Museums to Visit When It’s Raining in Duluth

It’s Raining in Duluth… Now What?!

Sometimes you wake up and it’s raining in Duluth. You might think that it’s always sunny in Duluth and that it’s always summer and the weather is always perfect for outdoor fun. Well, you’re mostly right… it’s almost always sunny and summer and warm here in Duluth… the birds are always singing… the people are always smiling… LOL. But if we’re going to be honest, the weather doesn’t always cooperate and it’s good to have a backup plan.

Fear not! There are plenty of great activities in Duluth to keep you busy until the sun pops out again. Here are a few suggestions for you.

Visit These Great Duluth Museums

Duluth has a variety of excellent museums to keep you engaged when it’s raining in Duluth. The Duluth Depot, for example, is a multi-generation attraction with something to interest all ages… and with one ticket you gain admission to The Depot along with The Lake Superior Railroad Museum, The St. Louis County Historical Society, Veteran’s Memorial Hall, and The Duluth Art Institute – all under one roof! Bonus: Our Duluth History & Sightseeing Bus Tour includes admission to The Depot! Talk about efficient.

Duluth Depot

The Duluth Depot is home to The Lake Superior Railroad Museum, The St. Louis County Historical Society, Veteran’s Memorial Hall, and The Duluth Art Institute exhibit. Image: The Duluth Depot.

Related: Rain Or Shine Fun In Duluth

Definitely check out the Lake Superior Marine Museum. It’s a wonderful visitor center adjacent to the Duluth canal and Aerial Lift Bridge in Canal Park… and admission is free! This is a great spot to spend an hour or two exploring the history of shipping on the Great Lakes and will give you a chance to discover an important piece of Duluth’s economic heritage. We always recommend stopping by the Marine Museum.

Lake Superior Maritime Museum

Exploring a bit of Great Lakes history. Image: Lake Superior Maritime Museum.

Related: Dark History Walking Tour In Canal Park

The Tweed Museum of Art – located on The University of Minnesota Duluth campus – is a 15,000 square foot gallery that showcases 15th-21st century European, American and world art in all media by artists of regional, national and international importance, including outstanding work by artists from the Upper Midwest and Minnesota. In 2007, the Tweed acquired the Richard E. And Dorothy Rawlings Nelson Collection of American Indian Art. It’s a small gallery but very engaging.

Tweed Museum of Art

Feel This, a student exhibition by Wilson Johnson. Image: Tweed Museum of Art.

Related: Historic Arts & Theater Walking Tour In Downtown Duluth

And while we’re on the subject of art galleries, we highly recommend that you stop by Karin Kraemer’s Duluth Pottery. Karin has a long history in the Twin Ports but just recently relocated to her gallery-studio to The Lincoln Park Craft District – a historic space with an interesting story… just like Karin herself! Karin’s pieces are decorated with colorful, loose brushwork that captures color and movement… flowers from her garden swaying in the breeze or soft sunlight coming in the window to illuminate the room. It’s beautiful, functional art with a depth of artistry and meaning. And if you want to explore Duluth Pottery on a more personal level, you’re in luck. Karin has joined our Lincoln Park Craft District Walking Tour and we get to go behind-the-scenes to learn all about her inspiration and how it connects to the new wave of excitement for this vibrant community of makers.

Duluth Pottery Tour

Behind-the-scenes tour at Duluth Pottery during the Lincoln Park Walking Tour. Image: The Duluth Experience.

Related: Craft District Walking Tour Showcases Local Artisans

Here’s another interesting museum for you to explore… The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. This little-known museum on the edge of Downtown Duluth is all about the preservation of historical documents and providing a welcoming space for community involvement and learning. Admission is free and their exhibits change regularly. Take a look at their website to see what’s going on at Karpeles.

And… of course… don’t forget The Historic Glensheen Mansion. Perched on the shore of Lake Superior, Glensheen is the most visited historic home in Minnesota. This beautiful 12-acre estate features gardens, bridges, and a 39-room mansion built with remarkable 20th century craftsmanship that tells the story of the Duluth region. As another amazing Duluth Experience parter, we also visit Glensheen during our Glensheen Kayak Adventure if you’re interested in visiting the historic estate via kayak (when it’s not raining).

Glensheen Concert Paddle Series

Paddling Lake Superior’s shoreline near Glensheen Mansion. Image: The Duluth Experience.

Related: Check Out Our Glensheen Kayak Video

Another popular museum here in Duluth is The William A. Irvin. Located in the heart of Canal Park and set against the majestic Aerial Lift Bridge, the “Irvin” is a floating museum that once served as the flagship vessel of the U.S. Steel Great Lakes fleet. Today, the ore ship sits moored on the waterfront where the public can join guided tours that explore the ship’s historic significance and engineering magnificence. In October, the ship showcases a bit of macabre history as guides transform into ghouls and “The Haunted Ship” comes to life.

History Tour William A Irvin

The William A. Irvin is also a partner of The Duluth Experience and a great place to visit. Image: The Duluth Experience.

Related: Explore Duluth’s Dark History

Alright, it’s time to wrap up this list but I wanted to mention two more museums that are particularly fun if you’ve got some little ones to entertain. The Great Lakes Aquarium is the only aquarium in the United States focused on interactive freshwater exhibits and re-created freshwater habitats that are fun and educational for the entire family. And The Duluth Children’s Museum which has a variety of programs and exhibits that provide opportunities for children to explore their imaginations, test their abilities, and discover new fun.

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