State Historical Museum

State Historical Museum, Des Moines: Hours, Address, State Historical Museum Reviews: 4.5/5

State Historical Museum
4.5
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Popular mentions

4.5
188 reviews
Excellent
108
Very good
53
Average
20
Poor
3
Terrible
4

ginsengNewYork
new york1,111 contributions
Jan 2020 • Solo
Very large museum whose interesting collection goes from prehistoric times to the 19th century.. Each hall has its own style and is beautiful.
However the wealth of information covering the history of this immense country is described in Russian only (very few sparse, meager English notes here and there) which makes it impossible for any foreigner to understand.
Even with the best of will, the whole experience is utterly frustrating.
So, either you learn thoroughly about the museum collection ahead of time, or you hire a good guide!
In addition to the huge main collection, the museum hosts several temporary exhibits next door: "Faberge" was one of them, unfortunately very small and not worth the extra money if you have already seen the Faberge masterpieces at the Kremlin Armoury Chamber.
I must admit that I found the 1812 Museum across the street (about Napoleon's invasion of Russia and Moscow, and his subsequent failure) much more interesting and accessible.
Written January 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

scott r
Silver Spring, MD533 contributions
Jul 2021
Accidental visit - wanted to see Terrance Hill but you have to book that in advance. Had time to kill and this proved to be an admirable place to do it. Comprehensive although at times slightly haphazard dissertation on all things Iowa - which is probably as it should be. A generalists generalist and thus a good overview. Lots of slice of life, lots of Civil War (indeed the desk starts you with this, I'd suggest you go in reverse order, or at least see top floor first), interesting exploration of Hollywood/Iowa connection. Really a good way to fill a couple of hours if you've got a break, are waiting for another tour, etc. But don't slight it, there is a lot here. Not 'geared' toward kids especially, but there is plenty to keep them entertained. Solid effort.
Written July 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

281cynthiam
Harrison, AR125 contributions
May 2015 • Couples
Free to the public but we were compelled to leave a donation because it's so good we wanted to contribute. Very well laid out, great exhibits and so much to see! We spent hours looking through everything. We especially enjoyed the Civil War and animal sections. So much history about Iowa and highly recommend for children. There was an entire section on Iowa celebrities and we were surprised at how many there are. The staff was very helpful with specific questions.
Written May 30, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

MuseumFan01
Des Moines, IA19 contributions
May 2015 • Family
This is NOT a family friendly museum and has absolutely nothing to offer in the way of engaging exhibits. Exceptionally poor signage (if you can find it). The parking lot entrance is on the opposite side of the building to the reception desk. In between was a big empty space with absolutely nothing. We felt like we walked into a closed building. There is not one single exhibit for toddlers or anyone under the age of 12. There is no orientation space, stroller storage, lockers, outdoor exhibits, programming or gift store. There were no staff about or interactives (at least functional) in the exhibits. The exhibits were dirty. My son actually started singing "Clean up. Clean up. Everybody everywhere" after seeing the dust monsters (not bunnies). However, the bathrooms were clean. Perhaps the museum staff needs lessons from the janitors?
Written June 24, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

FormerHoosier
Pella, IA161 contributions
Apr 2015 • Couples
Great displays on the Civil War and the history of the Iowa Coal mining industry. Well worth the trip and it's free!
Written April 23, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

TerMar1981
Kansas City, MO185 contributions
May 2013 • Couples
Plan on spending a good part of your day when you visit this museum. We were very impressed by the animal displays as well as the variety of the other exhibits. There really is something here for most tastes. The building was very easy to get around in, well lit and organized. There is no cost for admission, only donation if one feels so inclined. This is a must see when visiting the Des Moines, IA area.
Written June 7, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

miznina
camarillo, ca299 contributions
Jun 2017 • Family
This is museum is built on several levels, the highest of which has an outdoor terrace outside the museum's cafe. This terrace gives you a spectacular view of downtown Des Moines and particularly the capitol building. So.. great anytime, but on summer Fridays (between, I think, 11:30- 1:30) there are free music concerts. A great lunchtime treat.

Many others have talked about the fantastic exhibits. I can only add that my TEENAGE son was enthralled, and wanted to go back a second time. Can't say more than that, can you?
Written July 9, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

cupfar b
12 contributions
Aug 2016 • Family
We didn't get to enjoy the exhibits because we were busy, however, we were able to enjoy the location because it was the site of a wedding reception. The cafe terrace has such a beautiful view of the State Capitol building - we too so many family photos there on a bright sunny afternoon.

The guests were able to enjoy the exhibits. The temperature is not as cool compared to the heat outside, so slightly uncomfortable with lots of people. However, you're not really here for the cold temperature. It's tolerable. It's not usually a busy place, but it's another site to visit!
Written August 27, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Christine H
Ankeny, IA119 contributions
May 2014 • Couples
If you enjoy history and/or museums, this is a great place. I especially enjoyed learning about the Civil War - I'll definitely go back.
Written April 19, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

MStanwick
Iowa5 contributions
Sep 2013 • Friends
When the Iowa Historical Museum first opened, it was bright, vibrant & engaging. The building was well staffed with people that knew history and the artifacts. Lately, that is not the case. They've cleared out exhibits and the center area so they could rent the facility out for weddings and events for big money. This is a huge disappointment. They even removed the Duane & Floppy exhibit into storage... later claiming they intended to have Floppy evaluated in Nebraska. There's been no news since. Everyone is asking... Where's Floppy?
Written November 27, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 184
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Frequently Asked Questions about State Historical Museum

State Historical Museum is open:
  • Mon - Sat 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM


Restaurants near State Historical Museum: View all restaurants near State Historical Museum on Tripadvisor