Victorian Preservation Association - Not Just Victorians, But All Vintage Homes

Historic House Museums in Iowa

We try to keep this list of historic house museums for Iowa current, but it is best to check directly with the museums for their hours and other information. If you know of a historic house museum in Iowa that should be listed here, please use our submission form to let us know about it.

Ames

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The Farm House Museum

Iowa State University
290 Scheman Bldg.
Ames, IA  50011
Phone: (515) 294-7426

Year Built: 1860
Admission Price: Call for info
Hours: 12-4pm Mon-Fri during school sessions

The Farm House Museum boasts a large collection consisting of 19th and early 20th century decorative arts, furnishings and material culture reflecting Iowa State and Iowa heritage. Objects include furnishings from Carrie Chapman Catt and Charles Curtiss, a wide variety of quilts, a modest collection of textiles and apparel, and various china and glassware items. Entering the Farm House Museum and viewing these works of art is like stepping back in time to experience life during the early years of Iowa State College.

Boone

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Mamie Doud Eisenhower Birthplace

709 Carroll St.
Boone, IA  50036
Phone: (515) 432-1907

Year Built:
Admission Price: Adults $4, Children $1
Hours: 10-5pm Mon-Sat, Jun-Oct

Birthplace of First Lady, Mamie Doud Eisenhower, wife of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States & Five Star General During World War II.

Burlington

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Phelps House Museum

521 Columbia Street
Burlington, IA 
Phone: (319) 752-7449

Year Built:
Admission Price: Call for info
Hours: 1:30-4:30pm Sat-Sun, May-Oct

The beautiful Phelps House Museum stately graces the top of Snake Alley, known as the Crookedest street in the world. Family treasures from three generations of the Garret-Phelps family fill this Victorian Mansion home. Discover the Medical Memories of Burlington in the first Protestant Hospital in Des Moines County.

Cedar Falls

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The Victorian Home & Carriage House Museum

308 West 3rd Street
Cedar Falls, IA  50613
Phone: (319) 266-5149

Year Built: 1863
Admission Price: Call for info
Hours: Call for info

Azel D. Barnum, a contractor, built the house in 1863. Mr. Barnum designed the house in the Italianate style. Typical of this style is the square structure and the cupola. Today, the home is furnished with artifacts dating from 1880 - 1900.

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The Wyth House

303 Franklin St
Cedar Falls, IA  50613
Phone: (319) 266-5149

Year Built: 1907
Admission Price: Call for info
Hours: Call for info

In 1925, George and Alice Wyth moved into the house with their daughter, Dorothy, and their sons, Russell and Robert. George Wyth achieved his greatest prominence as a founder and first president of Viking Pump Company. In 1944 he retired as president and general manager. Both Russell and Robert were associated with the Viking Pump Company with Robert becoming president in 1944.

Cedar Rapids

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Brucemore

2160 Linden Drive SE
Cedar Rapids, IA  52403
Phone: (319) 362-7375

Year Built: 1884
Admission Price: Adults $7, Children $3
Hours: 10-3pm Tue-Sat, 12-3pm Sun, Mar-Dec

21 room Queen Anne mansion surrounded by rolling lawns, formal gardens, pool and pond. A National Trust property.

Clermont

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Montauk Historical Site

Half mile east of town on US18
Clermont, IA  52135
Phone: (563) 423-7173

Year Built: 1874
Admission Price: Call for info
Hours: See their web site

Journey into the past at the home of Iowa's 12th governor, William Larrabee and Anna Larrabee, his wife. Enjoy a guided tour to see and hear how the Larrabee family furnished and maintained this 1874 vintage brick and natural limestone mansion for more than 100 years. All of the furnishings are original to the house. the State Historical Society of Iowa owns and preserves Montauk which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is designated as a State Preserve.

Clinton

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Curtis Mansion

420 5th Avenue South
Clinton, IA 
Phone: (563) 242-8556

Year Built:
Admission Price: Call for info
Hours: Call for info

This restored Victorian home of Lumber Baron George M. Curtis is a fine example of period architecture with its original Tiffany glass windows, delicately carved banisters, ornate wood trim and massive fireplaces.

