Historic Fort Snelling Revitalization and Tours


Since 2014, the Twin Cities JACL Education Committee has been involved in giving input into a major initiative to revitalize the Fort Snelling area, significant to the Japanese American community because the Military Intelligence Service Language School was located there during World War II.

To commemorate the fort’s bicentennial in 2020, the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) has been working with various communities to ensure that the site’s many stories — stories of American history told nowhere else — will be preserved and experienced. The MNHS is working with the Minnesota legislature and private donors to fund renovation of an original calvary barracks to create a new visitor center, develop new exhibits in the visitor center to tell the many stories of those who were impacted by the fort, and make improvements to the site.

It is very important that the revitalization committee hears from communities and individuals as they plan exhibits and programs, so that all the fort’s stories and history are told. Comments and questions can be directed to Historic Fort Snelling site manager, Tom Pfannenstiel at tom.pfannenstiel@mnhs.org.

Other ways to help preserve this National Historic Landmark for future generations, are to:

  1. Send an e-mail to thank Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton for including Historic Fort Snelling his 2016 Capital Budget recommendations.
  2. Make a donation to the revitalization project
  3. Experience Historic Fort Snelling by attending programs or tours (see below).
  4. Share personal Fort Snelling experiences on social media using #HFS2020.
  5. Sign up for updates on the project

Learn more about the Fort Snelling Revitalization Project.


Visitors to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area this spring and summer might be interested in taking one of the free tours of the Fort Snelling Upper Post, covering various aspects of the fort’s 20th century history, including the buildings used by the Military Intelligence Service Language School.

Tours are two-hours long and begin at 9 a.m. in front of the Headquarters building (with the clock tower). They are scheduled as follows:

Walking tours:

  • Sunday, May 29
  • Sunday, August 14

Biking tour:

  • Sunday, June 12

Murder Mystery Walking Tour (includes the story of a 1940 murder mystery):

  • Sunday, July 3

Learn more about walking tours at Historic Fort Snelling.

The program is sponsored by the Friends of Historic Fort Snelling, a volunteer organization dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of the Fort Snelling area.

Photo: Historic Fort Snelling and River, National Park Service.