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Mill City Museum in Minneapolis nominated as one of the country's best

Mill City Museum in Minneapolis nominated as one of the country's best
Mill City Museum in Minneapolis nominated as one of the country's best 02:02

MINNEAPOLIS – A large piece of Minnesota history has been nominated for a national honor.

USA Today has nominated the Mill City Museum as one of the best history museum's in the country.

"We're moving up the leaderboard. I think we're currently number five on the list and we hope that people vote for us and keep moving up the leaderboard," said David Stevens, site manager of the Mill City Museum. "We're just thrilled for this opportunity to sort of share this sort of hidden gem of Mill City Museum with the rest of the country."

The museum itself is a piece of history, located in the ruins of the Washburn A Mill on the banks of the Mississippi next to St. Anthony Falls.

"We're set in the National Historical Landmark Washburn A Mill complex, which was the largest flour mill in the world when it was built in 1880, and the birthplace of General Mills," Stevens said.

From 1880 to 1930, Minneapolis was the flour milling capital of the world. But that story - and the building that currently houses it - was almost lost.

"The mill shut down in 1965 and it sat mostly empty for the years after that. In the winter of 1991, the mill was destroyed - or nearly destroyed - by a massive fire," Stevens said. "Could have been the end of the building, but civic leaders and the head of the historical society decided to save what was left of the mill, preserve it as a ruin, then create a new museum within the shell of the old."

Today, visitors of all ages can learn about the history of flour, food production and Minneapolis.  


"You can get your hands wet in the water lab, an interactive exhibit where you can explore water power. You can taste a baking sample in the baking lab and learn about the flour milling revolution that changed the way people ate all over the world and made Minneapolis the flour milling capital of the world for 50 years," Stevens said.

The museum is competing with 19 others from across the country for the title of Best History Museum. While he admits to being biased, Stevens says he's confident the Mill City Museum could take home the crown.

"It's an honor to be just nominated on this list, and we hope people support us so we can move up the leaderboard. When you look at the other nominees, these are amazing places, some of my favorite museums I've ever visited. But I think we're worthy of consideration just because of the uniqueness of the museum here and our particular story," Stevens said. "The food revolution that happened here, the flour milling revolution really changed the way people ate all over the world. It really made white flour available to the masses for the first time and that had implications for how we eat, for nutrition, for good and for bad."

To vote in the USA Today contest, click here.

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