Council Bluffs

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The Historic General Dodge House

605 Third Street
Council Bluffs, IA  51503
Phone: (712) 322-2406

Year Built: 1869
Admission Price: Adults $7, Seniors $5, Students $3
Hours: 10-5pm Tue-Sat, 1-5pm Sun

In 1869, Dodge built his handsome Victorian home at 605 Third Street at the cost of $35,000, a lavish sum for that day. The fourteen-room, three-story mansion stands on a high terrace overlooking the Missouri Valley, and displays such architectural features as parquet floors, cherry, walnut and butternut woodwork, and a number of "modern" conveniences quite unusual for the period.

Dakota City

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Humboldt County Historical Museum

one mile east on County Road P
Dakota City, IA  50529
Phone: (515) 332-5280

Year Built: 1878
Admission Price: $5
Hours: 10-4 Mon-Tue & Thu-Sat, 1:30-4pm Sun, May-Sep

The museum complex contains the Mill Farm House, a barn, log cabin,schoolhouse and other small buildings. The 13 room farm house was built in 1879 and is decorated with Victorian furnishings.

Decorah

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The Porter House Museum

401 West Broadway St.
Decorah, IA  52101
Phone: (563) 382-8465

Year Built: 1867
Admission Price: Call for info
Hours: Call for info

This house museum illustrates the life and times of it's owners, Adelbert and Grace Porter, with their personal furnishings, collections, art work, photographs, and library. A.F. Porter's collection of exotic butterflies is the focal point of the museum, and "the Porters' story" is closely tied to Bert's work as a naturalist and photographer.

Des Moines

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Hoyt Sherman Place

1501 Woodland Ave.
Des Moines, IA  500309
Phone: (512) 244-0507

Year Built: 1877
Admission Price: See their web site
Hours: See their web site

Nestled on the eastern edge of the historic Sherman Hill district in Des Moines, Iowa, Hoyt Sherman Place boasts one of Des Moines' most magnificent entertainment, banquet and meeting facilities. Built in 1877 by prominent pioneer businessman Hoyt Sherman, the elegant family home is graced with marble fireplaces, parquet floors and a carved mahogany entryway. Expanded over the years, the building also includes an impressive and elegant art gallery as well as grand and historic theater.

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The Wallace House

756 Sixteenth Street,
Des Moines, IA  50314
Phone: (515) 243-7063

Year Built: 1883
Admission Price: Donation
Hours: 9-2pm Tue-Fri or by appt.

The Wallace House is the home of Uncle Henry Wallace; publisher of Wallaces' Farmer; his son, Henry C. Wallace, was US Secretary of Agriculture, 1921-1924; his grandson, Henry A. Wallace, was US Secretary of Agriculture, 1933-1940, US Vice-President, 1940-1944 and ran for President in 1948. House Museum shares the legacy of the Wallaces of public service and its impact on agriculture and community life.

Dubuque

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Mathias Ham House

2241 Lincoln Avenue
Dubuque, IA 
Phone: (563) 557-9545

Year Built: 1856
Admission Price: Adults $5, Children $3.50
Hours: 11-4pm Wed-Sun, Memorial Day to Labor Day

The stately country villa stands today as a living reflection of its wealthy builder. Inside the homes elegant American and European furnishings exemplify the opulent Victorian lifestyle of a booming river town during the antebellum period. John F. Rague designed this distinctive example of the Italian Villa style of architecture. As architect for the Old State Capitols of Illinois and Iowa, Rague's buildings were known for their monumental scale and elegance.

Grinnell

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Grinnell Historical Museum

1125 Broad Street
Grinnell, IA  50112
Phone: (641) 236-7827

Year Built: 1895
Admission Price: Donations
Hours: See their web site

This authentically furnished late-Victorian 10-room residence built in 1895, exhibits artifacts and photographs from Grinnell's history, among them the Wooten desk of J.B. Grinnell, the town's founder.

