Bakken Museum

The Bakken, previously known as The Bakken: A Library and Museum of Electricity in Life and known in the past as the Medtronic Museum of Electricity in Life, located on the shores of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the United States, is the world's only library and museum devoted to medical electricity. Focused on scholars and on young people, The Bakken educates visitors about the history of electricity and electromagnetism from 1200 A. D. to the present.

Unique in the world, the Bakken's collection is devoted to explaining "the historical role of electricity and magnetism in the life sciences and medicine." Approximately 11,000 written works and about 2,000 scientific instruments are stored there, some specifically for electrophysiology and electrotherapeutics. The Bakken's present director David Rhees once identified the most significant holdings as works by Jean Antoine Nollet, Benjamin Franklin, Giovanni Battista Beccaria, Luigi Galvani, Giovanni Aldini, Alessandro Volta, Guillame Benjamin Amand Duchenne, and Emil Heinrich Du Bois-Reymond and the journals Annalen der Physik, the Philosophical Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society and Zeitschrift für Physik.

Many of the permanent displays are interactive and suitable for children. For example, visitors can generate a 60,000 volt spark with a Wimshurst machine. Exhibits include "The Spark of Life", "The Electrarium", "The Mystery of Magnetism", "Magnetism and the Human Body", "Batteries", "Electricity in the 18th Century" and "Frankenstein: Mary Shelley's Dream".

A huge 20 ft (6 m) lithograph of La Fée Electricité by Raoul Dufy adorns the entrance. Aquariums hold examples of fish from South America and Africa that use electricity, including transparent and a black-ghost knifefish, an electric eel and a mormyrid. The aquariums are wired for sound so that visitors can hear the fishes' electrical signals. The Florence Bakken Medicinal Garden and a statue of Hermes or Mercury, the messenger god of ancient Greece and Rome, are focal points of the grounds. A newspaper reporter once said the venue, "seems a throwback to another time when skilled craftsmen shaped stone, wood and glass into places with lasting appeal".

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