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 art of dissent: How Mia’s “Resistance, Protest, Resilience” photography exhibition came together

“Resistance, Protest, Resilience,” an exhibition of about 60 photographs connecting the protest movements of the 20th century to today’s political, social, and racial conflicts, opened at Mia on November 5. My interest in images of protesters can be traced to my three-year exploration of the avant-garde art and photography of 1960s and 1970s Japan for . . . Keep reading »


We traveled to Standing Rock to deliver aid and support. We returned home with something greater.

They claim this mother of ours, the Earth, for their own use, and fence their neighbors away from her, and deface her with their buildings and their refuse. —Sitting Bull, 1875 In the Hunkpapa land of Sitting Bull, history is always being made. On a warm, sunny day in August, I traveled with Dakota Hoska, . . . Keep reading »


Why is this curious mask in the Martin Luther show? The reformer’s brave take on the plague

Don’t be surprised if the most popular image to emerge from “Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation,” Mia’s comprehensive look at the objects and art behind Luther’s 16th-century revolt against the Catholic Church, is not of the pulpit from which he preached his last sermons, or the life-size model of his home, or even his . . . Keep reading »


Artist Andrea Carlson on the unspoken history, unseen stories, and awkward moments behind her Mia project “Let: an act of reverse incorporation”

Andrea Carlson wasn’t sure the museum would go for it. After all, as she puts it, the participants and collaborators in Let: an act of reverse incorporation are “kicking in the front door of historic institutional power.” Carlson, who grew up in Minnesota and now lives in Chicago, has long drawn on her Anishinaabe (Ojibwe), . . . Keep reading »


Next in line: An election-year look at power, succession, and chicanery in Mia’s collection

“Well, he’s never gonna be president now…that’s one less thing to worry about.” Thomas Jefferson’s taunting of his rival in the hit musical Hamilton has reverberated through the end of this never-ending election season, along with serious questions about the fitness of candidates and political traditions. And it’s prompted the Mia staffers in the museum’s . . . Keep reading »


Once at Mia: A mummy and her secrets

Lady Tashat had roommates at first, fellow mummies, perhaps three or five altogether. They almost certainly didn’t know each other in life, but in death they were inseparable. In the late 1800s, mummies, statues, and other ancient objects were flowing out of Egyptian digs to Europe and America, to museums and millionaires. The director of the . . . Keep reading »


Art Inspires: Kao Kalia Yang on Lucretia

He entered my room quietly. I was at my desk. He closed the door behind him. It was just the two of us. He carried a book in his hand. He said, “How are you?” I did the polite thing. We had a conversation. In the light from my desk, he was handsome, this dorm . . . Keep reading »

Minneapolis Society for the Blind tour group 1951

Once at Mia: Touching the past

The Minneapolis Society for the Blind was touring Mia in October 1951 when they stopped in front of the museum’s ancient Assyrian relief and laid hands on it. The relief, being a relief, is perfectly suited to tactile appreciation. It was carved from stone more than eight centuries BCE, one of many such panels found in . . . Keep reading »


The Mia connections behind one of this season’s most anticipated operas

On September 9, in a suburb of San Francisco, 119 people gathered at the Hong Kong Flower Lounge to dine on Peking duck, bird’s nest soup, and other classic Chinese dishes. Most of the diners were Minnesotans. Kevin Smith, the president of the Minnesota Orchestra, rose to speak. “Who would have thought that this little group from Minnesota . . . Keep reading »


Worker elves or trolls? The peculiar story of the Purcell-Cutts House windows

The story of the Purcell-Cutts House windows is kind of a race to the finish line. The house was supposed to be completed in time for architect William Gray Purcell and his family to move in by Christmas 1913. The exterior construction was just wrapping up in the fall, and the house had to be sealed up before Minnesota’s . . . Keep reading »