19 Most Interesting Museums in Iowa (with Pictures)

Last Updated: Nov 06, 2022

Quick Links: Table of Contents

Map of Museums in Iowa

See the map of the top museums in Iowa below.

Each marker on the map shows the location of the museum in Iowa on the map. The number on the museum marker is the popularity rank of the musuem. You can click on a museum marker to see how you can get to that museum.

Museum Popularity Rank
Des Moines Art Center 1
Old Capitol 2
Salisbury House 3
National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium 4
Bily Clocks Museum 5
The Catholic Historical Center at St. Boniface 6
Science Center of Iowa 7
Iowa Aviation Museum 8
Historic Central School 9
Hornick Depot 10

How Many Museums are in Iowa?

There are at least 19 museums in Iowa.

Click here to jump to the list some of the best 19 museums in Iowa

Museums in Iowa

Now, let us take a dive into the museum scene in Iowa.

We will share with you information and pictures of museums in Iowa.

To give you a feel of what Iowa looks like, this article may also contain pictures of other places, people and things in Iowa, in addition to museum pictures.

  1. Des Moines Art Center

    Des Moines Art Center by Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons. by James Steakley using CommonsHelper., licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

    The Des Moines Art Center is an art museum with an extensive collection of paintings, sculpture, modern art and mixed media. It was established in 1948 in Des Moines, Iowa.

    • ๐ŸŒMuseum Website: Website

    • ๐Ÿ“žMuseum Phone: +15152774405

    • โ™ฟWheelchair Accessibility: Yes

    • ๐Ÿ“ˆPopularity Score: 10 /10

    • ๐Ÿ“Location: Map Directions

  2. Old Capitol

    The Iowa Old Capitol Building is located in Iowa City, Iowa, United States. It was once the main government building for the state of Iowa, and it now stands as the most prominent landmark at the center of the University of Iowa`s campus. The building was depicted on the 1946 Iowa Centennial commemorative half dollar. It was individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1972, and it was named a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1976. In 1978 it was included as a contributing property in the Pentacrest, a historic district listed on the NRHP.

  3. Salisbury House

    GOPR0043 by Tfmason1, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

    Salisbury House, sometimes noted as the Weeks House, in Des Moines, Iowa is a Tudor, Gothic and Carolean style manor home built on a wooded hill with commanding views. It was built by cosmetic magnate Carl Weeks and his wife, Edith Van Slyke Weeks, between 1923 and 1928. Salisbury House was modeled after the King`s House in Salisbury, England, contains 42 rooms and measures just over 22,000 square feet (2,000 m2). The property is owned and operated by the Salisbury House Foundation and is open to the public for tours, public events, and private rentals. Salisbury House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The listing covered a 9.4-acre (3.8 ha) area with two contributing buildings, one other contributing structure and one contributing site. Salisbury House is also on the List of Registered Historic Places in Iowa.

  4. National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

    22-16-109-mackenzie by Self-photographed, licensed under CC0

    The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is a museum located in Dubuque, Iowa, USA. The museum is a property of the Dubuque County Historical Society, which also operates the Mathias Ham Historic Site. The museum has two buildings on its riverfront campus: the Mississippi River Center and the National River Center. The museum originally opened as the Fred W. Woodward Riverboat Museum on July 18, 1982 before being expanded and re-organized into its current form. The museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

    • ๐ŸŒMuseum Website: Website

    • ๐Ÿ“žMuseum Phone: +15635579545

    • โฑOpening Hours: Mo-Fr 10:00-16:00; Sa-Su 10:00-17:00

    • โ™ฟWheelchair Accessibility: Yes

    • ๐Ÿ“ˆPopularity Score: 2 /10

    • ๐Ÿ“Location: Map Directions

  5. Bily Clocks Museum

    The Bily Clocks Museum is located in Spillville, Iowa, United States. The museum contains clocks that were made by hand from the years 1913 to 1958. The clocks were made by Frank and Joseph Bily, together known as the Bily brothers. The clocks include the American Pioneer Clock, a version of the World`s Smallest Church, and the Apostles Parade Clock.Frank and Joseph Bily were born in the late 19th century in Spillville, Iowa. They went on to become farmers as well as carpenters. They took upon clockmaking as their hobby, carving and creating complex, finely detailed works of art out of wood.The Bily brothers were originally going to burn their creations when they died, but they later donated their collection to the city of Spillville.The Czech composer Antonรญn Dvoล™รกk spent the summer of 1893 in the building, which is where he completed his Symphony No. 9 in E minor, โ€œFrom the New Worldโ€.

