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.

Select a Iowa town to find the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you
Visit a Museum Near You
Enter City / State or Zip code below
Select your town to find the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you:

Adair County

Adams County

Allamakee County

Appanoose County

Audubon County

Benton County

Black Hawk County

Boone County

Bremer County

Buchanan County

Buena Vista County

Butler County

Calhoun County

Carroll County

Cass County

Cedar County

Cerro Gordo County

Cherokee County

Chickasaw County

Clarke County

Clay County

Clayton County

Clinton County

Crawford County

Dallas County

Davis County

Decatur County

Delaware County

Des Moines County

Dickinson County

Dubuque County

Emmet County

Fayette County

Floyd County

Franklin County

Fremont County

Greene County

Grundy County

Guthrie County

Hamilton County

Hancock County

Hardin County

Harrison County

Henry County

Howard County

Humboldt County

Ida County

Iowa County

Jackson County

Jasper County

Jefferson County

Johnson County

Jones County

Keokuk County

Kossuth County

Lee County

Linn County

Louisa County

Lucas County

Lyon County

Madison County

Mahaska County

Marion County

Marshall County

Mills County

Mitchell County

Monona County

Monroe County

Montgomery County

Muscatine County

Obrien County

Osceola County

Page County

Palo Alto County

Plymouth County

Pocahontas County

Polk County

Pottawattamie County

Poweshiek County

Ringgold County

Sac County

Scott County

Shelby County

Sioux County

Story County

Tama County

Taylor County

Union County

Van Buren County

Wapello County

Warren County

Washington County

Wayne County

Webster County

Winnebago County

Winneshiek County

Woodbury County

Worth County

Wright County