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Exploring the Museums of Iowa: A Guide to Visiting the Best Museums in the Midwest

Introduction

Iowa, the Hawkeye State, is a Midwestern gem. From its rolling hills and sprawling farmland to its vibrant cities and towns, Iowa has something for everyone. But the state is more than just a great place to live – it’s also home to some of the best museums in the Midwest. From natural history museums to art galleries, Iowa’s museums offer a wealth of history, culture, and education. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best museums in the state and provide a few tips for visiting them. So let’s dive in!

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque is the largest river museum in the world. This amazing museum has something for everyone, from interactive exhibits that take visitors on a journey through the Mississippi River’s rich history to the state-of-the-art aquarium, which houses more than 200 species of fish, reptiles, and amphibians. Visitors can also explore the museum’s educational exhibits and take a tour of the historic William M. Black steamboat.

Exhibits

The museum offers a variety of interactive exhibits that explore the history, culture, and ecology of the Mississippi River and its watershed. From the Native American history to the impact of the river on modern life, visitors can learn about the river’s past and present. The museum also has a variety of hands-on activities, including a touch tank and a river simulator.

Aquarium

The museum’s state-of-the-art aquarium is home to more than 200 species of fish, reptiles, and amphibians. Visitors can take a guided tour of the aquarium and learn about the unique creatures that inhabit the river and its tributaries. There are also a variety of interactive exhibits, including a touch tank and a river simulator.

Steamboat Tours

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium also offers tours of the historic William M. Black steamboat. Visitors can take a guided tour of the boat and learn about the history of the river and its steamboat industry.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

The Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in West Branch is the birthplace of the 31st president of the United States. The museum offers a variety of exhibits and activities that explore the life and legacy of Herbert Hoover. Visitors can take a tour of Hoover’s birthplace and childhood home and learn about his life and career. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, including lectures, workshops, and guided tours.

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Exhibits

The Herbert Hoover National Historic Site offers a variety of exhibits that explore the life and legacy of Herbert Hoover. From his childhood in Iowa to his tenure as president of the United States, visitors can learn about the life and accomplishments of the nation’s 31st president. The museum also has a variety of interactive exhibits, including a virtual tour of Hoover’s childhood home.

Special Events

The Herbert Hoover National Historic Site hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, including lectures, workshops, and guided tours. Visitors can learn about the life and legacy of Herbert Hoover and explore his childhood home. The museum also hosts a variety of seasonal events, including a Fourth of July celebration and a Christmas celebration.

Hoover Library & Museum

The Herbert Hoover Library & Museum is located on the grounds of the National Historic Site and is home to a variety of artifacts and documents relating to Herbert Hoover’s life and career. Visitors can explore the library’s collections and take a self-guided tour of the museum. The library also offers a variety of educational programs, including lectures and workshops.

The Art Institute of Iowa

The Art Institute of Iowa in Davenport is one of the state’s premier art museums. This museum houses a variety of works of art from around the world, ranging from classic works of European art to contemporary pieces from local and regional artists. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, including tours, workshops, and lectures.

Exhibits

The Art Institute of Iowa houses a variety of works of art from around the world. From classic European art to contemporary works by local and regional artists, visitors can explore a variety of styles and periods. The museum also offers a variety of interactive exhibits, including a virtual tour of the museum and a hands-on art-making experience.

Tours

The Art Institute of Iowa offers a variety of guided tours and workshops. Visitors can take a guided tour of the museum and learn about the history of art and its various styles and periods. The museum also offers a variety of workshops and lectures, which explore a variety of topics related to art and art history.

Education Programs

The Art Institute of Iowa also offers a variety of educational programs for children and adults, including tours, workshops, and lectures. Visitors can learn about the history of art and its various styles and periods and explore the museum’s collection of works of art from around the world.

The State Historical Museum of Iowa

The State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines is the state’s premier museum of Iowa history. This museum offers a variety of exhibits and activities that explore the history and culture of Iowa. Visitors can take a guided tour of the museum and learn about the state’s early settlers, its role in the Civil War, and its impact on American history. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, including lectures, workshops, and family events.

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Exhibits

The State Historical Museum of Iowa offers a variety of exhibits that explore the history and culture of Iowa. From the state’s early settlers to its role in the Civil War, visitors can learn about the state’s past and its impact on American history. The museum also has a variety of interactive exhibits, including a virtual tour of the museum and a hands-on learning experience.

Tours & Programs

The museum offers a variety of guided tours and educational programs. Visitors can take a guided tour of the museum and learn about the state’s history and culture. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, including lectures, workshops, and family events.

Research & Collections

The State Historical Museum of Iowa also houses a vast research library and collections of artifacts and documents relating to the state’s history and culture. Visitors can explore the library’s collections and take a self-guided tour of the museum’s collections.

The Grout Museum District

The Grout Museum District in Waterloo is home to a variety of museums and attractions that explore the state’s history and culture. This district includes the Grout Museum of History and Science, the Phelps Youth Pavilion, and the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum. Visitors can explore the district’s museums and take a tour of the historic district.

Grout Museum of History & Science

The Grout Museum of History & Science is the district’s premier museum. This museum offers a variety of exhibits and activities that explore the history and culture of Iowa. Visitors can explore the museum’s collections and take a guided tour of the historic district. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, including lectures, workshops, and family events.

Phelps Youth Pavilion

The Phelps Youth Pavilion is a hands-on science and history museum that is designed for children and families. Visitors can explore a variety of interactive exhibits and hands-on activities that explore the science of the natural world. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, including lectures, workshops, and family events.

Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum

The Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum is dedicated to the memory of Iowa’s veterans. This museum offers a variety of exhibits and activities that explore the history of Iowa’s veterans and their contributions to the state and nation. Visitors can take a guided tour of the museum and explore a variety of interactive exhibits and activities.

The Figge Art Museum

The Figge Art Museum in Davenport is one of the state’s premier art museums. This museum houses a variety of works of art from around the world, ranging from classic works of European art to contemporary pieces from local and regional artists. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, including tours, workshops, and lectures.

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Exhibits

The Figge Art Museum houses a variety of works of art from around the world. From classic European art to contemporary works by local and regional artists, visitors can explore a variety of styles and periods. The museum also offers a variety of interactive exhibits, including a virtual tour of the museum and a hands-on art-making experience.

Tours & Programs

The Figge Art Museum offers a variety of guided tours and workshops. Visitors can take a guided tour of the museum and learn about the history of art and its various styles and periods. The museum also offers a variety of workshops and lectures, which explore a variety of topics related to art and art history.

Education Programs

The Figge Art Museum also offers a variety of educational programs for children and adults, including tours, workshops, and lectures. Visitors can learn about the history of art and its various styles and periods and explore the museum’s collection of works of art from around the world.

Conclusion

Iowa is a Midwestern gem that has something for everyone. From natural history museums to art galleries, the state is home to a variety of museums that offer a wealth of history, culture, and education. In this guide, we’ve explored some of the best museums in the state, including the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, the Art Institute of Iowa, the State Historical Museum of Iowa, the Grout Museum District, and the Figge Art Museum. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly museum or an educational experience, Iowa’s museums have something for everyone. So the next time you’re in the Hawkeye State, be sure to check out some of the amazing museums that Iowa has to offer.