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State Historical Museum

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 600 E Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50319-1006
Phone Number:
+1 515-281-5111

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 133 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 79
  • 33
    Very good
  • 14
  • 2
  • 4
From Coal Trains to Musicals

Exhibits are well developed and fun for all ages. And no admission fee. Can't beat that. Kids get a scavenger hunt sheet that encourages them to pay attention to the details... read more

Reviewed 8 February 2016
Des Moines, Iowa
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133 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 132: English reviews
Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
286 reviews
106 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 February 2016

Exhibits are well developed and fun for all ages. And no admission fee. Can't beat that. Kids get a scavenger hunt sheet that encourages them to pay attention to the details throughout. The main hall feels a little cavernous and empty, so don't let that turn you off. The exhibits are plentiful and are off to the side. We especially... More 

Thank spanishpeeks
Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
128 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 January 2016 via mobile

I had never been there and it was relaxing. I enjoyed the different sites there. The employees there knew their information if asked. Grew up with Dawyne Elloit and Floppy. Pictures of Mr. Elloit, and actually saw Floppy. Heard how Floppy got his name. Sorry won't share that, you will need to there and found out. They had great items... More 

Thank Scuba132
Level Contributor
18 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 December 2015

I usually go to the museum a few time a year when I have international guest they enjoy the look at Iowa history an I usually see something I have missed on previous visits.

Thank zztopfanman
Forsyth, Missouri
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviewed 29 November 2015

We come here every time we are in Des Moines, the kids love it. It's really nice to take them somewhere they can learn

Thank Rachel W
Severna Park, Maryland
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 November 2015

This museum has everything you could want in a state history museum. Great movie history and politics exhibit, as well as more general history exhibits. The movie exhibit would have benefitted from more scholarly perspectives--since most of the movies cited the same scholar--but it was a thought-provoking and a unique concept anyway. I wish more of the interactive features worked,... More 

Thank saget1
Covington, Louisiana
Level Contributor
5 reviews
Reviewed 14 November 2015

This museum is an interesting place to visit offering varieties of subjects relating to Iowa, including Civil War relics and information, animals native to the state, politics, a movies history section, etc. Historically interesting and very kid friendly.

Thank Janet S
Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviewed 13 November 2015

We went to the new Caucus display and it was very nice. A lot of interesting information about the history of the caucuses in Iowa.

Thank ShellyPB
Level Contributor
252 reviews
116 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 November 2015

All Iowans should stop through this museum sometime in their lifetime. Thr staff has done a wonderful job of telling Iowa's story with intriguing artifacts and excellent programming. A+

Thank Jason R
Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
Reviewed 12 November 2015

The HIstorical museum does a great job of displaying a variety of exhibits. They are interesting and thought provoking.

Thank Amy M
Springfield, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
88 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 October 2015

My husband and I spent a couple of hours here going through the exhibits at a leisurely pace, then returned the next day to see the rest. Even then we didn't get to see quite everything. We found the the extensive materials and displays related to early Iowa and the section on preservation techniques especially interesting. Should be something here... More 

Thank travelerneedsclean

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Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of State Historical Museum and other visitors
1 question
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San Diego Ca
23 days ago

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?