The Bakken in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, United States | Museum
Welcome to The BakkenMuseum, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. Located in a beautiful Tudor mansion in Minneapolis, it holds a research treasure of 11,000 rare books and 2,500 scientific instruments relating to the role of electricity in life. The Bakken was founded in 1975 by Earl E. Bakken, inventor of the first transistorized cardiac pacemaker. The Bakken is an independent, nonprofit educational institution that collects archival materials related to the history of electricity and magnetism in medicine and the life sciences. We promote a broad humanistic understanding of science and its role in history. Our primary audiences are children, students, kids, teachers, scholars, researchers and the general public. The Bakken acquires its name from Earl Bakken - seen at right holding his famous pacemaker and wearing his Russ Prize medallion in 2001.
Earl was born in 1924 and grew up in Minneapolis and received his training in electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota.
In 1949 he co-founded Medtronic, which began by repairing medical electronic equipment, but soon began to sell and modify equipment, and to design and produce special-purpose devices. In 1957, working with Dr. C. Walton Lillehei, a cardiac surgeon at the University of Minnesota, Mr. Bakken developed the first wearable, external, battery-powered, transistorized pacemaker.
By 1960, Medtronic had become an established manufacturer of biomedical engineering devices, and in that same year began producing and marketing an implantable, portable pacemaker - that is, one that could be worn internally and that allowed the patient to move about freely. Today, Medtronic is a leader in the medical technology field and the world's largest manufacturer of cardiac pacemakers.
The library and Museum staff and many of the books and instruments were moved in, although some of the collection was placed in storage in an old church for the next few years. In 1981, a 1200-square foot underground vault was completed, providing the latest in security and environmental protection. The vault temperature is maintained at 65 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity held constant at 55 percent. Relatively little conservation work has been needed on the collection due to the excellence of this storage facility and the fact that most of the books and instruments were purchased in good to excellent condition.
In 1981 the name was changed to The Bakken Library of Electricity in Life in order to emphasize the importance of books and other printed sources. If you are looking for science Museums in the Minneapolis St. Paul Twin Cities area, The Bakken will be one of the highlights on your tour and a must see on your things to do list. Members and local visitors enjoy science education all year round!