Weisman Art Museum

The striking exterior design is just one of the highlights at this museum where it’s free to see exhibits ranging from modern art to ancient pottery and furniture.

Take the time to appreciate the exterior of the Weisman Art Museum (WAM) before you step inside; the building’s design is considered part of its art collection. WAM was first built in 1934, but a 1993 redesign by Frank Gehry made the museum world famous. This award-winning architect later went on to design the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. The WAM building on the campus of the University of Minnesota is one of the best attractions in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region, and from inside you’ll see good views of the Mississippi River.

WAM holds more than 17,000 works, with a focus on modern art. Visit the permanent American Modernism collection to see pieces by Georgie O’Keeffe, Roy Lichtenstein and James Rosenquist. The vast collection of Native-American pottery is also not to be missed, with ceramics from as early as 350 B.C.

Another exhibit recounts the story of later artists: The now extinct Mimbres people made intriguing bowls with pictures of hunting, religion, gambling and dancing before they mysteriously vanished from the Arizona desert around 1150.

Browse the collection of traditional Korean furniture with ancient pieces from the Silly and Choson dynasties. Major American and international art exhibitions also visit the museum; check the website for details.

The free Weisman Art Museum is located on the east bank of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. There are free public tours on weekends. Paid garage parking and public transport are available and the campus is part of the Nice Ride MN bike share system. The museum and WAM shop are closed on Mondays and some major public holidays.

Stop by the museum at sunrise or sunset for another free treat; the building puts on a dazzling light show as its shiny surface reflects the colors in the sky.

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