Eight don't-miss shows at Minnesota museums

  • Article by: MARY ABBE and CHRISTY DESMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 30, 2014 - 1:53 PM
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Museum staffer Nicholas Gadbois cleaned up around the display of a Majungosaurus, left, and Rapetosaurus after after their assembly in February for the Science Museum of Minnesota's exhibit Ultimate Dinosaurs.

Photo: JEFF WHEELER, Star Tribune

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‘ULTIMATE DINOSAURS’

Through Aug. 24: When the ancient supercontinent Pangaea fragmented millions of years ago, dinosaurs evolved differently in the Southern Hemisphere, as paleontologists explain in this popular Science Museum of Minnesota exhibit and its accompanying computer-animated Omnitheater film, “Dinosaurs Alive!” As every parent knows, you can never have too many dinosaurs. (9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. & Tue.-Wed., 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Thu.-Sat. $21 adults, $12 ages 4-12 & 60-plus. Extra for Omnitheater film. 120 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. 651-221-9444 or www.smm.org.)

MINNESOTA CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

Ends soon: “Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice,” created by the museum in 2009 and closing May 26, is one of the country’s first exhibits featuring touchable dinosaurs. The preschool set loves petting a T-Rex and a triceratops before climbing into a troodon’s nest to play with some seriously large eggs. Grade-schoolers can step into a field station (neatly partitioned from the baby stuff) for an exploration of fossils and paleontology-inspired art. Bonus: “Dinosaurs” boasts the fastest slide in the whole museum. The homemade exhibit “Thomas and Friends: Explore the Rails,” which emphasizes the STEM academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math, opens June 14. (9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. $9.95 all ages. 10 W. 7th St., St. Paul. 651-225-6000 or mcm.org.)

‘LIVING TRADITION OF RYIJY: FINNISH RUGS AND THEIR MAKERS’

Opening May 31: Finns began immigrating to the United States 150 years ago, an anniversary that is sparking celebrations in the Twin Cities area, home to the largest concentration of Finnish-Americans and the site of the national FinnFest celebration Aug. 7-10. Events include this colorful exhibit of ryijy rugs, the distinctive shaggy wall hangings and floor coverings that originated 300 years ago as woven bed covers. (May 31-Nov. 2. Noon-5 p.m. Thu.-Fri. & Tue.; noon-8 p.m. Wed.; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.; noon-5 p.m. Sun. $9 adults. American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Av., Minneapolis. 612-871-4907 or www.asimn.org.)

‘FINLAND: DESIGNED ENVIRONMENTS’

Opening May 10: Smart design permeates virtually every aspect of life in Finland from urban planning to schools, summer cottages, tableware, toys, even food. Organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in collaboration with Finnish architecture and design museums, this expansive show focuses on innovations of the past 15 years including a project fusing Finnish ideas with traditional African architecture in Senegal, and buildings by Minnesota’s own award-winning Finnish-American architect David Salmela. (May 10-Aug. 17. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Wed. & Fri.-Sat.; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thu.; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. Free. 2400 3rd Av. S. 1-888-642-2787 or www.artsmia.org.)

‘RADICAL PRESENCE: BLACK PERFORMANCE IN CONTEMPORARY ART’

Opening July 24: Black performance artists occupy a special niche in contemporary culture, less famous than their counterparts in athletics, music or visual art. Walker Art Center documents 50 years of their contributions in videos, photos and performance relics. More than 100 pieces by 36 artists will be featured along with a full schedule of new performances, discussions and related events. (July 24-Jan. 4. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Wed. & Fri.-Sun., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thu. $9-$14; free for 17 and younger and for all on Thursday evenings. 1750 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. 612-375-7600 or www.walkerart.org.)

MINNESOTA LANDSCAPE ARBORETUM SCULPTURE GARDEN

Open daily: Sculpture has long graced the arboretum, but late last year the program expanded dramatically with the addition of a 3-acre Sculpture Garden featuring 23 pieces donated by Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrison in gratitude for the welcome they found in Minnesota when they emigrated from, respectively, England and Germany a half-century ago. Watch for fresh plantings around their handsome gift of abstract and representational art from England, Italy, Zimbabwe, Argentina and the United States including Minnesota artists. (8 a.m.- 8 p.m./sunset daily. $12 adults. 3675 Arboretum Dr., Chaska. 952-443-1400 or www.arboretum.umn.edu.)

‘THE ART OF COLLECTING’

Through Sept. 7: As the Soviet Union was collapsing in the early 1990s, Minnesota businessman and collector Raymond Johnson and his agents quietly bought up more than 10,000 paintings from Soviet-era art stars unknown in the United States and Europe. showcases about 55 masterpieces from Johnson’s collection, which is now the largest holding of 20th-century Russian art outside Russia, are showcased by the Museum of Russian Art with an explanation of the extraordinary collection’s “structure, sources and scope.” (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. $9 adults. 5500 Stevens Av. S., Mpls. 612-821-9045 or www.tmora.org.)

‘THE FLOATING WORLD’

Through June 29: On loan from the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, Miss., this show of 50 woodblock prints at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona illustrates the luxurious arts and leisure of Edo period Japan (1600-1868), an era whose nature-loving style and attitudes influenced Van Gogh, Monet and other Impressionist artists featured in the museum’s collection. (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sun. 800 Riverview Dr., Winona. 1-507-474-6626 or www.mmam.org.)

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