Foshay Museum and Observation Deck: A Historic Landmark in Minneapolis, MN


The Foshay Museum and Observation Deck, housed within the iconic Foshay Tower in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a celebrated historical and architectural landmark. Opened in 1929, the Foshay Tower was the tallest building in the city until 1972 and remains a testament to the city’s architectural heritage. The museum and observation deck offer visitors a unique glimpse into the past while providing stunning panoramic views of the Minneapolis skyline. Visit this link for more information.

History and Background

The Vision of Wilbur Foshay

The Foshay Tower was the brainchild of Wilbur Foshay, a wealthy businessman who sought to create a monument that would symbolize his success. Inspired by the Washington Monument, Foshay envisioned a skyscraper that would dominate the Minneapolis skyline. Construction of the 32-story Art Deco tower began in 1927 and was completed in 1929. Read about The Music Wall: A Unique Public Art Installation in Minneapolis, MN here.

Architectural Significance

Designed by architects Léon Eugène Arnal and Magney & Tusler, the Foshay Tower stands at 447 feet tall. It features a blend of Art Deco and Beaux-Arts architectural styles, with intricate detailing and a distinctive obelisk shape. The tower was one of the first skyscrapers built in Minneapolis, setting a precedent for future high-rise constructions in the city.

The Foshay Museum

Exhibits and Collections

The Foshay Museum, located on the 30th floor of the tower, offers a fascinating journey through the building’s history and the life of its namesake, Wilbur Foshay. The museum’s exhibits include photographs, documents, and artifacts that chronicle the tower’s construction, its role in Minneapolis’s development, and the economic turmoil that followed the stock market crash of 1929, which led to Foshay’s financial downfall.

Educational Value

The museum provides educational insights into the architectural trends of the early 20th century, as well as the economic and social context of the era. Visitors can learn about the challenges and triumphs associated with building such an ambitious structure during a period of significant economic change.

The Observation Deck

Stunning Panoramic Views

The observation deck, located on the 31st floor of the Foshay Tower, offers breathtaking 360-degree views of Minneapolis and its surroundings. On clear days, visitors can see landmarks such as the Mississippi River, the Basilica of Saint Mary, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The deck provides an unparalleled vantage point for appreciating the city’s skyline and landscape.

Visitor Experience

Access to the observation deck is included with museum admission, making it a popular attraction for both tourists and locals. Informative plaques around the deck highlight notable buildings and landmarks, enhancing the viewing experience. The deck’s open-air design allows for unobstructed views and photo opportunities.

Preservation and Modern Use

Historical Preservation

The Foshay Tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, recognizing its architectural and historical significance. Efforts have been made to preserve the tower’s original features, including its ornate lobby and exterior detailing while adapting the building for modern use.

Contemporary Role

Today, the Foshay Tower is part of the W Minneapolis – The Foshay hotel, seamlessly blending historic charm with contemporary luxury. The museum and observation deck continue to attract visitors, contributing to the tower’s enduring legacy as a Minneapolis landmark.


The Foshay Museum and Observation Deck offer a unique window into Minneapolis’s history and architectural heritage. Through its meticulously curated exhibits and awe-inspiring views, the site provides an enriching experience for visitors. As a symbol of ambition and resilience, the Foshay Tower stands tall as a tribute to the city’s past and a beacon for its future. Whether you are a history enthusiast, architecture aficionado, or simply seeking a stunning view, the Foshay Museum and Observation Deck is a must-visit destination in Minneapolis.