Dickinson County Museum - Where History LIVES!

The Dickinson County Museum is housed in a 140 year old depot. We provide unique educational experiences based on authentic artifacts, stories, and lives from Dickinson County.  Our purpose is to inspire people to learn from those artifacts through public programs, publications, educational activities, and special events.

Virtual Tour

If you can’t visit us in person, visit us virtually!

Virtual tour created by the Spirit Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Come and visit us in person to experience many, many stories of the people, events, and communities of the early days of Dickinson County and the Iowa Great Lakes!

Help Us Bring The Depot Back to Life!

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The Dickinson County Historical Society proudly announces the launch of a comprehensive capital campaign aimed at raising $250,000 for the renovation and enhancement of the Dickinson County Museum. With a primary focus on restoring the 140-year-old depot and introducing interactive exhibits, this initiative seeks to offer visitors an enriched and educational experience, preserving the heritage of our community.

EVENTS COMING SOON!

Way Back Wednesday - On the Move!

Wednesday, July 24th at 10:00AM

The weekly Way Back Wednesday group will be meeting at the Higgins Museum to tour and learn more about Iowa’s banking history. Join us for an exciting morning!

 

Way Back Wednesday - On the Move!

Wednesday, August 14th at 10:00AM

The Way Back Wednesday group will be meeting at Templar Park to hear stories from John Smeltzer about the historic hotel. John will also be showing the group where the buildings used to stand. Come join us for an exciting morning!

 

Queen II History Cruise

Thursday, August 15 at 7:00PM

Join local history buff and museum director, Mary Dreier, for an evening on Her Majesty, The Queen II. As the Queen cruises around West Okoboji, Mary will be sharing stories on the way things used to be around the lakes. We encourage you to ask questions and engage in the conversation. Tickets for this event must be purchased at the Arnolds Park Amusement Park Ticket Office. We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Templar Park Gateway Arch Centennial Celebration

Saturday, August 17th at 2:00PM

Events

WAY BACK WHEN WEDNESDAYS

Every Wednesday at 10:00 folks gather at the Museum for conversation about the way it was in Dickinson County Way Back When.  The conversation is lively and fun, and many laughs are shared.  All are welcome!  Coffee included!

HISTORY LIVES SPEAKER SERIES

Our popular History LIVES! Speaker series features engaging speakers sharing stories, information, and photos about Dickinson County’s colorful past.  In addition to experiencing the live programs, all programs are live-streamed on our FaceBook page and uploaded to our YouTube channel.

 

News

New and Updated Exhibits

We have been working hard at the Dickinson County Museum to bring museum visitors new and updated exhibits! Moving forward, we are carefully curating artifacts and focusing on telling the stories behind them. This summer, we have created three new exhibits! Come see our Summer Fun exhibit, which focuses on summer sports and activities around the Iowa Great Lakes. Our second addition is the Templar Park exhibit, which celebrates the 100 year anniversary of the Arch. Lastly, our Flood of 1993 exhibit focuses on local oral histories from 1993 and how the infrastructure that was developed reduced the flooding in 2024.

We have also updated old exhibits such as Abbie’s Story. This exhibit focuses on who Abbie was and her life since the 1857 massacre. If you would like to learn more about our exhibits please visit the Museum Exhibits page. This page will navigate you through all of our current exhibits and highlight some of the artifacts museum visitors will see when they come to visit.

We look forward to seeing you!

Visions and Voices from the Past 2024 Speaker Series at the Pearson Lakes Art Center

Thursday, July 25, at 7:30 in the Lauridsen Theater the topic will be "Big Bands, Rock and Roll and the Roof Garden." This program will dig deep into the days when the nation's hottest big bands. The best in rock and roll performed at the Roof Garden. The names and stories of some of the best known dance bands and rock stars will be discussed, perhaps with samples of their sound and some fantastic photo images. Included in the discussion group will be local music historians, promoters, musicians from that era and a few who just came to listen and dance.

Get Involved

Join the growing community of Dickinson County Museum supporters!