Yesterday morning, after I served my guests breakfast and cleaned up afterwards, Dick and I grabbed a few overnight essentials and headed for Minneapolis/St. Paul to attend a 7:30 p.m. performance of "Church Basement Ladies A Second Helping" last evening at the Plymouth Playhouse. It was equally as entertaining as the original "Church Basement Ladies" we attended a year ago. The setting is 1969... three years later. It closes Nov. 1, 2009, so don't delay making plans to see it.
This morning, we headed to the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul near the Minnesota State Capitol to see "Minnesota's Greatest Generation" which is an exhibit that opened May 23, 2009 featuring stories of people during the Depression, World War II, and the post-war boom. Although all of the exhibits were so creatively, artistically, and professionally arranged and bursting with interesting information, I was especially drawn to ones that evoked childhood memories such as this store selling black and white TVs and offering "tubes tested free".
Wouldn't you love to recreate this colorful living room in your own house? The exhibit's floor is built to spin in a lazy susan turntable fashion to show the 1950s era kitchen on the other side of the wall, but it apparently wasn't working so I was only able to peek behind to see the the room that is just as sweet as the living room.
Besides "Minnesota's Greatest Generation", there are nine other exhibits at the Minnesota History Center that are equally as interesting so plan to spend the day there. The house in the photo below is part of the "Open House: If These Walls Could Talk" Exhibit. It follows 5o different families that lived in a St. Paul house over the span of 118 years. It seems like a huge number of families to have lived there but, after the original family moved across the street, they transformed the house into three rental apartments so three families resided there at the same time. As you walk through the home, the decor and furnishings change to reflect the passing decades and recordings of actual residents tell the story of the families who lived there. It was easy to imagine the birthday parties, the family dinners, the everyday bustle of activity that made it home for so many people.
This "basement", where we sat through a simulation of one of two F4 tornadoes that hit Fridley, Minnesota on May 6, 1965 just over an hour apart, is one part of the "Weather Permitting" Exhibit. It was a devastating storm that destroyed or damaged one out of every four homes in this Minneapolis suburb. The sounds of the howling roaring wind, breaking glass, and debris flying about outside were so realistic that it took every ounce of self-control to not claw at Dick sitting beside me and to supress a blood-curdling scream. The color of the "sky" outside the basement window turned a green color typical of severe storms and a tornado siren wailed. The walls shook and the radio sitting on the workbench came on with an announcer urging residents to take immediate cover. The oldtime television turned on after the storm had passed with actual footage of the tornado and residents retelling stories of the harrowing experience. It was the closest to experiencing the real thing as I care to ever relive.
Adult admission is only $10.00 for access to all of the 10 exhibits. If you have a "Blue Sky Guide" Community Coupons Book, which offers grocery, dining, entertainment, health and style, travel and recreation, yard and garden, and home coupons for destinations in the Twin Cities Area, there is a coupon for 2 for 1 admission to the Minnesota History Center. (I received a Blue Sky Guide free at the Living Green Expo earlier this month since they are given out to the first 100 or so in line for the event. They normally sell for $20.00.) Pack a lunch, as there are tables to eat outside. The entire experience was such a fun way to spend an inexpensive day!