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Building a Museum



A Museum for the People
More than 80,000 students visit the museum on school field trips each year.
  More than 80,000 students visit the museum on school field trips each year.

 

The opening of the museum in on January 7, 1915, was a triumph for the members of the Society of Fine Arts. Three thousand people came to the opening night party. The newspaper the next day described it as “one of the most brilliant social events of the winter.”

But the opening of the museum was not just an event for socialites. Over 12,000 people visited the new museum on its first day. That was the most people ever to visit an American museum outside New York City in a single day. And as the newspaper noted, “comparatively few automobiles were drawn up before the MIA, most visitors being of the unpretentious sort who walk or ride streetcars.” Over 80,000 visitors had passed through the museum by the end of the month.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts continues its mission of serving the people of Minnesota. Around 500,000 people visit every year. There is no charge to get in; this is one of the few free museums in the country. And these days, the Internet allows millions more people around the world to enjoy the collection of art that was just a dream a century ago.


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1. A school group visits the museum in 1915.
2. A school group visits the museum in 2005.

 

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May 2006