By Paul DeGeest, Director of Development
On Mother’s Day weekend more than 15,000 visitors toured 87 unique venues across the city as Doors Open Minneapolis returned after its 2019 debut. Rethos’ Heritage Tourism Manager Kelly Fischer spent the preceding six months meticulously constructing this signature event, building on the solid foundation established by Scott Mayer, the former executive director of the nonprofit organization that produced the 2019 inaugural event. Mayer has since joined the Rethos board of directors and remains committed to ensuring that Doors Open Minneapolis gets better each year.
“Rethos was eager to create a heritage tourism program. We know that these visitors will come, spend time and money, and are interested in learning more about historic buildings in Minnesota,” said Rethos executive director Dr. Heidi Swank. “When my previous organization in Nevada launched its heritage tourism program, we saw steady growth in the number of people who wanted to learn while they enjoyed mid-century modern architecture in Las Vegas.”
The pandemic forced Doors Open Minneapolis to go on hiatus in 2020, just as Scott Mayer and his team were building momentum. “We were very disappointed to have to pull the plug,” said Mayer. They were still on hold in 2021 and 2022. At that point it became clear that another organization, one with staff and resources, would have to take over the production for 2023. Enter Rethos.
Late last year, Doors Open Minneapolis, an independent 501(c)3 charitable organization, agreed to be acquired by Rethos. Mayer joined the board of directors and has been a tremendous resource as Fischer was tapped to lead the return for this year. Together with a team of volunteers over 500 strong, Fischer was able to produce a tremendously successful event.
“This has been the most challenging project I’ve ever been involved in,” said Fischer as the two-day event drew to a close on Sunday afternoon. “The volunteers, the people at the venues, and of course the sponsors have been outstanding. We could not have pulled this off without all of them.”
She added, “I can’t wait to get started on next year’s Doors Open Minneapolis on May 18-19. But I’m taking a long vacation first.”
Be sure to mark your calendars for Doors Open Minneapolis, 2024 on the third weekend of May. It’s going to be even better!
Photos by Jessica Strobel