A proven crowd-pleaser, the Walker's new exhibition features 50 artists experimenting with scale and material in their depictions of every-day forms -- a giant card table and folding chairs, a miniature elevator bank, even a 1970s kitchen, based on the artist's own childhood home. The show also includes paintings, drawings and sculpture, although the showstoppers are these three-dimensional installations. Here, the technique is lo-fi and the style, at least, is realistic. Thanks to the playful use of scale, however, the effect is often surreal. (Think "Alice in Wonderland.") Lifelike prods viewers to think about their attraction to objects that look real. After its initial run in Minneapolis, the exhibition will travel to museums in New Orleans, San Diego and Austin, Texas.
You're always reading about constitutional originalists in the newspaper. Now you, too, can consult the original document (without edits, aka amendments). The Minnesota History Center presents a version of the U.S. Constitution that was printed on Sept. 17, 1787, the very day it was approved during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. "If you were doing a movie and you wanted to recreate a first printing of the Constitution, this is what it would look like," says Jessica Kohen, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Historical Society. Also on display: an early House draft of the Bill of Rights, dated Aug. 24, 1789, which includes a surprising number of amendments -- 17 (10 were eventually approved). The small show also includes a side-by-side comparison of the Democratic and Republican versions of the Minnesota State Constitution, which was approved in 1857.
Built in 1715, the Whydah was a slave ship that was captured by pirates in 1717. It terrorized Caribbean and Atlantic waters for a few brief months -- until, that is, it met a deadly storm off the coast of Cape Cod. Nearly 300 years later, the Science Museum of Minnesota presents this popular traveling exhibition that parses pirate fact from Hollywood fiction. The show includes a life-size reproduction of a pirate ship and local actors portraying Blackbeard and other well-known pirates (including two female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read). Best of all, museum-goers can eyeball 200 pieces of the Whydah's finest treasure -- gold coins, precious jewelry, artisan weaponry and more. Bonus: you can touch much of the loot. Discovered by an explorer in 1984, the Whydah is the only authenticated pirate ship ever found in the United States. The site is still being excavated.
Running concurrently with the Minnesota Children's Museum's "Grossology" exhibit, "How People Make Things" is a quieter, but no less entertaining show developed by the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. Inspired by the popular "How People Make Things" segments from "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," the exhibit shines a spotlight on manufacturing. Specifically, children can learn about making baseball bats, hairbrushes, even Barbie dolls. But the exhibit also invites children to disassemble and reassemble a golf cart; try on such uniforms as hardhats, boots and lab coats, and even cut and shape their own wax blocks. It doesn't have the blockbuster appeal of "Grossology," says Sophie Morelli, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Children's Museum. "But we're finding that people really love 'How People Make Things.'"
COMPILED BY CHRISTY DESMITH