Visit the State Historical Museum of Iowa

The State Historical Museum of Iowa is a wonderful place. Visit frequently…

  • by yourself
  • with your children
  • with your grandchildren

Use any excuse.

They are quite pleased to tell you that they are open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s a credit to them; they serve the public first.

The museum has permanent exhibits and changing exhibits, and they are all very well done. One exhibit that seems to be a sure hit traces the history of people in Iowa and their connections to our natural resources. That’s where the buffalo above is found, along with loons, foxes, raptors, and other Iowa creatures.

When you first enter the museum, you are greeted by a mammoth skeleton. When I was there Tuesday that prompted the question, “Was it really that big?” Mammoths ranged from 9′ to 15′ tall and roamed the Midwest during the Ice Age. Read up at the museum’s site or go see for yourself.

There are also artifacts and modern representations of Native American cultures including a walkthrough bark shelter. While I went through it four times in both directions, my unofficial 7-year-old guide was leading a fast-paced tour, and some of the details have escaped me – a decent docent nonetheless.

If you like local history Patten’s Neighborhood is terrific.

I went to the museum on Tuesday for the Irish Fest and did something for the first time: I got a green stegosaurus spray-painted on my face. I thought it matched my personality.

State Historical Museum of Iowa

Keep posted about the goings-on at the State Historical Museum. Until you get there, you won’t know how good it is – so go.

  • visit the museum
  • visit the gift shop
  • use their archives
  • use their libraries and special collections
  • check out the education resources
  • visit their remote historic sites away from Des Moines
  • check out their historic preservation program
  • read their publications
  • volunteer and get involved
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