Stopping over in Rochester, Minnesota, or getting away for a bit? Check out these best museums in Rochester to unlock your sense of wonder and culture.
Want to Travel the World for Less?
- Scott’s Cheap Flights: Get cheap flights emailed directly to your inbox for free. Try Now for Free
- GetYourGuide: See more of every city by taking local tours and experiences. Find a Cheap Tour
- SkyScanner: Home to the easiest and most efficient way to book anything, including flights, cars, hotels and more. Search Now
- World Nomads: Need to protect yourself and your trip? Use World Nomads for affordable travel insurance. Protect your trip
Table of Contents
List of the best museums in Rochester
Charles E. Gagnon Museum & Sculpture Garden
Address: 2500 4th St SW, Rochester, MN 55902, United States
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
The Charles E. Gagnon Museum & Sculpture Garden, located on 4th St SW in Rochester, Minnesota, is a beautiful place to visit.
A Minnesotan artist named Charles E. Gagnon created a bronze sculpture that can now be seen worldwide. Visitors can see his studio, personal library, and original works at the Charles E. Gagnon Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Any visitor, both local and foreign, is welcome to schedule a tour and learn about the past of this incredible artist’s sculpture.
In an international community scene, the Charles E. Gagnon Museum and Sculpture Garden has been a place of elegance, harmony, and exploration since its creation. Visitors are welcomed as extended family by the museum team, which includes interns and volunteers. It aims to keep Gagnon’s art alive by sharing it with others worldwide and encouraging the spread of world peace. A fantastic location that raises people’s spirits.
It is a beautiful place to experience Gagnon’s symbolic, or “realistic,” bronze sculptures, which uplift the human spirit.
The Charles E. Gagnon Museum and Sculpture Garden is Rochester’s crown jewel, where visitors can learn about a famous Minnesota sculptor’s realistic bronze sculpture.
When sculptor Charles E. Gagnon died in 2012, the home and studios of Charles were turned into a museum to celebrate the sculptor’s fifty-year artistic legacy.
History Center of Olmsted County
Address: 1195 W Circle Dr, Rochester, MN 55902, United States
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
In Rochester, Minnesota, the History Center of Olmsted County is a fantastic museum to visit. It was established in 1926 as a local history museum on a 54-acre site with a gallery, archives, and library.
Burton Eaton and several other founding members founded the Olmsted County Historical Society in 1926 to document and preserve the county’s history.
In 1940, the museum was established in the basement of the Rochester Public Library. The Olmsted County Historical Society renamed itself the History Center of Olmsted County in 2006. (HCOC). The museum has an excellent staff that assists local and foreign visitors by offering a fun tour and sharing information about the museum’s history and context.
Every year, the History Center of Olmsted County hosts workshops, educational and outreach activities, museum displays, special events, and more with the help of its dedicated volunteers.
Two historic buildings and two historic farmsteads are still owned and operated by the History Center. The History Center also provides Mayowood Mansion tours on a seasonal basis.
The History Center of Olmsted County has Native-American and Scandinavian heritage characteristics and backgrounds to present in any guest group of 45 or more that they can accommodate while visiting the museum.
Rochester Art Center
Address: 30 Civic Center Dr SE, Rochester, MN 55904, United States
Rating: 4.2 out of 5
The Rochester Art Center is a beautiful contemporary arts center in Rochester, Minnesota, United States.
It is located on Civic Center Dr SE. Exhibitions of local, national, and foreign art, as well as tours, classes, and workshops, are available at the Center.
The Rochester Art Center was known that established in 1946 as a dream of Newton Holland, the first president of the board of directors.
Its humble beginnings were in the unused upstairs rooms of the Rochester public library until moving to a small abandoned church on the corner by the West Center Street and through the Third Avenue Northwest in 1948.
Rochester Art Center, which opened its doors seventy years ago, continues to provide patrons with opportunities to learn about, perform, and appreciate the arts.
Via creative encounters with modern art, the Center provides all residents with the ability to learn and appreciate the arts. A supportive, interconnected, and diverse experience that promotes questioning, imagination, and critical thinking is provided in the Center through world-class exhibits and programs.
The Rochester Art Center’s exhibitions and programs represent the complex relationship between art and society.
Visitors will connect with the Zumbro River, Mayo Park, and downtown Rochester via the building’s spectacular entrance.
The architecture is simple and clean, and it works in harmony with nature, connecting the indoors to the outdoors and creating an aura that glows with light from the inside.
Address: 1201 12th St SW Suite 632, Rochester, MN 55902, United States
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
In Rochester, Minnesota, there is a fantastic children’s museum called Spark.
The museum of Spark is a collaborative, interactive space where visitors can learn about technology, science, engineering, math, and the arts, as well as culture connectedness, fitness, and well-being.
Spark’s exhibits include interactive educational opportunities staffed by Spark’s highly-trained employees.
It’s a fantastic place for kids to let their imaginations run wild. Spark is a hands-on, inquiry-based learning and play program that allows people of all ages to learn about the world, each other, and their local environments.
The museum’s mission The museum offers various types of play, including imaginative or dramatic play, rough-and-tumble play, object play, building play, and games. It is inquisitive, and experimentation begins with a question-driven exploration of spaces, concepts, materials, and objects, which leads to doing and action.
Spark have materials discovery allows students to use all of their senses to investigate the material world, including instruments, natural artifacts, raw materials, and construction materials.
