Current Feature ExhiBit:

Ames Hi Aiming High Through the Years

Our new exhibit features the four Ames High School locations and includes stories about academics, athletics, clubs & activities, social life & events, and performing arts during the era students attended each school building. The exhibit also includes a wall with names of all Ames High graduates. On display until August 2018.

Current Smaller Exhibits:

Stevens Block

Built in 1891, the Stevens Block buildings at 231 and 233 Main Street have housed businesses such as JC Penney and Carr Hardware. This exhibit tells the history of businesses that have been in the buildings through the years, from Grove Brothers Grocery and JB Elliot’s Furniture to The Loft and Family Martial Arts Center.

Artifacts from the Attic: Dolls

This exhibit tells the story of a family doll found in an Ames attic, and features other dolls from our collection.


Ames's community theater, ACTORS, started in 1956 and is now celebrating its 60th season of shows. The organization has become a leader in the arts in the Ames community. View some of its history in this exhibit.

A City Afloat: Floods of the 1990s

Ames experienced terrible floods in 1990, 1993, and 1996. This exhibit details those three floods from Ames history and features a short video showing flood footage.

Permanent exhibits include a timeline of Ames history, aerial views, and our player piano.

Past Exhibits:

In Trunks, Hands, and Hearts: What Immigrants Bring to Iowa

Through six traveling banners created by the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa, this exhibit told stories of immigrants to Iowa from a variety of places and times. The stories showed the commonality of experience, while also sharing the many unique examples. The exhibit focused on telling stories through the things that were brought (objects, skills, traditions, customs, etc.). Several supplementary panels were created to tell Ames immigrant stories. More information here.

World War II: Ames Doing Its Part

This exhibit commemorated the 75th anniversary of the start of World War II. The exhibit featured stories about day-to-day life in Ames for those at home who supported the war effort in countless ways. It included engaging photos, information, and artifacts that told the story of Ames' involvement in the war.

A Time of Expansion: The Ames Building Boom of 1915-1916

The years 1915 and 1916 brought great expansion to the city of Ames. In that short time Ames saw the building of the Sheldon-Munn Hotel, a new City Hall, the Masonic Building, and Mary Greeley Hospital. This exhibit focused on the history of each of these iconic buildings and how they impacted the community at the time. The exhibit included photos from the buildings' pasts, historical objects representing each building, and fun interactive activities for the whole family. Exhibit sponsored by Mary Greeley Medical Center.