Temporary Exhibit Closure: To ensure the safety of visitors and the museum artifacts, our "Visible Vault" exhibit is currently closed and will reopen after building renovations are completed in 2020.
Have you ever wondered what museums decide to keep? And why? Take a peek behind the scenes in “Visible Vault,” an eclectic showcase of 700-some artifacts – typewriters, dresses, rifles and more – chosen from more than 150,000 items in the museum’s diverse collection. What is now a treasure trove of Iowa history started in 1884 with a relatively modest donation of autographs, photos and manuscripts from an Iowan named Charles Aldrich, who became a curator and helped open the museum in 1900.
- See the "National Torch of Light" neon sign that once graced the National Travelers Life Building in Des Moines
- View beautifully crafted pre-Civil War era rifles
- Explore dozens of stone tools created by some of Iowa's earliest residents
- Examine many types of currency and coins used by early Iowans