Dickinson County Museum - Where History LIVES!

The Dickinson County Museum, in a 140 year old depot, provides unique educational experiences based on authentic objects, 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!

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!

History LIVES! Speaker Series

Thursday, February 22 7:00 at the Museum 

"Sunshine, S'Mores, and More:  Camps and Camping at Okoboji"

Jonathan Reed, a popular area historian and author, will be reviewing the history and stories of camping areas - exploring who came, and why - and the many camps that drew thousands of children and families over the years...and still do!

 

Tuesday, March 19 7:00 at Pomerantz Hall in the Pearson Lakes Art Center

"The Howe Letters - First-Hand Stories of the Earliest Days of Life in the Area"

Volunteer Kathy McNeill recently discovered letters written by Orlando and Maria Howe which tell of the earliest days in Dickinson County with Orlando and life "back east" as Maria waited to join Orlando in Iowa.  Orlando Howe was first in the area in 1856, and returned in early March of 1857 and again with the expedition from Fort Dodge shortly after the 1857 Massacre.  From these letters, McNeil has created a reader's theater production sharing a glimpse of the earliest life in Dickinson County.  Local actors, Clyde Ihrke and Marie Mattheisen portray Orlando and Maria Howe.

 

Sunday, April 14 at 2:00 at the Museum

"Railroads and the Awful Winter of 1936"

Don Hofsommer, Midwest railroad expert and author, will return to share stories and slides about the awful winter of 1936 in the Midwest and how it affected railroads and the residents of the area.

 

Thursday, May 16 at 7:00 at the Museum

"Walk Across Iowa Following the Dragoon Trail"

Dr. Kevin Mason returns to the Museum to share stories and historical insights about his walk across Iowa following the Dragoon Trail - which ends at Minnewaukon Park near Spirit Lake.  Mason presented a program last year on Inkpaduta at the Pearson Lakes Art Center which received rave reviews!

 

 

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

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, ancestry.com 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.

Get Involved

Join the growing community of Dickinson County Museum supporters!