Hennepin Gallery exhibits

Hennepin Gallery exhibits are part of the county’s commitment to serving the community with a variety of fine arts and educational displays. Use of the space is limited to exhibits sponsored by Hennepin County or other government agencies, arts organizations, nonprofit organizations, and groups receiving approval from the County Board of Commissioners.

The Hennepin Gallery is free and open to the public, The exhibit is sponsored by, and a project of, Hennepin County Communications.

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Current exhibit

“Your Table is Ready: Dining Out in Hennepin County through the Decades” in Hennepin Gallery March 4 through May 26

Hennepin Gallery is celebrating our love of food and fine dining in the new exhibit, “Your Table is Ready: Dining Out in Hennepin County Through the Decades.”

Thanks to the Hennepin County Library Special Collections, the Hennepin Gallery exhibit features menus, photographs, postcards and more, celebrating the restaurant scene from the 1880s through the 1970s.

Do you remember the lavish Minneapolis restaurants like The Nankin or Charlie’s Cafe Exceptionale? Do you still visit the iconic Murray’s and the northeast favorite, Jax’s Café? How about the first drive thru or drive in?

Through times of prosperity and times of shortage -- World War I, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and World War II – Minnesotans continued to eat out. Even with the advent of fast food, fine dining continued to flourish. Many restaurants served more than just food: stimulating, opulent interiors and memorable live entertainment. Eating out was an experience.

We hope you are hungry because your table is ready. Come to the Hennepin Gallery and enjoy.

About the Hennepin County Library Special Collections

The Hennepin County Library Special Collections at the Minneapolis Central Library houses over 1,000 local menus from the 1880s to today. View more menus online in the Library’s Digital Collections.

Interested in donating menus to the collection? Contact special collections at specialcoll@hclib.org.

This exhibit is presented by Hennepin County Library Special Collections.

The Hennepin Gallery is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Hennepin County Government Center, A-Level, 300 – 6th Street South, Minneapolis.

Previous exhibits

Dates Exhibit Exhibitor
Through February 28, 2020 Minnesota Spokesman Recorder: Celebrating 85 years of the oldest Black-owned newspaper in Minnesota. Minneapolis Black Employee Network
October – December 30, 2019 Kulture Klub Presents looked at the strengths and contributions of homeless youth, rather than their vulnerabilities, through artistic practice. Kulture Klub Collaborative (KKC)
August – September 26 Celebrate Summer showed historical highlights of our local summer fairs and festivals. Hennepin History Museum
May – June 19 Hennepin County Employee Art showcased employee abilities in painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, textiles and more. Hennepin County Communications

March 2 – 28

Real People, Real Conversations, Real Solutions showcased the mission of Community Mediation & Restorative Services, Inc. (CMRS): helping people move from conflict to resolution and from harm to healing through respectful and confidential mediation and restorative processes. Community Mediation & Restorative Services, Inc.

January 30 – February 26

Black Twin Cities: The 1940s Photographs of John F. Glanton provided a rare look into the personal, professional and social lives of what was then a very small community in postwar, pre-civil rights era Twin Cities.

Hennepin County Library Digital Collections: John F. Glanton Collection

December 3, 2018 – January 29, 2019

Sib Pauv Zog: a Hmong Cultural Harvest included the work and stories of Hmong artists and farmers, reimagining Hmong existence and making way for new cultural tradition.


October 3 – November 28, 2018

Getting to the Heart of the Matter: a History of Cardiac Care illustrated the history of cardiac care and special contributions and innovations by our medical pioneers past and present and our local medical device companies.

Hennepin Medical History Center

September 10 – 26, 2018

NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center (Pilot City): 50 Years of Community Care exhibit reflected on the organization’s accomplishments and opportunities for growth as NorthPoint marked its 50th anniversary. NorthPoint is a multi-specialty medical, dental and mental health center and human service agency located along Penn Avenue in North Minneapolis.

NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center

June 8 – August 16, 2018

Hennepin History Museum: Celebrating 80 Years showcased photos, artifacts, and archival items from the Hennepin History Museum’s collection, highlighting the diverse history of Hennepin County.

Hennepin History Museum

April – May 30, 2018

Meet Minneapolis for the Sister City featured historic photographs and documents marking the arrival of the Americans in Tours, France, as well as their lives and work. This exhibit marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Hennepin County Communications

January 22 – March 28, 2018

Minnesota Black History 101 featured artifacts, memorabilia and narratives offering a unique glimpse into the lives of Minnesota's pioneering African Americans.

University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center

December 1, 2017 – January 17, 2018

Water Connects Us All featured sculptures and puppets, connected with a simple narrative, designed to draw the viewer into deeper considerations of their own relationship to water and our own best humanity in protecting our water.

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre

November 1 – 29, 2017

Minneapolis Water Works Celebrating 150 Years: 1867–2017 showed consumers how water is taken from the Mississippi River, treated and delivered to their tap, and provided a rare opportunity for the public to see water infrastructure that is normally hidden.

Minneapolis Public Works Water Treatment & Distribution Services

September 1 – October 29, 2017

Green Card Voices: Youth and Adults Exhibits used digital storytelling to share personal narratives of America's immigrants, fostering tolerance and understanding between immigrant and non-immigrant peoples.

Green Card Voices

August 1 – 29, 2017

Hennepin County Employee Art showcased employee abilities in painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, textiles and more. Hennepin County Communications

June 2 – July 28, 2017

Hats Off to Hennepin County showcased hats from the Hennepin History Museum's collection, including department store and uniform hats, from the 1840s to the 1950s. Hennepin History Museum

April 5 – May 26, 2017

Hennepin County: A better way. Lived here was an exhibit featuring the people and places that make Hennepin County a great place to live, work and play. Hennepin County Communications

March 2017

Real People, Real Conversations, Real Solutions highlighted the different service areas handled through mediation or restorative services. Since 1983, CMRS has helped Hennepin County residents move from conflict to resolution and from harm to healing through mediation and restorative services. Community Mediation and Restorative Services, Inc. (CMRS)

February 3 – 27, 2017

Celebrating the Voting Rights Act in Minnesota featured a series of panels focusing on local advocacy on behalf of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, supplemented by an assortment of archival materials related to African American life in Minnesota and Hennepin County in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Hennepin History Museum

December 5, 2016 – January 27, 2017

Treasures of the Diaspora examined the cultural roots that Somalis in Minnesota share, and used traditional arts as a platform for all Minnesotans to experience the richness of Somali culture and glimpse their Somali neighbors' history and traditions.

For older exhibits, see our gallery on Flickr.

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