Mia Stories

  • Mia Stories is the museum beyond the walls, outside the frame, at the lively intersection of life and art. From behind-the-scenes buzz to inspiring connections with current events, it’s the museum in conversation.

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1914-1917 MIA Registrar's Book

Once at Mia: Art in, art out

Look closely and you can see the name of Alfred Pillsbury under “lender.” It’s not hard: The cursive writing is clear as a carving, seemingly typed. As Mia’s registrars like to joke now, the primary job requirement for their predecessors long ago was good handwriting. And this person, probably a secretary in the director’s office, . . . Keep reading »


Once at Mia: Mondale and the modern museum

Kenzo Tange had resurrected Hiroshima, literally from the ashes. He designed a peace park in the city center and massive, modern buildings to house the thousands of bureaucrats who brought Japan back to life. An admirer of both Le Corbusier and traditional Japanese architecture, he built a bridge into the postwar period, and by the time he . . . Keep reading »

Richard Davis on the Radio 1947

Once at Mia: Radio days

Radios have their own museums these days. But in the late 1940s or early 1950s, when this photo was taken of Mia director Richard Davis chatting with Florence Murphy and Pat Maloney on KUOM, radio was still the best way to communicate just about anything to a wide audience—including art history. Not long after the . . . Keep reading »

Target Wing Grand Opening 2006

Mia’s stone guardians: A journey from China to Minneapolis

Stoic, vigilant, fierce—Mia’s guardian lions watch over the 24th Street entrance of the museum. Today, the lions are a symbol of Mia, featured on postcards, mugs, and prints in the Store at Mia. But prior to 1998, going back to when the museum was built in 1915, their pedestals were unoccupied. In the 1990s, Ella Crosby was looking . . . Keep reading »

Once at Mia_Solocaster

Once at Mia: The portable curator

Her handbag can talk. It’s a kind of proto-Walkman, a portable record player called Solocast. And it played some of the first audio guides that Mia rented to visitors. Actually, it’s not clear that the arrangement ever got that far. Solocast solicited the museum’s director, who seemed eager to buy. And there’s some correspondence about placing orders. . . . Keep reading »