University of Iowa

Old Capitol Museum

Classroom Visits

Our education and outreach coordinator makes presentations to schools, libraries, and other groups. Have an interest in Iowa history but can't make it to the museum? An educator can discuss various topics in Iowa's past with your students, using items from our Discovery Trunks to supplement the experience. Contact us to learn how we can come visit you.

Temporary Exhibits

The Old Capitol Museum hosts a variety of temporary exhibits in the Keyes Gallery for Arts, Humanities, & Sciences, the Hanson Humanities Gallery, and the Second Floor Rotunda. Exhibits typically run for 3-9 months and often highlight creative activity and research in other UI departments. Previous exhibit topics have included: Iowa's Ice Age Giants, the History of the Berlin Wall, Food Culture in Iowa, and Arab Spring.

Permanent Exhibits

The Old Capitol Museum features permanent exhibits which are free and open to the public during museum hours. Permanent exhibits include restored historic rooms such as the House Chamber, the Treasurer's Office, the State Library, and the Senate Chamber. These spaces have been restored to look as they did in the 1840s when the building served as the Capitol of Iowa or as they did in the 1920s when the office served as the UI's central administratice building.

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.

Museum Tours & Field Trips

Old Capitol Museum offers a one-hour tour of the restored and rejuvenated building. Tours are free during regular hours, but must be scheduled in advance. Tours are scheduled at 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 (with additional tour times on Thursday evenings). Each tour block can fit up to 30 visitors. Groups that cannot be accommodated in a single block must split into multiple groups. Our tour coordinator will help you determine the best arrangement for your group.

Piano Sundays

Featuring the University of Iowa's amazing talent in a unique and inspiring setting, Piano Sundays present the finest of students in addition to the noted School of Music Piano Area faculty. Supported by West Music and the University of Iowa School of Music.

National History Day

NHD in Iowa promotes the study of history by creating a higher degree of appreciation for the value of historical thought in the students, educators, and community members who participate. Old Capitol Museum is proud to host the National History Day in Iowa District 10 competition. The competition is typically held around the third week of March, during the University of Iowa's spring break.