Want to explore one of Minnesota’s best modern art galleries, both inside and outside? Let us take you on a tour of the Weisman Art Museum and everything you need to know about this amazing place.
In this post, we’ll go on a trip to the Weisman with you so that you can identify the finest things to see and do in one of Minnesota’s major landmarks.
Show Table of Contents
- About the Weisman Art Museum
- Hours of Operation
- Building Architecture
- Poster Exhibits
- Where to stay near the Weisman Art Museum
- Final Thoughts
- What are the hours of operation for the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum?
- Is there an admission fee to enter the museum?
- Does the museum offer any public programs?
About the Weisman Art Museum
Established in 1924 by art collector Frederick R. Weisman, a Minneapolis native, for his personal art collection to be displayed, this museum now has over 20,000 unique pieces of art that will blow your mind.
The Weisman Art Museum is located on-campus at the University of Minnesota, right next to the SE Washington Avenue Bridge on the banks of the Mississippi.
The Weisman also has a cafe at the east end, which is a great place to stop and have a bite to eat while you contemplate the art you’ve just seen. The cafe has an outdoor patio with views of the Mississippi River and Minneapolis skyline, making it the perfect place to relax after exploring.
Hours of Operation
The area is easily accessible by public transport or car; the museum is open from 10 am to 8 pm on Wednesdays, 10 am to 5 pm on all other days, and closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Entry into the Weisman is completely free on all days.
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The first “attraction” you’ll see at the Weisman is the unique facade of the steel and brick building itself. Designed by Frank Gehry, a world-renowned architect famous for attractions like the Dancing House in Prague and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
The building is contemporary, with unique edges and shapes made from angular brushed steel sheets. It’s striking!
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s done right and made entirely from brick and stainless steel. Depending on where you look at the building, it can either look like an abstract fish shoal, a futuristic fortress, or a brick facade that blends in with the historic surroundings.
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The collection the museum presents is a mix of ceramics, paintings, photographs, prints, drawings, posters, and even traditional Korean furniture. Furniture isn’t something many would expect at an art museum, but the collection of Korean furniture is truly a sight to behold.
You will be transported back in time to see how royal people lived in ancient Korea, with things like bedside tables and mirrors that are common today but luxurious items in the past.
The paintings are the primary attraction of the Weisman. Featuring a collection of paintings dating back to pre-colonial America, all the way up to contemporary art forms today, this museum has one of the country’s richest collections of American art.
It has major works from Marsden Hartley, Alfred Maurer, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Charles Biederman, and a massive Native American art collection, with certain pieces going back thousands of years.
It contains extremely rare portraits of some of the most important people in the world at certain times, such as the portrait of Maria Luisa of Parma, Clarence Henry Eckles, Elias Potter Lyon, and more. The primary era of these paintings is the 20th Century, although it also has plenty of older and newer art pieces.
The ceramics section is also a lot more interesting than some might expect it to be. There are countless little preserved figurines from the 1700s and even older ones that you’d think would’ve been in a factory somewhere in China, but no, they’ve all been carved and painted by hand.
On top of that, there are a lot of Native American plates, bowls, and tools that have been preserved here, and there’s even an extensive collection of international artifacts from the Ming Dynasty in China and much more. Once again, looking at these will take you back in time to see how people used to live during that time.
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But interestingly, one of the most fascinating sections of this museum is not the paintings or the ceramics sections, but the posters section. Posters have been used for propaganda, advertisement, and public service announcements for centuries, but they’ve often been overlooked as a work of art.
Another thing about these posters is that they were made for the public, at the time, to view. So it gives you a brand new perspective on things. Look at the “We Must Have Order” poster criticizing the Cold War policies of the USSR and the US. Or the anti-American “U.S. Government Doesn’t Know Beans” poster by pro-Nicaraguan communists.
There are all sorts of posters like these, many of which will make you laugh, cry, or both. Where else would you find a Japanese tourism poster from the Imperial Era titled “Beautiful Japan” other than Imperial Era Japan? That’s what I thought.
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Where to stay near the Weisman Art Museum
Taking in the whole Weisman in a day ain’t easy, especially when there are more brilliant museums and art galleries in Minneapolis to visit! Here are some of the best Minneapolis accommodations nearby:
- Budget Accommodation: These comfortable, modern apartments by Kasa Minneapolis near the U of M have kitchens and access to a fitness center and a cool patio.
- Mid-Range Accommodation: The Graduate Minneapolis is one of our all-time favorite Minneapolis hotels, known for its trendy retro vibe, great food, and prime location.
- Luxury Accommodation: If you’re looking to be wrapped up in the lap of luxury, take a 9-minute car ride to central Minneapolis and check into the uber-cool Hotel Ivy Minneapolis.
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No matter your type of traveler, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum has to enjoy, and it’s completely free. What’s not to love about that? Whether it’s a painting or sculpture exhibition that sparks your interest, an interactive installation to make your visit memorable, or even some beautiful Korean furnishings and artifacts from ancient times.
What are the hours of operation for the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum?
Tuesday through Sunday, from 11 am to 5 pm. It is closed on Mondays.
Is there an admission fee to enter the museum?
No! Admission to the museum is free!
Does the museum offer any public programs?
Yes, it is a teaching museum that offers a variety of public programs such as tours, university lectures, films, creative collaboration, and family activities.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a seasoned traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers find their next adventure, whether it’s exploring new places or revisiting old favorites.
He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wonderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). He loves listening to people’s stories from around the world as well as sharing his own experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.