  6. The Catholic Historical Center at St. Boniface

    St. Boniface Church is a former parish church of the Diocese of Davenport. The church was founded in the town of Lyons, which is now the north side of Clinton, Iowa, United States. The church building is now a museum named The Catholic Historical Center at St. Boniface, with exhibits about the history of the Clinton area Catholic community, and an archive of local Catholic church artifacts and records. The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

  7. Science Center of Iowa

    The Science Center of Iowa is a science museum located in Des Moines, Iowa. The museum opened in 1970 in Greenwood-Ashworth Park and was called the Des Moines Center of Science and Industry. It was renamed the Science Center of Iowa in 1985. It moved to its current location in 2005.

    • ๐ŸŒMuseum Website: Website

    • ๐Ÿ“žMuseum Phone: +15152746868

    • โ™ฟWheelchair Accessibility: Yes

    • ๐Ÿ“ˆPopularity Score: 1 /10

    • ๐Ÿ“Location: Map Directions

  8. Iowa Aviation Museum

    The Iowa Aviation Museum is located at the Greenfield Municipal Airport in Greenfield, Iowa, and is dedicated to preserving Iowa`s aviation heritage. The Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame, located at the museum, honors Iowans who have contributed significantly to the growth of aviation.

    • ๐ŸŒMuseum Website: Website

    • โฑOpening Hours: Apr-Nov: Mo-Sa 10:00-17:00; Su 13:00-17:00

    • ๐Ÿ“ˆPopularity Score: 1 /10

    • ๐Ÿ“Location: Map Directions

  9. Historic Central School

    Central School is a historic structure located in Lake City, Iowa, United States. A bond referendum for a new school passed in February 1884. The Des Moines architectural firm of Foster & Liebee designed the building in the Italianate style, and it was built by contractor Robert Harrison. They based their plan on an example the school board found in Everett`s School Architecture. The exterior of the two-story structure is composed of locally produced brick and it cost $7,175 to build. Two classrooms were located on each of the two floors. A frame building to house the kindergarten was built in 1895, and the school board determined the following year to expand the building by four more classrooms. In 1897 the addition was completed, as was another grade school building in town. A high school was built in 1904, which took the pressure off the school`s population. The building served as a school building until 1980. It was acquired three years later by Central School Preservation Inc. and renovated for a historic-cultural center. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

    • ๐ŸŒMuseum Website: Website

    • ๐Ÿ“žMuseum Phone: 712-464-8639

    • โฑOpening Hours: Mo-Fr 09:30-11:30 || โ€œby appointmentโ€

    • ๐Ÿ“ˆPopularity Score: 1 /10

    • ๐Ÿ“Location: Map Directions

  10. Hornick Depot

    Hornick station by Znns, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

    The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Combination Depot-Hornick, also known as the Hornick Depot, is a historic building located in Hornick, Iowa, United States. The town was patted by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad`s land company when the railroad created a branch line from Manilla, Iowa to Sioux City. Completed in 1887, the railroad built this two-story frame structure to serve as its passenger and freight depot. It is one of six such depots that remain in Iowa, and the best preserved. These buildings were built from a standard design used by the railroad. The two-story stations included living quarters for the station manager because the towns had yet to develop when the depot was built. This was an island depot, with freight loaded on the north side and passengers boarded on the south. Decorative elements on this depot include lathe-turned wooden finials, angled wooden brackets, and bracketed door and window hoods. Passenger service ended in the 1950s, and grain was loaded here until 1980 when the Milwaukee Road abandoned the Sioux City branch line. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. It has been converted into a local history museum.

  11. Hose Station No. 4

    Hose Station No. 4 is located in the Village of East Davenport in Davenport, Iowa, United States. It is a contributing property of the Davenport Village Historic District that has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980. The fire station was individually listed on the Davenport Register of Historic Properties in 1993. It is one of two old fire stations on the east side of the city that are still in existence. The other one is Hose Station No. 3. The building sits adjacent to Lindsay Park and now houses the International Fire Museum.

