The 10 Best Museums in Iowa!

Whether you are looking for an explorative afternoon indoors, or you want to deepen your knowledge about the world around you, the state of Iowa has a lot of great museums to take you back to the past. If it’s an in-depth look at the ever-changing trucking industry that you’re seeking, or a visit to the birthplace of one of Hollywood’s most famous cowboys, Iowa has something for you. Check out these 10 best museums in Iowa.

1. Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA

The Figge Art Museum in Davenport has one of the most robust collections of art and media in the state, including an impressive Grant Wood archive that celebrates and shows the life of this famous Iowa artist. Among the many rotating exhibits and architecturally interesting wings of the Figge Art Museum, you can find Rembrandts, colonial artwork and plenty of educational and learning opportunities to deepen your love for the finer things in life.

2. Iowa Children’s Museum, Iowa City, IA

While the Iowa Children’s Museum in Iowa City was built with adolescence in mind, parents can also find pleasure from the intricately designed kid’s exhibits and programs. From the Notion of Motion playroom to the CityWorks interactive Children’s Hospitable studio, the Iowa Children’s Museum has ample space for all types of constructive and engaging learning.

3. Iowa 80 Trucking Museum, Walcott, IA

With two major interstates dissecting the state of Iowa in quarters (I-80 & I-35), it makes sense that Iowa also has one of the most in-depth trucking museums in the country. With over 100 trucks in collection, and at least 60 always on display, you can jump back in time at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum and see for yourself the long way society has come when it comes to transporting goods and trucking.

4. National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, Dubuque, IA

Split between historical and living collections, the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium is one of the most popular museums in Iowa, and for good reason. With a whole host of visual and educational displays, including every gamut of wildlife supported by the Mississippi River and historical records of the people who relied on the river for their livelihood, the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium can keep you busy all weekend long.

5. National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library, Cedar Rapids, IA

Though some may not associate Iowa with a prominent Czech and Slovak population, the National Czech & Slovak Museum (NCSML) in Cedar Rapids shines a light on a rich community by tying stories of the past to the relevance of current times. Celebrating more than the Czech and Slovak heritage in Iowa, the NCSML tells the whole turbulent story of the Czech and Slovak culture, informing every visitor as they walk through the doors.

6. John Wayne Birthplace and Museum, Winterset, IA

Perhaps one of the most iconic Iowans out there, John Wayne made a major dent on the movie scene, and you can see his humble beginnings by visiting the John Wayne Birthplace and Museum in Winterset. While visiting this historical marker, you can tour the restored childhood home of this famous movie cowboy, and with the adjacent 6,100 square-foot museum next door, you can see the rise and shining star of the legend that is “the Duke.”

7. Union Pacific Railroad Museum, Council Bluffs, IA

Featuring the acclaimed “America Travels by Rail” exhibit, this amazing museum brings to life the last 85 years of rail travel that has defined the state of Iowa and surrounding country. Alongside the rail cars, the Union Pacific Railroad Museum also features a homage to Abraham Lincoln, who in 1862 signed the Pacific Railway Act, earning him the accreditation of being the father of the Union Pacific.

8. Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, West Branch, IA

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is situated on the grounds of the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in West Branch, Iowa. It is one of 13 presidential libraries run by the National Archives and Records Administration. With a variety of exhibits on rotation, you can always see the historic Herbert Hoover galleries. The collection of works thoroughly illustrates the 31st president’s life and career in office.

9. Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum & Heritage Center, Decorah, IA

With over 25,000 pieces of folk art, fine art, furnishings, clothing and tools that celebrate the pioneers who first settled this area, the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum & Heritage Center is living history waiting for you to explore. Celebrating the culture and identity of some of the first Norwegians to immigrate to the United States, this center is ripe for all backgrounds and interests to explore.

10. Iowa Aviation Museum, Greenfield, IA

Besides housing a wide array of historic and vintage aircrafts, the Iowa Aviation Museum in Greenfield is also home to the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame which features prominent people who have significantly shaped the way we travel by air. Featuring airplanes dating back to 1929, ancient gunships and a 1975 Easy Rider Glider, even if you’re not an airplane aficionado, the airplanes on display will fill anyone’s interest.

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4423 Wynnewood Drive,, Cedar Falls, IA
Organizational History Conversations concerning the need for a state museum association began in October 1974.  The organizational meeting of... Read More
715 D Avenue, Kalona, IA
Mission: Promoting the history and culture of our area by educating the public on the value of preservation and interpretation. Read More
1 Sprint Capital Place, Knoxville, IA
The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in the state of Iowa on April 25, 1986, for t... Read More
1 Museum Road, Fort Dodge, IA
About Us The Fort Museum and Fort Trading Post is the first and finest attraction in highlighting the past and present history of Northwest Iowa. ... Read More
920 Third Avenue South, Fort Dodge, IA
Mission:The mission of the Blanden Art Museum and the Blanden Charitable Foundation is to inspire and nurture education in and appreciation of the ... Read More
119 SW 9th St, Clarion, IA
Clarion is the county seat of Wright County in north central Iowa. A century of agricultural machinery is on display in the north building of the m... Read More
410-414 Main St, Griswold, IA
The Cass County Historical Museum is on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been completely restored and redecorated. It reopened in... Read More
2251 Airport Road, Greenfield, IA
The Iowa Aviation Museum celebrates Iowa's remarkable aviation heritage... from the first recorded flight in 1910 to its native sons and daughters ... Read More
2393 South Lakeview Drive, Greenfield, IA
History: Established in 1986, the Adair County Heritage Museum is a five-acre complex dedicated to preserving and display- in the history of Adair... Read More
515 East Jefferson Street, Corydon, IA
About Explore Our Trail of Heritage through 150 years of living in the Heart of America's Prairie! Read More
301 SouthWest Third Street, Ankeny, IA
Mission: The Ankeny Area Historical Society is established to collect and secure artifacts and historical records representing Ankeny, Alleman, Bo... Read More
125 N Madison St, Iowa City, IA
The Stanley Museum of Art welcomes the University of Iowa community, all Iowans, and the world to discover and enjoy extraordinary works of art, ex... Read More
970 Tenth Street, Marion, IA
The Granger House Museum is the only restored middle-class family home in the area, representing the American Victorian era. The house, built in th... Read More
503 South Street, Waterloo, IA
Mission: The mission of the Grout Museum District is to provide a better understanding of our world by collecting, preserving and interpreting his... Read More
101 2nd St SE, Elkader, IA
Mission Statement: The mission of the Elkader Historical Society is to both preserve a record of local history and to promote the public's interes... Read More
410 Third Avenue Southeast, Cedar Rapids, IA
Mission Statement The mission of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art is to excite, engage, and educate through the arts.   Read More
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