Exhibit aims to get Minneapolis to admit its racist past

‘Owning Up: Racism and Housing in Minneapolis’ uncovers a little known history


Carissa Prestholdt

New exhibit Owning Up at the Hennepin History Museum draws attraction through its demonstration of racism and housing in Minneapolis. The exhibit will be shown through Jan. 20.

Ethan Meisler

A new exhibit at the Hennepin History Museum, “Owning Up: Racism and Housing in Minneapolis” by Denise Pike and Kacie Lucchini, aims to get Hennepin County — and the Twin Cities as a whole — to own up to its racist past that tends to be overlooked. The exhibit focuses on housing discrimination in Minneapolis, then follows the stories of three black families living in white neighborhoods throughout the 1900s. Although Minneapolis may seem racially innocent, the display shows this may not be the case.

The exhibit is relatively small, but the museum manages to get a lot of information across. The floor of the exhibit represents a map of the three Minneapolis neighborhoods the families lived in. Each neighborhood contains a panel that tells the reader about personal experiences of racism in the family’s particular neighborhood.

Maps and wall panels line the exhibit to tell the story of how housing discrimination developed and how it is relevant today. Maps show the areas Minneapolis pushed the black community into, and where the majority of white people chose to live. It is laid out well and can be read with a quick trip around the small room. It was easy to follow and easy to understand. There are plenty of pictures and infographics to keep a viewer’s interest piqued.

Upon leaving the exhibit, a wall partially filled with note cards can be found. The museum provides four notecards, each with different questions, and pens for viewers to write their opinions and beliefs on the matter. The note cards ask the viewer to consider the relevancy of the issue in their own neighborhood, and how they think it could be fixed. Many interesting responses were posted that prove how the issue still has an effect on Minneapolis. Reading the cards provided a review of what was talked about in the exhibit and how people living in Minneapolis relate to the issue today.

This exhibit can help be educational to those who have never had to deal with housing discrimination and does justice to those who have had to experience it. To see and learn about this serious issue that has gone under the radar for so many years, I would recommend taking a look at the exhibit.

“Owning Up: Racism and Housing in Minneapolis” strives to admit Minneapolis’ not so innocent past, and thoughtfully questions viewers on the matter. The exhibit can be viewed until Jan. 20 at the Hennepin History Museum.