On a rainy day, the Minnesota History Center is the perfect place to spend hours exploring over 44,000 sq. ft. of exhibits and a few thousand of the institution's 44 million items. First-time visitors should make a beeline for the "Open House" exhibit. Presented as a century-plus history of St. Paul as told through one modest house, visitors can learn about the various inhabitants who lived here by taking a seat at their dining room table, listening to memories, trying on their work uniforms, and looking out their living room windows to see the changing urban texture of this East Side neighborhood. Moving on, the "Then Now Wow" exhibit presents Minnesota state history via video screens and hands-on activities that take folks on a Twin Cities streetcar, an Iron Range mine, and the fur trade as told via the mind of a beaver, which is curious and fascinating. A "History Players" initiative brings live character actors out on weekends and holidays to wander around the museum interacting with patrons. On any given visit, you might encounter the French cartographer Joseph Nicollet, or Toni Stone, the first woman to play professional baseball in the Negro Leagues. Before stopping in, visitors should also check out the "Upcoming Events" area on the center's website. An architecture crawl, a historic walking tour of pubs, or a throwback fashion show may catch your attention. As an experience, and a way to take in local history while enjoying a meditative moment, the Minnesota History Center is topnotch.