Expand Your Curiosity
Discover Something New in Southeast Minnesota

There are a ton of places in and around Rochester where people can go to discover new things. When we think of curiosity, we often do not think of it as an adult attribute. As we focus on the theme of curiosity, we encourage our readers to tap into their curiosity.

If you wish to satisfy your curiosity, here are some places and classes in and around the Rochester area for you. If you have more ideas, please share them on our social media @rochwomenmag!   

Diversity Council

The Diversity Council’s mission is to grow and sustain a strong community based on empathy and love. Their programs reflect those values. Their Bystander to Upstander workshops allow folks to take a proactive measure in their lives by learning and practicing how to respond to incidents they might encounter in public. This is an activity-based workshop that concentrates on authentic interference by a group of citizens. By attending and completing these sessions, one will learn how to apply impactful engagement in social and public settings. 

In addition, the Diversity Council hosts the Human Library. They explain that “the Human Library, developed by the World Culture Center in Denmark, allows people to check out human ‘books’ for a unique learning experience.” Storytelling is a powerful tool that allows people to feel and hear life experiences outside of their own. By visiting and attending a Human Library one can use their curiosity to ask, listen and learn from each other from a simple conversation. Learn more at diversitycouncil.org/btu. 

Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association

Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association (IMAA) is a service agency that “builds bridges between cultures.” They primarily offer services for refugees and immigrants in Rochester. They offer many programs that focus on helping newer community members get situated. One program that stands out and strengthens community support is the Match Program.

The Match Program fosters relationships by matching community members (volunteers) with refugee and immigrant families to aid in integrating them into Rochester. Volunteers offer general support focused on community socialization, language learning and digital comprehension. They attend community events, go shopping and speak in English to strengthen conversational skills. According to the IMAA, “Volunteers also help families learn about the public resources, assist with technology and access resources.” This program connects curious adults to refugees and immigrants in the community. Learn how to become a volunteer and form a lasting relationship with someone from a different culture at imaa.net.

New Ulm

Are you looking to travel outside of Rochester and have a fun time? If you are curious about the unique history of a German town in Minnesota, New Ulm is the place for you! There are so many wonderful things to do in New Ulm, and it is such a historic and vibrant town. New Ulm is home to August Schell Brewing Company, the oldest brewery in Minnesota! It was founded in 1860 by August Schell. The brewery offers a tour where you can sample some drinks (if you’re 21 and older) and walk through their gardens, which contain peacocks—yes, you read that right! They also have a gift shop. 

You can also visit the Hermann Heights Monument. In 2000, it was designated by the U.S. Congress as a national symbol. There are only two “Hermann the German” structures. One is in New Ulm, and the other is in North Rhine, Westphalia, Germany! This monument includes a staircase which visitors can climb. Once you reach the top, you will see an amazing panoramic view of New Ulm and the river valley. Find more information at newulm.com.

Red Wing Arts 

Red Wing Arts in Minnesota is located approximately 50 minutes from Rochester and offers a variety of artistic programs and creative outlets. The Depot Gallery & Shop and the Clay & Creative Center display artistic works from a variety of artists in Minnesota. If you are curious about fine-tuning your art skills and want to support Minnesota artists, you need to come to Red Wing Arts!

The Depot Gallery & Shop is “a curated selection of artwork and artisan items for sale by over 100 regional artists.” The new second location, which opened in early May 2022, the Clay & Creative Center, showcases over 30 regional ceramic artists. They are open to more artists submitting their work. The clay studio has wheel throwing classes and offers a variety of workshops in different visual arts disciplines—textiles, glass, painters, to name a few. They are open to customize classes. Make sure you make a trip up, attend class, shop and do it again! I promise each time you visit it will be a unique experience with new art pieces on display. Look for more information at redwingarts.org

Rochester Art Center

The Rochester Art Center has exhibitions and programs dedicated to community members. These programs include classes, workshops, film screenings, lectures and gallery tours. Every year the Rochester Art Center provides an extensive variety of adult education programs. There are workshops where you can learn how to quilt, artist talks to engage in conversations with the artist and tours. You can enjoy a “guided tour of the Rochester Art Center and find out about the museum’s local history, stunning architectural design and current exhibitions.”

Rochester Art Center presents a handful of contemporary art exhibitions every year. The exhibitions allow visitors to connect with the artist. “Walk with Us,” “Our Home” and “Women Through Their Eyes” are some of the many exhibitions on display this fall. If you are curious about visual arts, Rochester Art Center is designed to encourage a deep understanding and appreciation of them.Discover more at rochesterartcenter.org. 

Quarry Hill

Quarry Hill Nature Center is a great place inspiring natural curiosity about the world around you. They have naturalist programs for adults. Quarry Hill believes “that learning about nature and getting outdoors never gets old. Our adult programs aim to do both as our experienced staff work to get you outside and reconnected to nature.” There is a series called Nature’s Bounty, which is a program designed for adults to enhance their environmental skills with classes like mushroom foraging, herbal tea making and owl banding. Each program is taught by a naturalist. From their website, “The Nature Center and the surrounding 329-acre park provide a perfect setting for hands-on exploration and learning for students, families and nature enthusiasts.” 

It is never too late to learn things unknown to you. Quarry Hill Nature Center can guide you on outdoor curiosity. Learn more at qhnc.org. 

Community Education

Are you interested in learning a new skill? Or do you miss being in a classroom setting? Rochester Community Education offers over 700 classes. Their website proudly states that their programs and services “bring knowledgeable instructors and coaches together with everyday people to explore new skills, develop new friendships and improve quality of life.” There are classes on how to make food, learn new languages and many more. Each year there are two seasonal catalogs released for adults—and three for kids—with a list of classes and programs. They even offer educational field trips for adults! They are open to more recommendations. Community Education can help you build a better future by connecting you with experienced instructors and developing skill sets that further your enhance your life. Find out more at rochesterce.org. ::

:: get connected 

Here are some fun upcoming events to attend!

Hermann Fest 

September 10, 2022, 

Festivities begin at 11:30 a.m 

New Ulm


September 17, 2022, 

from 4-6 p.m. at the History Center 

of Olmsted County

Red Wing Arts Fall Festival 

October 8 & 9, 2022, 

Downtown Red Wing 

About Author

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Ashalul is a Rochester resident committed to equity, love, and justice.

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