Welcome to the Hennepin Medical History Center!

The Hennepin Medical History Center at the Hennepin County Medical Center is a premier medical history museum celebrating the history of medicine and medical education in Minneapolis. The collection is like no other in the Twin Cities. The History Center is comprised of archives, rare books, artifacts and images of the history of the Hennepin County Medical Center and Metropolitan Medical Center, and their predecessors.

New upcoming exhibit!


The Anatomy of a Hospital: The Buildings of St. Barnabas Hospital, The Swedish Hospital and Hennepin County Medical Center

April 6 – May 30, 2017

Opening Reception: April 15, 10am-12pm

Minneapolis Central Library, Cargill Hall Gallery

300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55401

          The walls of a hospital hold more than the weight of their structure. The building contains memories and stories from patients, families and staff. The history of hospitals in Minneapolis dates back to 1871 with the first hospital, Cottage Hospital, which would become St. Barnabas Hospital, a predecessor of HCMC. Through the years, and many transitions, the history of the hospitals often reflect the changing city landscape. This exhibit is about the buildings, memories and stories created through architecture. 


Program at the Library, April 29th at 1pm: 

Join retired nurse and HCMC volunteer, Carol Oeltjenbruns, on a journey through medical history in Hennepin County. Reverend Knickerbocker’s Cottage Hospital was established in 1881 when Minneapolis had unpaved streets, untreated drinking water, and was the milling capital of the world. The history continues with major advances in medicine to the present day with innovations such as kidney transplant and Hyperbaric Medicine. 


Check out the history blog

In May 2016, we celebrate the 40 year anniversary of the May 5, 1976 move to HCMC’s current downtown campus from the nearby site of Hennepin County General Hospital (“Old General”).

The current blog features Wanda Folkedahl, RN, RNC-NIC & Laurie Farrell RN, RNC-NIC


HCMC History Collection

HCMC History Collection is a lively look at the field of health care, general patient care, and medical procedures at the Hennepin County Medical Center. Learn More

The Metropolitan Medical Center (MMC) History Collection

The Metropolitan Medical Center (MMC) History Collection, established in 1974, is dedicated to providing public access as well as preserving and collecting materials and artifacts that document the history of the MMC. Learn More

Educational History

There were many types of education programs at the hospitals in Minneapolis. Nursing schools were often unique to the specific hospital. Learn More




Our permanent collections are operated by the Hennepin Health Foundation.

The collections are located in the lower level of the HCMC Blue Building – 915 S 8th St, Minneapolis, MN. MAP

Both collections are open:
Tuesdays and Thursdays
10am - 2pm and by appointment

The MMC Collection:
Is located in BL.227.

The HCMC Collection:
Is located in BL.226.

Email | 612.873.6090

150 years of History

Enjoy a historical look of the hospitals from inception through mergers and transitions spaning 140 years. Read More

hennepin county hospital timeline

Website designed by Kindem Design and developed by Terry Barth Design