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Buffalo Bill Museum, Le Claire

4.1
#3 of 9 in Things to do in Le Claire
The museum houses Buffalo Bill memorabilia, the wood-hulled steamboat "Lone Star" (the last working one of its kind on the Mississippi River; listed on the National Historic Register), riverboat pilot exhibits, Sauk and Fox tribe artifacts, and displays of pioneer life from the region. It also featues exhibits on two "famous sons" - - James Eads, the world famous engineer of the Eads Bridge in St.Louis, MO; and James Ryan, the inventor of the Flight Data Recorder or the "black box."
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Buffalo Bill Museum Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
241 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • This is an interesting place to visit. I was expecting more Buffalo Bill artifacts. It did have a lot of various historical items that were fun to view. Pretty chilly looking at the steam boat. Didn’t...  more »
  • Not sure about the name of the museum as Buffalo Bill paraphernalia and info takes up only about 10% of this museum, so as long as you go into it knowing that you’ll enjoy it more! There’s information...  more »
  • Stopped in with my husband and my 84 year old father. We were there about an hour - so much to see. The volunteers at the front desk are very nice and can answer any questions that you have. Definitel...  more »
Google
  • While it calls itself the Buffalo Bill Museum and does have a good cache of Bill artifacts, it's more like a museum of LaClaire (BB was born here). It's got a lot of stuff from other notable townspeople, and has the preserved remains of one of the longest serving paddle wheel boats. You can walk around and take it in. Not a bad museum on the whole, but understand what you're going to see as it's not all Bill.
  • Interesting and fun museum. Buffalo Bill and much more. Family/kid friendly. Enjoyed our visit.
  • It's amazing how many different themes the exhibits portray. Of course there are many artifacts, photos, and displays about native son Buffalo Bill Cody's life, including firearms used during that period. Because his life included such things as the Civil war, Army Scout during the westward expansion of the US, buffalo hunter, and his Wild West show, all of these things are covered. But LeClaire, Iowa and nearby areas were originally home to Native Americans. Their history and lives are also covered. These include the United State' 1832 war with Chief Black Hawk of the Sac Indian tribe, which included battles in the area. LeClaire was also home to generations of Mississippi River boat pilots and boat builders during the era of the steam boat. Many exhibits deal with this history, and the highlight is the display of the actual steam-powered Lone Star riverboat, which was built in 1890 and worked in the area until the 1960s. The boat is enclosed within the building to preserve it and allow viewing it year round. You can tour the boat and see mechanical components such as boilers, engines, pumps, etc, as well as the pilot house and crew's quarters. Other displays include pioneer and rural farm life, early industrial and commercial history of the area, weapons and uniforms of wars (including the Civil War, WWI, WWII), women's clothing from the early 1900s, and aircraft 'black box' flight recorders and automobile safety features invented by native son and engineer James Ryan Jr. The museum also has an archive section for research into many of the topics on display. It really is unusual to find such a fine museum in a small town, and thousands of people visit it each year.
  • A nice museum. Staffed by older women who seemed more interested in their knitting. But the history exhibit is pretty cool. And the restored boat was really neat. Spent about 2 hours there. Lots to read. Easy parking right there. I imagine it would be a good place to take kids because there is a fairly large about of visual displays too.
  • It was Buffalo Bills birthday and we were able to join the celebration and had free admission for the occasion. Great visit!!
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