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Muscatine History and Industry Center
Ranked #2 of 19 things to do in Muscatine
Attraction details
Hutchinson, Kansas
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Sue”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 7, 2014

Very interesting story of the pearl button industry. Industry part boring except the walk-on games by Kent Feeds.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Susan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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29 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    22
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    3
    0
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Evergreen, Colorado
Level Contributor
115 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Button Factory Museum and Local Industry Highlights A Historical "Not to MIss"”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 8, 2014

If you lived in Muscatine or the surrounding area you MUST see these fabulous exhibits! If you are from out of town it gives a great overview of the town's history as "Pearl City" and the industry that created it at the turn of the last century. The lower floor is a very professional recreation of the button industry including historical devices used to gather clams, machines used to drill the shell blanks, and other contraptions developed to drill, surface, and polish the pearl buttons that abounded in the early 1900's dress.

Upstairs there are exhibits of the history and current day industry - all sponsored by the firms that make up present day Muscatine. My dad and I enjoyed this as well as he spent most of his professional life at one of the companies. The sponsoring firms include Stanley Consultants, Musco Lighting, Kent Feeds & Grain Processing Corporation, HON Office Furniture, Bandag Industries, and Carver Pump. I may have missed one but it was all informative and nostalgic for a local.

The second floor also is accessed by a modern elevator or steps. This is a great place to take a senior who remembers the "good old days" to relive their past.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Rod H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
High Point, North Carolina
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Background of the button factories in Muscatine”
5 of 5 bubbles 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.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank lisasherryinterieurs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Muscatine
Level Contributor
88 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Industrial history”
5 of 5 bubbles 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.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Alvin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Carolina Mountains, North Carolina
Level Contributor
228 reviews
141 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 281 helpful votes
“Who Knew???”
5 of 5 bubbles 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.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Gryfudd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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