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Museum of Natural History, Iowa City

#5 of 18 in Things to do in Iowa City
Natural History Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, founded in 1858, is a museum on the University of Iowa campus at Iowa City, Iowa. The museum is known for its extensive collection of birds, mammals, and Native American artifacts. Major research collections include the Kallam Collection of prehistoric stone tools, the Talbot and Jones Bird Collections, the Frank Russell Collection of Inuit and Native Arctic artifacts, and a large collection from the Philippines from the 1904 World's Fair.The museum houses several galleries and exhibits. Iowa Hall covers 500 million years of Iowa's geological, cultural, and ecological history. Mammal Hall exhibits the adaptation and diversity of nearly every mammalian order, from the aardvark to the zebra. The Hageboeck Hall of Birds displays more than 1,000 specimens, including the historic Laysan Island Cyclorama. The Diversity of Life exhibits describe major plant and animal groups, and the art of taxidermy. The newest gallery, the Biosphere Discovery Hub, investigates the complex relationships between culture and the environment.Tarkio Valley slothsFrom 2002 until 2010 the museum coordinated excavations of at least three Jefferson's ground sloths, Megalonyx jeffersonii, along the West Tarkio Creek near Shenandoah, Iowa. Most recently, a fourth giant sloth of a different species, Paramylodon harlani, has been identified from the excavation site. This is the first confirmed specimen of Paramylodon to be discovered in Iowa.
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Museum of Natural History reviews

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97 reviews
  • Enjoyed the Iowa display presented on the main floor. Love a museum to walk through and learn something new!  more »
  • Comprises three main halls - Mammal Hall, Bird Hall & Iowa Hall. The latter is my favorite: it presents dioramas from Iowa's history (going from the very distant past to recent times). While the...  more »
  • This museum was very nice. It had a good mix of old exhibits and taxidermy that I found fascinating. The more taxidermy heavy exhibits up above we're really neat, but some of them need to be restored. My favorite part of the museum was their stuffed dodo bird. I had never seen one before, and they were fluffier than I expected. They had other rare/extinct birds on display, too, and it was sobering to see how we've lost those species forever. If you have an hour and are in the area, I recommend checking out this museum.
  • Much better than I expected. Lots to see and great animal collection. Not for very little kids, they will be bored to death

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