  12. Plymouth County Museum

    Plymouth County Historical Museum is located in Le Mars, Iowa, United States. The building was originally Le Mars Central High School. The first school building in the city was constructed on this block in 1876. It was torn down in 1905 when the center part of this building was completed in 1905. The two-story, brick, Colonial Revival structure was designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Atchison and Edbrooke. Contractor for the project was John A. Huxtable of Le Mars. All 12 grades and the school district`s administration were housed in the building. The first addition made to the school was completed in 1924. Sympathetic in style to the original building, the addition was designed by Beuttler & Arnold of Sioux City, and constructed by Devereux and Olsen of Minneapolis. It runs south and then west of the 1905 building and includes the gymnasium and auditorium. The final addition was completed in 1952 by Nemmers Brothers of Le Mars. Built onto the north side of the original building, it is typical of the 1950s โ€œIndustrialโ€ style, and was designed by Beuttler as well. The senior high school was the first division to leave the building in 1965 when the present Le Mars High School was completed. The junior high school moved to its own building in 1972. The school district housed the elementary school in the 1952 addition until 1980 when it closed the building. The Plymouth County Historical Society occupies the 1924 addition, and utilizes the space for their local history museum. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

  13. Farm House Museum

    Troxel Hall by Vycl1994, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

    The Farm House, also known as the Knappโ€“Wilson House, is the oldest building on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. Now a museum open to the general public, this house was built 1861-65 as part of the model farm that eventually became Iowa State. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 for its association with agriculturist and teacher Seaman A. Knapp and with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture James Wilson, both of whom lived here while teaching at Iowa State.

  14. World Food Prize Hall of Laureates

    by , licensed under Public domain

    The Old Downtown Des Moines Library is a historic building in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, United States that was built in 1903. It was individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, and became a contributing property in the Civic Center Historic District in 1988. The building ceased to be a library in 2006 and now houses the Norman E. Borlaug | World Food Prize Hall of Laureates for the World Food Prize.

  15. George M Verity Riverboat Museum

    by , licensed under Public domain

    George M. Verity is a historic towboat now displayed as a museum ship in Keokuk, Iowa. Built in 1927 as SS Thorpe, she is nationally significant for being one of only three surviving steam-powered towboats in existence in the United States. She was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

  16. Buffalo Bill Museum

    by , licensed under Public domain

    The Buffalo Bill Museum, located in LeClaire, Iowa, is focused on life along the Mississippi River and local history. One exhibit is the Lone Star, a wooden, paddlewheel steam-powered towboat that is housed in a special pier. Local history exhibits include the story of famous people from LeClaire, including American West showman Buffalo Bill Cody, engineer James Buchanan Eads and inventor James Ryan. Professor James J. โ€œCrashโ€ Ryan (1903-1973), a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota was the inventor of the โ€œFlight Recorderโ€ invented in 1953; see U.S. Patent 2,959,459. The aviation recorder was initially named the โ€œGeneral Mills Flight Recorderโ€ and later the โ€œRyan Flight Data Recorderโ€. In December 1959, Professor Ryan filed a second patent application for a โ€œCoding Apparatus for Flight Recorders and the Likeโ€ approved as U.S. Patent 3,075,192 on January 22, 1963. An early prototype of the Ryan Flight Data Recorder is on display at the museum as described in the January 2013 Aviation History Magazine article โ€œFather of the Black Boxโ€ by Scott M. Fisher.Other exhibits include the Sauk and Fox Tribe, riverboat pilots, area pioneers, as well as area history and culture.

  17. Living Heritage Tree Museum

    The Living Heritage Tree Museum is located in the city of Storm Lake, Iowa, US. It is an open-air museum dedicated to heritage trees, situated in Sunset Park on West Lake Shore Drive. It was founded by Stan Lemaster and Theodore Klein. The museum collection includes descendants of trees with historical connections to Joan of Arc, Johnny Appleseed, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

  18. Stanley Museum of Art

    The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art is a visual arts institution that is part of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, United States. It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Since its inception, the museum has partnered in many teaching programs and research projects with the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History, and for several decades has sponsored the annual MFA show as well as the faculty exhibitions. Faculty from the SAAH and elsewhere, and graduate students on campus have curated shows at the Museum that are closely linked with their research, courses, and seminars. The teaching mission of the Stanley Museum of Art embraces the curriculum of the University of Iowa and extends throughout the state.

  19. Sergent Floyd River Museum

    Sergeant Floyd is a historic museum boat, serving as the Sergeant Floyd River Museum & Welcome Center at 1000 Larsen Park Road in Sioux City, Iowa. Built in 1932 as a utility vehicle and towboat, she is one of a small number of surviving vessels built specifically for the United States Army Corps of Engineers in its management of the nation`s inland waterways. The boat has been restored and drydocked, and now houses exhibits about the Missouri River and local tourism information. The museum is a facility of the Sioux City Public Museum. She was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

    • โฑOpening Hours: 10:00-16:00; PH off

    • ๐Ÿ“ˆPopularity Score: 1 /10

    • ๐Ÿ“Location: Map Directions

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