The museum also has a dialogue, which is exchanging thoughts, information, and memories between people as they talk, listen, and gesture.
Exploring and learning the environment and how it works, educating life decisions, and using the arts to expand cross-disciplinary possibilities are all part of the STEAM that Spark offers.
See Related: Best Museums in Minnesota
James Krom Natural Images
Address: 101 1st Ave SW, Rochester, MN 55902, United States
Rating: 4.9 out of 5
James Krom Natural Images is a fantastic art gallery located next to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
It’s a museum/gallery with a diverse collection of original artwork centered on the theme of nature. James Krom Natural Images is an art gallery that focuses on capturing the majesty of nature through works by national and Upper Midwest artists.
The gallery is built with intimate rooms and vignettes to encourage art lovers to unwind and enjoy tranquil works of art made with masterful skill.
Natural Images by James Krom is a museum/art gallery dedicated to exploring nature through museum-quality paintings, bronze sculptures, woodturning, and jewelry. All of the pieces are unique. Over 65 artists from throughout the United States are featured, with an emphasis on the upper Midwest.
Visitors are welcomed to explore the region’s and country’s unique natural beauty through paintings, sculptures, and jewelry.
The 100+ artists represented by James Krom Natural Images share their visions of the landscape as well as the wild animals that live there. The end result allows museum guests to feel more linked to nature.
James Krom Natural Images has an outstanding gallery and art collection. For serious collectors, art with an emphasis on nature is seen in wood carvings, wood turnings, bronze sculptures, jewelry, and landscapes.
Address: 1091 Plummer Ln SW, Rochester, MN 55902, United States
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
In Rochester, Minnesota, the Plummer House is a fantastic museum to visit.
This English Tudor mansion, which stood on a 65-acre estate with a greenhouse, water tower, garage, and gazebo, was the former home of Dr. Henry Stanley Plummer and Daisy Berkman Plummer.
This house, perched on a hill overlooking southwest Rochester, reflects Dr. Plummer’s distinct personality and that of his beloved wife, Daisy.
Dr. Plummer, dubbed “the diversified genius,” and Daisy, dubbed ” a patron of the arts,” established a house that was always welcoming to friends and family. The Plummer House of the Arts preserves this memory today.
Henry S. Plummer and his wife Daisy started building “Quarry Hill,” later known as the Plummer House, in 1917. The home, greenhouse, water tower, garage, and gazebo were all part of the 65-acre estate in 1924.
The Rochester Park and Recreation Department now own and maintains 11 acres.
On the farm, there are two caves, one leading into the house and the other under the water tower. Plummer has 49 rooms, ten bathrooms, nine bedrooms, and five fireplaces.
The building, which is now a museum, is over 300 feet long and five stories tall.
See Related: Best Minnesota State and National Parks
Quarry Hill Nature Center
Address: 701 Silver Creek Rd NE, Rochester, MN 55906, United States
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Quarry Hill Nature Center is a lovely nature preserve in Rochester, Minnesota, located on Silver Creek Rd NE. It is a large park with hiking trails, a man-made cave, and a nature center that has classes, and live animals can be found there. Quarry Hill Nature Center was founded in 1972 with the support of philanthropic organizations. The Quarry Hill Nature Center uses natural science discovery programs to promote imagination, exploration, and investigative skills, as well as an appreciation for nature.
The collaboration between Rochester Park Department and the Rochester Public School District to open the Nature Center happens in 1973.
In September 1990, work of creating the center was completed on a significant addition to the existing nature center, effectively tripling the main floor area and enabling Quarry Hill to meet the general public and school’s increasing needs.
Science enrichment for schools, workshops for preschoolers through adults, community naturalist activities, birthday parties, and summer nature camps are available at the Quarry Hill Nature Center. Professional teachers and naturalists lead all of these courses and activities, guiding participants in exploring the natural world.
Hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing through the meadows, flood plain, and upland forests on the Quarry Hill Nature Center’s 5 miles of trails covering 320 acres will enable visitors to appreciate the beauty and biodiversity of southeastern Minnesota.
See Related: Best State Parks in Minnesota
Minnesota Children’s Museum
Address: 1643 North Broadway Street A, Rochester, MN 55901, United States
Rating: 4 out of 5
“Minnesota Children’s Museum, located on North Broadway Street A in Rochester, Minnesota, is a successful children’s museum. The Minnesota Children’s Museum encourages kids to learn by play. The museum, which is a non-profit, welcomes over 550,000 visitors per year.
On December 12, 1981, the first Children’s Museum opened in a converted warehouse on 1st Street North.
Local children and their families soon became fans of the creative space for hands-on, playful learning.
The museum has kid-powered play areas where families can have a good time together as the kids take over.
The Minnesota Children’s Museum offers open-ended, self-directed experiences to children and adults through interactive displays and programs. It is a great place to visit in Minnesota and explore, a destination open for all ages to enjoy.
The museum’s goal is for children to spend more time playing. Adults do as well. Through the radiant force of play, all families prosper in a happier, healthier, and more creative world. The Minnesota Children’s Museum is convinced exactly of that.
Children deserve the time, space, and freedom to play because it develops their brains and nurtures the skills they need to succeed.
The museum also exemplifies how providing children with equal access to fun learning promotes their healthy growth.
What are your favorite museums in Rochester, Minnesota?