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“Background of the button factories in Muscatine”

Muscatine History and Industry Center
Ranked #2 of 16 things to do in Muscatine
Attraction details
Reviewed July 29, 2013

Loved seeing the history of muscatine and being the Pearl Button factory of the world. It's a hidden, unknown gem in town and close to the water front.

2  Thank lisasherryinterieurs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"the pearl"
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"second floor"
in 4 reviews
"personal tour"
in 3 reviews
in 2 reviews
"assistant director"
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"early days"
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"the river"
in 3 reviews
in 29 reviews
in 5 reviews
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35 - 37 of 37 reviews

Reviewed July 29, 2013

Great place to visit if you are interested in the industrial history of Muscatine. Interactive displays and much more await you.

1  Thank Alvin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2013

Button are everywhere - right? You do them up on your shirt, your coat, whatever, and never think about where they come from or how they're made. Well walk into this little museum in downtown Muscatine, and a whole new world of history, family business, industry, intrigue, labor unrest, and murder will open up before you. Pearl buttons are hard to find anymore, but some of us remember the sheen to them, the little oddities of their imperfections and concave or wavy shapes. Today most buttons are made of synthetics, but in the 19th century they were drilled out of clam shells, and a lot of those clam shells came from the rivers around Muscatine Iowa which earned it the nickname of Pearl City. The museum is free and has a wealth of photos, memories, artifacts, machines and buttons themselves as both utilitarian and decorative items. I especially loved digging my hand into bins of pearl buttons and then into synthetic buttons - the texture and weight differences were amazing. Also amazing was the fact that women used to be paid pennies for sewing a dozen buttons onto a card in perfect symmetry. You will discover that people used to dig clams, scrape clams, dangle bits of metal or even their toes along the river bottoms to gather the shells. This odd bit of history points out the difference between mass production of artificial things and true artisan craftsmanship.

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

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