Independence

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Cedar Rock

2611 Quasqueton Diagonal Blvd.
Independence, IA  50644
Phone: (319) 934-3572

Year Built: 1950
Admission Price: See their website
Hours: See their website

The Walter house is an example of a simplified style of house Frank Lloyd Wright developed and called "Usonian". The plan for the Walter house follows the characteristic "tadpole" form, typical of Wright's Usonian homes - the bedroom wing of the house constituting the tail of the "tadpole" and the living/dining room the head. The house is one story and the overall length is about 150 feet. Everything about the Walter residence is compact and efficient - everything, that is, but the combination living/dining room which Wright called "the Garden Room". The Garden Room covers more than 900 square feet and has a fireplace which can hold five-foot logs.

Lake Mills

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Lake Mills Area Historical Society

202 S. Lincoln Street
Lake Mills, IA  50450
Phone: (641) 590-1871

Year Built: 1901
Admission Price: Call for info
Hours: Call for info

The Lake Mills Area Historical Society has purchased a very nice 1901 Queen Anne Victorian Home and are in the process of turning it into a museum to preserve local furnishings and traditions along with stories of the home when it was a rest home and also a hospital.

Lamoni

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Liberty Hall

1138 W. Main
Lamoni, IA  50140
Phone: (641) 784-6133

Year Built: 1881
Admission Price: Free
Hours: 10-4pm Tue-Sat, 1:30-4pm Sun. Closed Jan-Feb

Liberty Hall was built in 1881 and until 1905 was home to Joseph Smith III, church president from 1860-1914. The church was headquartered in Lamoni, and Liberty Hall was a center of social and religious life for the community. According to Joseph III, "Liberty Hall throbbed with life, teeming with the bustling activities of a large and growing family. Birth, death, and marriage occurred within its walls . . . joys and sorrows succeeded each other as days the nights."

Mason City

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MacNider Art Museum

303 Second Street SE
Mason City, IA  50401
Phone: (641) 422-9612

Year Built:
Admission Price: Free
Hours: 9-5pm Tue-Sat, 9am-9pm Thu

The English tudor style mansion houses a permanent collection of 19th and 20th century American art.

Oskaloosa

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Nelson Pioneer Farm & Museum

2211 Nelson Lane
Oskaloosa, IA  52577
Phone: (641) 672-2989

Year Built: 1853
Admission Price: See their website
Hours: See their website

Founded in 1844, the Nelson homestead is one of the premier historic attractions in Mahaska County. The Nelson home, built in 1853, and the Nelson barn, built in 1856, are the focal point of the museum and are designated National Historic Sites by the U.S. Department of Interior.

Pella

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Pella Historical Village

507 Franklin St.
Pella, IA  50219
Phone: (641) 628-4311

Year Built:
Admission Price: See their website
Hours: See their website

The Historical Village Complex is the restoration project of the Pella Historical Society. Twenty-four buildings surround a courtyard with red brick walkways, blossoming trees, and beautiful tulip gardens. Some of the buildings have been on the site for more than 150 years; others were moved in and restored.

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Scholte House

728 Washington St.
Pella, IA  50219
Phone: (641) 628-4311

Year Built: 1848
Admission Price: See their website
Hours: See their website

The home of Pella's founder, Dominie H.P. Scholte contains its original furnishings.

Urbandale

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Living History Farms

11121 Hickman Road
Urbandale, IA  50322
Phone: (515) 278-5286

Year Built: 1870
Admission Price: See their website
Hours: See their website

The 600 acre agriculture museum includes among many structures a Victorian mansion.

Winterset

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Madison County Historical Complex

815 South Second Ave.
Winterset, IA  505273
Phone: (515) 462-2134

Year Built: 1856
Admission Price: See their website
Hours: See their website

The complex includes the 1856 Bevington-Kaser House.

Victorian Preservation Association - P.O. Box 586 - San Jose, CA 95106-0586 - Email:info@vpa.org

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