Above: Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. Photo: REBECCA ZENEFSKI

The Minnesota History Center in St. Paul welcomes back its first visitors today after being closed for months due to the pandemic.

The center's special exhibitions "First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota's Mainroom" and "Prince: Before the Rain," have been extended to Jan. 3, 2021. All exhibits will reopen except for "Then Now Wow," which is closed because of a COVID-friendly bathroom remodeling project. The café is open for to-go food only, and the center's new hours are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., and 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday. Reserve tickets in advance at mnhs.org/historycenter.

The trading post at the Mille Lacs Indian Museum in Onamia, about 90 minutes north of the Twin Cities, will also reopen today.

The Minnesota Historical Society had a staff of nearly 600 full- and part-time employees, but in June the pandemic forced layoffs of 176 employees and furloughs without pay for another 139 positions. A spokesperson for the museum said that furloughed employees returned for the reopening.

The Minnesota Historical Society is still developing plans for the reopening of the Mill City Museum, Charles Lindbergh House and Museum, Minnehaha Depot, Gale Family Library, and other historical sites. They will likely remain closed through 2020. MNHS also plans to offer self-guided tours at the State Capitol when the state reopens the building.

Certain historical sites have already reopened, including the Lower Sioux Agency in Morton, Split Rock Lighthouse in Two Harbors, and Jeffers Petroglyphs in Comfrey.