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.

After 140 Years, the Depot is Warm in the Winter and Cool in the Summer!

Thanks to a generous grant from the Dickinson County Endowment Fund and other sources, our depot building is usable year-round!  Come check it out!

A Little Bit New for You

Staff and volunteers have spent lots of time over the winter sorting artifacts, rearranging displays, “spiffing” exhibits, and moving duplicate items into storage. Why? To improve your experience at the museum, of course! Our displays now feature items that enable visitors to easily enter into the stories of Dickinson County. Some of our favorites? Quilts (on a new rack built by volunteer Terry Gano) that feature signatures of early residents, a gun used by Fred Gilbert – the “Wizard of Spirit Lake”- in national trapshooting contests, military uniforms – and the stories of those who wore them, and the infamous permanent wave machine used in a Milford beauty shop.

Next up? Creating meaningful labels that focus on the stories. You see, we believe that our artifacts are beyond awesome. They really are. Yet the real super power of our awesome artifacts is that they are portals into the stories of those who came before us. And those stories are worth knowing, for sure.

Trivia? Of course!

Thanks to two awesome Okoboji No Boundaries students, the Museum is now offering Trivia Challenges! Maggie and Jazmyn figured out a way to load scintillating questions into game software that creates a fun, fun, fun experience for everyone! The questions are all about Dickinson County history, and most include helpful photos. Teams work together to answer the questions within a time limit, and team scores are posted frequently.

To make the experience even better, our own local historian and author, Jonathan Reed, provides commentary and more information about the questions.

Be watching for our Trivia Challenges – both at the Museum and offsite! If your organization needs a fun interactive program, let us know – we’d love to share the fun with you!

Research Area

The Museum is creating a new, dedicated research area, The Dickinson County Research Area, thanks to a grant from the Dickinson County Endowment Fund. Included in the grant is a computer, printer, scanner, software, and furniture. As part of this new area, our resource room is being named the “R. Aubrey LaFoy Resource Room” in honor of Aubrey and his long and dedicated service to the Dickinson County Museum and area history. Aubrey recently donated his extensive resource materials to the museum.

New Roof

Our 140 year old depot recently received a major upgrade in the form of a new roof, thanks to a $40,000 grant from the Okoboji Foundation. It will provide decades of protection for our extensive exhibits.