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Old Capitol Museum, Iowa City

4.5
#2 of 12 in Things to do in Iowa City
For more than 150 years, Old Capitol has represented the pioneering spirit of Iowa and The University of Iowa. The last capitol of the Iowa territory, it served as Iowa's first state capitol from 1846 to 1857. When the state government moved to Des Moines in 1857, Old Capitol served as the University's first building and the founding place of many departments.

In 1976, Old Capitol became a National Historic Landmark and public museum. After fours years of recovery from a devastating fire in 2001 that destroyed the building's dome and cupola, Old Capitol Museum reopened in May 2006 as a vital cultural and educational resource for more than 30,000 visitors, researchers, and schoolchildren each year.

The Old Capitol Museum houses a gift shop, an educational Discovery Center where kids can learn about early Iowans with computer inter-actives, the Hanson Family Humanities Gallery, and the Keyes' Gallery for Arts, Humanities, and Sciences. The galleries house changing exhibits year round that explore a wide variety of themes. Throughout the year, the Museum also hosts a variety of lectures, films, workshops, and other educational programs related to its rotating exhibits and Iowa history.
Use our Iowa City trip itinerary builder to visit Old Capitol Museum on your trip to Iowa City, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Old Capitol Museum Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
126 reviews
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4.5
TripAdvisor
  • It was interesting to spend an afternoon here exploring life in mid 1800's. Exhibits include offices, chambers, speaker room, balcony, rare daguerreotypes, and kids corner. Building itself underwent s...  more »
  • this is a great example of a 19th Century state capital building. it moved out in 1860, but is very well preserved.  more »
  • Quaint and pretty. What is the value of the Museum as well. .. I don't know much free and once went into the tourist.
    View original
Google
  • Great spot to take visitors. Wish there were more exhibits like this around town to showcase the history of the place!
  • My husband and I just love this historic building. Be sure to check out the Iowa State Supreme Court chambers, some great law was created here.
  • Didn’t get to go inside as it was closed on Monday’s but it was a popular spot with lots of people hanging out.
  • Cool natural history museum with stuffed animals and such. Best is it is free.
  • A beautiful, historic building in the heart of the city. Go now!

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