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“A delight!”
Review of Music Man Square

Music Man Square
Columbia
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“A delight!”
Reviewed November 7, 2013

This is an excellent attraction that will appeal to all ages. We went there because of positive reviews on Tripadvisor, and we were delighted with every aspect of it. Initially, my husband went just to please me, but he was as delighted as I was by it. The museum square attractively replicates many important sites in the musical and contains a highly interesting museum dedicated to Meredith Wilson. We learned much about this remarkable, admirable man. At his boyhood home which is adjacent to the museum building we had one of the best tours ever encountered in all our travels. Our guide was very knowledgeable, virtually the entire house is included in tour, and the original furnishings remain. It gives an excellent indication of life during that period. Highly recommended and a great bargain!

Visited August 2013
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2 Thank 45traveler45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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129 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Waterloo, Iowa
Level 5 Contributor
87 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“An amazing tribute to a native son”
Reviewed October 3, 2013

Kudos to Mason City for creating this impressive display and museum. And then have the foresight to place it next to his boyhood home. Meredith Willson was a brilliant musician and composer that had an extensive career on stage, in movies and on television. I am sure that most Iowans don't appreciate him as they should, once they attend the Music Man Square and museum they will.
When we arrived we were met shortly after entering by Norm, an enthusiastic guide. He made sure we made note of everything that was on the streetscape and then took us into the even more impressive museum. First, he made sure we watched the documentary on the making of The Music Man movie hosted by Shirley Jones. Definitely a "must do". Then he pointed out several items in the museum that we would not have caught. The little theatre fronted by Charlie Chaplin was a cute addition here.
At 4pm ( the last tour of the day ) Norm hustled us over to the boyhood home of Willson that at first glance appeared to be similar to most homes built in the early part of the 20th century. But, there our perpetually youthful guide pointed out several unique features. In fact, she pointed out some of them twice. This home was quite large and had more rooms and charm than one would expect. She even started up the old Victrola which to me was quite a treat. We even were able to go up to the attic where Meredith's sister Dixie ( an accomplished woman in her own right) would write her books.
This whole complex was a sum greater than it's parts as when you put the whole package together you realize what a fantastic achievement Mason City has pulled off.
As the excellent reviewer below me has stated the $6 admission fee is quite the bargain. So bring your camera and give yourself more time than you might expect as this experience will definitely surprise you.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank dennis k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marietta, Georgia
Level 6 Contributor
185 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
“Far Exceeded Expectations”
Reviewed September 8, 2013

This was probably the best $6 I've ever spent on an attraction. I expected something hokey, because they feature false fronts of stores and sites from the movie "Music Man." Instead, my wife and I discovered a wonderful museum, replete with often forgotten musical instruments of the last two centuries, and a compelling history of Mason City native Meredith Willson, who was born at home in the house just a few steps away from the Music Man Square itself. I've been in a more than a few historical homes at my age--Ulysses Grant in Galena, Illinois, John Wayne in southwest Iowa (--he and his parents moved away at age 5 and apparently not a single family relic was left behind), but the Willson house was by far the best visit we've ever had. The ageless guide, Marlene, was wonderful, very informative, and the house, far larger than I had expected since Willson's father, before he deserted the family, was a successful turn-of-the century lawyer. The period artifacts are impressive--there are surprises at every turn, up and down each stairwell. (--the house tour is included in that single $6 ticket...) But the museum is a marvel in itself. I spent one year in Mason City and graduated from the local high school, but I never knew until now that native son Meredith Willson played piccolo with the John Sousa Band or that he was a flautist with the New York Philharmonic long before he wrote "Music Man." And another tidbit: did you know the studio had to conceal Marian the Librarian's pregnancy during the making of the movie? I was back in Mason City this fall only because my graduating class of 1955 was having its 76th reunion--we all turn 76 years old during the current year. Aptly, we began the evening's dinner with the high school band members showing up to play "76 Trombones...." It made for a great weekend, and all the more appreciated by the heritage preserved at the Music Man Square. It's hard to believe the $6 ticket there was the smallest expenditure of the weekend, and the one of the greatest value.

Visited September 2013
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3 Thank oaktownboy_37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mason City, Iowa
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
“Worth your time!”
Reviewed August 6, 2013

Viewing the streetscape, museum and Meredith Willson's boyhood home with friendly, knowledgeable guides makes for a very enjoyable afternoon. You won't want to have to hurry, so come early. They open at 1:00 every day but Monday.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank 410smh557
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Iowa
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“fun for younger kids”
Reviewed July 30, 2013

Great place to see the old way of living and the Music Man museum was fun to visit. The kids enjoyed ice cream from an old school ice cream fountain and we enjoyed the radio broadcasting exhibit.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank Iowa5kids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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