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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The Tao of Arthur Wesley Dow

Heading far west to paint the Grand Canyon in 1911 and 1912, Arthur Wesley Dow was, as usual, thinking about the Far East. For 20 years, Dow had applied the forms and harmonies of Asian art to small New England scenes, and now he had to wonder whether the trusty principles of Japonisme could help . . . Keep reading »


Once at Mia: The Aquatennial dines with art

Lucretia may be hungry. She appears to eye the plates of food before her with something like regret, the disappointment of knowing she will soon be leaving this world without having stuck around for dessert. The guests, for their part, don’t seem to notice Lucretia at all. They are partying. And they are in the . . . Keep reading »

Gallery 200; Hammering Man; 1985

Once at Mia: When the Hammering Man retired

For years, the Hammering Man didn’t get a break unless he broke down. He broke down a lot, actually, given the repetitive movement of his arm and hammer—up, down, up, down, day after day, year after year. His motor often wore out, and Bill Skodje, Mia’s senior preparator and exhibition designer, would have to repair . . . Keep reading »


Outside in: Linnea Oliver explains how nature inspires her jewelry in the Store at Mia

Linnea Oliver, who makes jewelry under the studio name Bird of Virtue, has a reliable way of jumpstarting her creative process: She heads to the beach. “The beach is so linear, so austere, that there doesn’t appear to be a lot going on there,” she says, “but in that sense it’s also a blank canvas.” She . . . Keep reading »

Helena Hernmarck; Blue Wash 1 and 2; 2014.51.1ab; 2014.51.2ab

Counting sheep: Helena Hernmarck and the revival of Sweden’s signature wool

If you haven’t been to the Fountain Court at Mia to see the Blue Wash tapestries by Helena Hernmarck, now is the time. The four, 20-foot-long tapestries are due to come down in late July, and it could be years before they are on view again. During the year that these works have been on . . . Keep reading »

Woman posing with Peruvian Ear Spools 1949-1950

Once at Mia: Fooled by Chac Mool

He seems so innocent, even naive, though there is a good explanation for this. Mia acquired Chac Mool in 1947 from a respected art dealer, believing he was a masterpiece of ancient mesoamerican sculpture, in the manner of other Chac Mool sculptures found in the Chichen Itza ruins in Mexico.  He became a prominent fixture at the . . . Keep reading »


Anthony Marchetti traced five of our American period rooms back to their origin. Here’s what he found and what he made in response.

Mia’s period rooms may seem like time capsules, settings preserved in a museum as though their owners have simply stepped away. But in reality they are illusions, a mix of old and new, fact and fiction. As part of our Living Rooms project, Mia commissioned Anthony Marchetti, a Minneapolis-based photographer, to visit the original sites . . . Keep reading »


Once at Mia: A masterwork at home

Sam Maslon grew up on the north side of Minneapolis in the early 1900s, when the neighborhood was a Jewish enclave. His family was poor, but he managed to go to Harvard Law School on a scholarship. He rented a room in the home of law professor Felix Frankfurter, a future justice of the U.S. . . . Keep reading »

Plaster casts

Once at Mia: The lost world of plaster casts

A hundred years ago, they were a numerous if unusual species. Starkly beautiful, strangely familiar. Of this world and yet not completely; they seemed to inhabit a parallel universe. They were, as Mia’s first director, Joseph Breck, put it in a 1914 speech, “pale ghosts of reality.” They were everywhere in Mia in the museum’s early decades, from the . . . Keep reading »

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The lightHouse, a showcase of living large on a small footprint, debuts at Mia’s Third Thursday: Art of Sustainability

In 2003, Geoffrey Warner created his first weeHouse, a prefabricated, 336-square-foot retreat for a violinist, delivered by semi to an off-the-grid site near Pepin, Wisconsin. A Dwell reader’s dream, it quickly became an icon of stripped-down modern living. He and his team at Alchemy Architects, based in St. Paul, have since built some three dozen . . . Keep reading »