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“really informative, and stuff for kids too”

African American Museum of Iowa
Ranked #10 of 36 things to do in Cedar Rapids
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Owner description: The African American Museum of Iowa is a statewide museum dedicated to preserving, exhibiting, and teaching Iowa’s African American history. As Iowa’s leading educational resource on the topic, we educate more than 30,000 people each year through museum tours, traveling exhibits, research services, youth and adult education programs, and community and fundraising events.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

The exhibits are really thoughtful and professionally done. The main permanent exhibit might involve too much reading for kids, but was really interesting to us, and there was a lot we didn't know (for example, they were doing lunch-counter sit-ins in Iowa in 1948!). Some of the first-hand stories of Iowan African-Americans on the laminated cards are really gripping. The rotating exhibit about Africa before the boats was also informative and had lots of hands-on stuff for kids. There were masks and drums and cloths to handle, and a very sobering reconstructed slave-ship bunk you can lie in to give yourself a tiny, tiny taste of what that must have been like. Turns out they also run a summer camp for kids.

2  Thank mn_daytrip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 21, 2013

I didn't know what to expect when I stopped here, but I was impressed with the quality of the museum exhibits and the knowledgable staff. There was a good mix of visual and written documents to look at, as well as hands-on exhibits. It's not as large or well-funded as the Czech museum across the river, but it is a great addition to the city and to Iowa's history. Admission was worth it, and there weren't many other people around, so you could go through at your own pace. I don't think they get many visitors, actually, so definitely stop. The exhibits have something for everyone--sports history, civil rights, education, early Iowa history, etc. The special exhibit on West Africa was neat, too, with information on music, food, culture, and history.

2  Thank JP L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2013

I was impressed with the wide variety of exhibits and artifacts in this museum. There are wonderful murals too that make you feel as if you are standing right in the African village and that the people there could step out to meet you at any moment. Great hands-on exhibits for adults and children with a chance to play African musical instruments, work with African food, feel woven African cloth, and more. Instead of the usual museum "Do Not Touch" signs, there are lots of "Please Touch Me" signs. Opportunity for young and old to learn something about another culture.

1  Thank n1nna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 16, 2012

Great addition to Iowa. Highly recommend. The shows are sent around the state. The permanent collection is not yet large or deep,yet the curating is well done and most of the short mountings have been excellent.

Thank RMN123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 25, 2012

I visited the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids the other day and thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit related to the trials and tribulations experienced by African Americans in Iowa. As a history buff, I Iearned a great deal that I didn't previously know. I highly recommend this museum not only for student groups but for adults who want to learn more about the history of Iowa. Curator Lynn Koos has done an excellent job of planning and displaying the exhibit!

2  Thank Bob2335
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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