If you live in Minnesota and you grew up in Minnesota you should really get yourself over to the MN History Center to see the Suburbia exhibit. It is a delightful step back into the early days of suburban life in Minnesota. I had a chance to go take a stroll through with Jen last weekend (we dubbed the weekend #inbetweenbirthdayweekend since it was smack in between our birthdays) and I really enjoyed it!
The first thing you are greeted with is a cow; we decided her name is Bessie because we’re original like that. Then you see a structure that shows how houses were built in the 50’s and 60’s, the materials used and what went into them. After that you pass through several replicas of what the inside of a typical suburban house would look like back then. The living room area was too adorable, I found a couch I would love to have and a television set that I swear my grandparents had when I was a little girl.
We made our way through the various rooms, including an old fashioned kitchen. The kitchen table had cute placemats with old want ads on them – I laughed at one asking for a “Tall Girl” to do secretarial work – tall being 5’3”, I just miss that cutoff!
After you make it through the home, there’s a neat piece discussing the “Dales”. If you’re not native to Minnesota, you probably haven’t heard of these. All of our malls have “Dale” in the title – well most of them do. We had the country’s first indoor shopping center, built because well, we have winter. Southdale Mall in Edina was the first. We had several other malls built in the years that followed, all anchored by a store called Dayton’s (after the family who owned the store). One thing that we laughed at in the exhibit is a “Where Did I Park My Car” Memory game. Even I can remember all of the Dales used to have these signs in the parking lot to help you find your car, they had animals on them. This game had all of those pictures in the style of “Memory.” Let me tell you, it’s harder than it looks.
At the end are a few things about how suburban life has changed over the years and what it’s like now. I will fully admit to pretty much being a typical Suburbanite! I like being close enough to the city to see it and go visit, but I like being away from the hustle and bustle a bit too – but I couldn’t go live out in the country either! So Suburbia is pretty much where I belong and I’m not going to make apologies about it!
Suburbia is running at the Minnesota History Center through March. Tuesdays admission is free, otherwise the cost of admission is $12.00.