Historic Fort Snelling at Bdote needs to expand and improve its visitor center to be able to tell more of the stories of the people who have lived, worked and passed through the area over the past 10,000 years.
The Minnesota Historical Society is committed to working in partnership with Dakota people to honor the history of this place as Dakota homeland. The Minnesota Historical Society is focusing on site interpretation that is more inclusive of the important stories of Native Americans, enslaved and free African Americans, Japanese American soldiers who served in military intelligence in World War II, and of veterans and their families. As they are collaborating with communities and creating experiences that connect the past with the present, the existing underground visitor center can no longer accommodate this growing program.
Plans are underway to restore a vacant and historic barrack into a new Visitor Center, one that offers great opportunity to create the collaboration, interpretation and installations that will enrich visitors’ experiences and awareness of the history around Fort Snelling at Bdote.
We urge the Minnesota State Legislature to approve the $30 million bond request before it this year to fund the restoration of the historic barrack building into a new Historic Fort Snelling Visitor Center.
In 2017, the Minnesota State Legislature approved $4 million to cover design work. The Minnesota Historical Society has committed to raise $12 million in private funds in hopes to finish this restoration project before Fort Snelling’s Bicentennial in 2020.
There are stories important to the history of Minnesota and our nation that can only be told at Fort Snelling. The Minnesota Historical Society has an extraordinary plan to make sure those stories are told in an impactful way.