Monday, January 30, 2012

Let classic and modern works of art inspire you, and history engage you, on a visit to an Iowa museum.

At the Figge Art Museum, with its expansive views of Davenport’s Mississippi riverfront, art fans will find an outstanding collection of Haitian art, given new prominence two years after the region’s devastating earthquake. The Figge’s other current exhibits feature a WPA artist, and children’s book illustrations.

The Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs celebrates 150 years of the Union Pacific Railroad in 2012. One collection of note is the Abraham Lincoln Collection, encompassing artifacts from the 16th president’s life and death. The nearby historic home of Civil War general Grenville Dodge, a railroad builder, is open for tours.

For the past 50 years, the life and accomplishments of Herbert Hoover have been documented and celebrated at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, Museum, and Historic Site in West Branch, Hoover’s birthplace and boyhood home. Temporary exhibits relating to American history are always on display – currently you can learn about the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts of America. Lou Henry Hoover, wife of the president, served as president of the national organization twice.

The campus of Iowa State University in Ames offers rich cultural experiences. The Brunnier Art Museum is known for a notable collection of decorative arts such as ceramics, glass, dolls, ivory, jade, and enameled metals. The Christian Petersen Art Museum is named for the resident sculptor who founded the Art on Campus collection. The Farm House is a National Historic Site. And don’t miss Reiman Gardens, a living museum of plants and flowers with a dramatic glass butterfly wing housing hundreds of free-flying butterflies.

Find all of Iowa’s art and history museums online at or in the Iowa Travel Guide. Order your free copy today or browse the pages of the digital guide.

Kathy Bowermaster, Iowa Tourism Office

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