Confluences: Place, Change, and Meaning on the Mississippi

Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) Saint Paul Seminar

Date & Time:

Saturday, April 21, 2018
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM



$10 (Scholarships available for students. Contact OSI.)


Science Museum of Minnesota
120 West Kellogg Boulevard
Saint Paul, MN 55102

Over the past several decades, river cities throughout the world have faced the challenge of reconceiving and reconnecting with their postindustrial riverfronts. The SAH Saint Paul Seminar will focus on the rapidly changing postindustrial landscapes along the Twin Cities Mississippi River corridor. For millennia this region was—as it still is—Mni Sota Makoce, the Dakota people’s homeland. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Euro-Americans transformed the riverine landscape to facilitate colonization, commerce, industry, and connections with regional and global systems. Today, the Twin Cities’ riverfronts have been transformed. Multiple stakeholders—from the National Park Service, historical societies, and government agencies, to Dakota people, designers, and developers—are invested in a new wave of redevelopment initiatives that engage the past and look to the future. These raise questions about accessibility and equity; about recognizing multiple forms of heritage, tangible and intangible; and about sustaining connections between the changing riverfront and the culturally diverse communities that form the Twin Cities. This seminar will give voice to varied perspectives by convening people who are reshaping the riverfront—planners, designers, historians, and community activists—to discuss the ways priorities conflict and converge as they reconceive the river’s multilayered—and multi-vocal—landscapes. Presentations and discussion will focus on three sets of sites: B’Dote and Fort Snelling, St. Paul’s proposed River Balcony project, and Minneapolis’s mill district and proposed Waterworks Park.


  • Thomas Fisher, Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation and Minnesota Design Center, University of Minnesota
  • Bruce Chamberlain, Landscape Architect, ASLA, LOAM, LLC
  • Mary deLaittre, Architect, Manager of the Great River Passage Initiative, Saint Paul
  • Greg Donofrio, Heritage Studies and Public History, University of Minnesota
  • Patrick Nunnally, Director, River Life at the Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota
  • Iyekiyapiwin Darlene St. Clair, Associate Professor, St. Cloud State University


8:30–8:45 a.m. / Check-in 
8:45 a.m. / Welcome 
9:00 a.m. / Introduction: Thomas Fisher 
9:30 a.m. / Panel 1:The Mississippi's Multilayered Landscapes 
10:30 a.m. / Break 
10:45 a.m. / Panel 2: Forming Connections 
11:45 a.m.–12:30 p.m. / Q&A and Discussion

Two tours will be offered that complement the SAH Saint Paul Seminar: TR14 Challenges at Contested Sites and TR24 Along the Mississippi.

To make an accessibility request, call Disability Resources at (651) 962-6315.