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  • Rose Stanley-Gilbert

Curious about Cross Currents and One-Hour Guided Tours?

Guides Share Their Experiences!

Two types of public tours are now available to guides: Cross Currents, a two-hour conversational format in a single gallery, and the traditional guided one-hour tour.  These are very distinct ways of connecting visitors with the art, and each has its own rewards for both guides and visitors. If you’re curious about trying either type of tour, or have concerns that the traditional guided tour may be on the way out, read on for a message from Debbi Hegstrom and some examples of experiences guides have had with these tours.


Debbi Hegstrom

Many guides have been concerned about whether Cross Currents in-gallery conversations will replace one-hour tours. No worries ... ONE-HOUR TOURS WILL NOT BE REPLACED. Both types of tours will remain for touring with adults. The upcoming tours promotional card designates the plan for July through December. All book tours are one-hour guided tours. For the monthly public tour offering, four months will have one-hour guided tours and two months will have in-gallery conversations (Cross Currents). In addition, one-hour private guided tours continue to be available by request. This plan will remain in place going forward.


And here are some thoughts from guides …


Maria Eggemeyer

I had a surprise during Cross Currents in the Harrison Photography Gallery for the Another Look exhibition. I was showing a young couple, who had never been to Mia, one of my favorites: Man in a White Castle, Minneapolis by Thomas F. Arndt. Another couple walked up. The woman said, “That’s my husband’s photograph.” I looked at him not knowing whether he was in the 1970 photo or if he owned it. He saw my puzzled expression and said, “I took it.” Yes, it was Tom Arndt and his wife Susan. That led to a fun conversation about Chicago where he had spent much time, and Susan and I had grown up.

Man in a White Castle, Minneapolis, 1970 • Thomas F. Arndt Gelatin silver print • Gift of Ethel Morrison and William S. Arnett • 2012.115.12 Courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Art


I love Cross Currents. I meet new and veteran museum-goers, people from other countries or who live around the corner, hair stylists, art professors and artists, and those who happened to be driving by and are just curious.


Jan Lysen

I love volunteering on Thursday evenings for Cross Currents with its wonderful mix of visitors. Recently stationed in Gallery 255 with Myrlande Constant’s Bal Kontredans, I was ready to explore her revolutionary take on Vodou flag-making. An African American guest reframed the discussion, describing Haiti as the first Black independent country won through a successful slave revolt in 1804 (which the U.S. didn’t officially recognize until 1862). Wow! I learned a lot from our guest as well as other visitors around us. The Cross Currents format really helps us have those kinds of conversations. 

Bal Kontredans, 2021 • Myrlande Constant Beads, fabric, sequins and trimmings • Gift of Funds from Mary and Bob Mersky • 2022.23.2 Credit: Minneapolis Institute of Art


James Allen

I enjoy the traditional one-hour tour. Creating a theme helps us look at art from a new perspective with each tour. The museum affords the opportunity to compare and contrast different cultures, time periods, art styles, and history within the great variety and diversity our encyclopedic museum offers. Having a group that stays together for an hour brings out more discussion, more opportunity to create connections to the art, and connections with each other. And sometimes, when you’re lucky, it may even result in that glow, that gleam, that smile that comes from someone who has discovered a new insight and a new delight.


Mary Bowman

I’ve had conversations with visitors to Mia during stationed (Cross Currents) tours that I would never have had on a one-hour tour. One of those was with a young Ukrainian couple, and as we talked, I learned their families were still in Ukraine. They said that Americans had been very kind to them and they had both found jobs easily. Another time a young man in his early 20s was fascinated by the Housetop” quilt by Nellie Mae Abrams in Gallery 303. He stood there for a long time, so I asked what drew him to it. He liked the colors, he liked the fact that it had survived daily use shown by several stains, and he especially liked the little strip of burgundy along the right side of the quilt and the irregular stitching. He found the handmade quilt charming. 

"Housetop" Quilt • Nellie Mae Abrams Denim, cotton • The Ethel MOrrison Van Derlip Fund and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S, Arnett Collection • 2019.16.3 Credit: Minneapolis Institute of Art


Terry Edam

Guided group tours are experiences with unexpected rewards. Everyone in the group brings something different to share. A fellow guide also recommended adding Cross Currents, and I am glad I did — it’s a new way of connecting to individual guests. I love settling into my two-hour “Home.” I greet guests, introduce the theme, and share information about an object or ask if they’d like to hear a story behind the art. Some enjoy looking in silence. One group heard the story of Buddha and said, “Our lotus position makes sense now.” And a man who lost his job shared quietly, “This helps me.” Even the guest who was looking for his lost family stopped for a quick visit!

With some group interactions and some time with individuals, I have the best of both worlds.


Rose Stanley-Gilbert 

Cross Currents opened up a whole new way for me to enjoy tours. In the Latin American galleries I was sharing Myrlande Constant’s sequined and beaded banner. A mother and 4-year-old girl walked up. The girl was excited to hunt for the musical instruments in the piece. I asked her to imagine joining this party … Would she want to sing, play an instrument, or dance? She enjoyed deciding. Her mother was all smiles seeing her daughter actively engaged with art. I realized that this family wouldn’t want to do an hour tour and maybe there are a lot of adults who want to talk … but only briefly. Cross Currents is perfect for them.

Note: For more information and tips on giving Cross Currents and one-hour guided tours, see the recent Brown Bag CE session on video at this link:

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