Learn & Engage


Located on the fourth floor, the Northrop Gallery is a hidden gem that connects the east and west lobby areas of the Best Buy Theater. The sky-lit gallery echoes Northrop’s history as the original home of the Weisman Art Gallery and acts as a display space for educational exhibits curated by Northrop and other academic collaborators. Topics range from significant historical events on campus to explorations of artistic movements and key artists who have appeared on Northrop’s stage. Also a wonderful place for hosting receptions or other events, the Gallery and connected lobbies can be rented to provide an extra special setting.

Since Northrop’s renovation and reopening in 2014, this gallery has been home to a variety of exhibits. Here is a look at some of the exhibits.

Past Exhibits

Paddling between Bde Maka Ska

Northrop, Heritage Studies & Public History Program, Institute for Advanced Study, and University Honors Program Present

This exhibit honored the interconnectedness between the Native Canoe Program, University of Minnesota students, faculty, staff, and members of three Indigenous communities around Mni Sota Makoce (Minnesota). It also celebrated relationships with Dakota, Ojibwe, and Micronesian communities that have come together and found a common passion for sharing water traditions, while broadening the understanding of the waters that surround us through resurgence and revitalization of canoe communities.

Takeover: Morrill Hall, 1969

Northrop, Heritage & Public History Program, Institute for Advanced Study, and University Honors Program Present

Jan 2019-May 2020

On January 14-15, 1969, approximately 70 Black students from the University of Minnesota took over Morrill Hall, the administration building housing the Office of the President. The event lasted 24 hours—changing the history of the University and resulting in the founding of an African American Studies department. Fifty years later, this exhibit told the story of the events and the power of student protest.

Northrop's Historic Pipe Organ: A Resounding Success

Apr-Dec, 2018

The history, design, and significance of Northrop’s Aeolian-Skinner Opus 892 pipe organ was explored in this exhibit composed primarily of photographs and illustrations. The famous organ was built between 1932 and 1936 and stands as one of the last remaining concert-hall pipe organs in the United States. It was restored and reinstalled following Northrop's renovation. The exhibit complemented the inauguration of the restored organ, along with the Minnesota Orchestra Celebrating Northrop’s Restored Pipe Organ with music director Osmo Vänskä and organist Paul Jacobs concert in Oct 2018.

Roots to Healing

Northrop and College of Biological Sciences Conservatory Present

Mar - Dec 2017

Northrop is located on what used to be the site of a former medicinal plant garden built in 1911 by the College of Pharmacy. This exhibit served as a survey of the past, present, and future of plant-based remedies in Minnesota. Curated by the College of Biological Sciences Conservatory, the exhibit examined the historical, cultural, scientific and economic value of a handful of plants from around the globe that have taken root in Minnesota from the commonplace plantain to the rare Lady’s Slipper orchid or the controversial cannabis.

What the FLUXUS?

U of M Libraries and Northrop Present

Jan - Feb 2017

Complementing the CCN-Ballet de Lorraine performance hosted by Northrop and the Walker Art Center in Feb 2017, this exhibit celebrated the visual, literary, and performing artists connected with the FLUXUS movement. These artists traversed an internationally critical cultural and political period in a way that challenged how art was made, perceived, and experienced. The exhibit explored the intersection of dancer/choreographer Merce Cunningham with composers John Cage and David Tudor, artist Robert Rauschenberg, as well as Yoko Ono, Dick Higgins, and Nam June Paik.

Northrop Dance: A Legacy of Legendary Artists

Northrop and Goldstein Museum of Design Present

Feb - Aug 2016

It’s not just the corps of ballerinas on pointe or the gorgeous costumes that make us gasp, it’s the presence of legends dancing right before our eyes. This exhibit celebrated the talent that has graced the Northrop stage over the years through its signature Dance Series including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolph Nureyev, Twyla Tharp, Suzanne Farrell, Bill T. Jones, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham.

Northrop Transformed


Feb 2015 - Jan 2016

The University of Minnesota’s iconic Northrop reopened in April 2014 as a dynamic performance center and vibrant multi-use entertainment and academic venue. This exhibit presented a behind-the-scenes look at how this historic landmark was reborn using world-class acoustical and engineering innovations, as told by HGA Architects and Engineers, the firm charged with the impressive task.