University of Iowa

Museum of Natural History

Classroom Visits

Want to visit the museum but don't have the time or resources? Our education and outreach coordinator can offer programs on archaeology, ecology, and geology to formal and informal groups at schools, libraries, museums, and other community organizations. This presentations can be supplemented with the use of items from our Discovery Trunks.

Permanent Exhibits

Exhibit spaces allow our visitors to discover our natural world and man's role in it. Journey through 500 million years of our state's geological, cultural, and ecological history in Iowa Hall. Explore the adaptation and diversity of mammals from aardvark to zebra in Mammal Hall, and take flight as you discover more than 1,000 birds in Hageboeck Hall of Birds. Discover Iowa's gateway to our global environment in the Biosphere Discovery Hub. All museum exhibit spaces are free and open to the public.

Museum Tours & Field Trips

The Museum offers guided tours of Iowa Hall year-round. Tours are 45 minutes in length. Tours are led by trained docents who deliver engaging presentations about the many aspects of Iowa’s geology, archaeology, and ecology represented in the Museum. If your group would like to visit the gift shop, please allow extra time before or after your tour. Groups are encouraged to visit Hageboeck Hall of Birds and Mammal Hall for self-guided tours. All tours are free, as is museum admission. The museum requests that you call to schedule your tour at least a week before the desired date.

UI Explorers Seminar

Our "Science Cafe"-style Explorers Seminars feature interdisciplinary public lectures by researchers from the University of Iowa and beyond who explore science, the environment, prehistory, culture, and the interactions of such topics. A cross-section of UI departments are represented in the series each semester, including Anthropology, Geoscience, Environmental Science, Geography, Biological Sciences, and Engineering. Explorers seminars generally take place the third Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. in the Museum’s Biosphere Discovery Hub.

Night at the Museum

Trek through the Museum of Natural History after dark for a fun evening of discovery! Each month, we explore a different area of science, technology, history, and culture with interactive demonstrations, fun activities, and hands-on materials. Each child will receive an official MNH Miner Helmet with head lamp to keep, and the group will traverse the darkened mammal gallery as part of the evening’s activities. Museum staff, volunteers, and occasionally UI scientists and scholars lead each program.

Discovery Trunks

Discovery Trunks are traveling teaching trunks, containing objects, artifacts, books, DVDs, activities, and lesson plans, and are ideal for educators who want hands-on materials and lessons that fit core teaching goals about Iowa's cultural and natural history. Trunks help develop student's scientific, cultural, and historical literacy. The trunk program has been developed by the Pentacrest Museums (Old Capitol Museum and Museum of Natural History), Office of the State Archaeologist, and Paleontology Repository. We continue to expand the trunk program to meet the needs of Iowa's educators.