Committee on the Environment (CUE) Award.

      American Council of Engineering Companies, Minnesota, Grand Award for Engineering Excellence.

      IESNA IIDA International Award of Merit.

      IESNA IIDA Regional Award of Excellence.

    • Project Contact

      Thomas Meyer

      • Architect / Principal
      • thomas@msrdesign.com
      • 612 359 3222
      • View Bio