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Iowa City, Iowa

University of Iowa Museum of Natural History

The oldest university museum west of the Mississippi retains its 19th century feel. 

The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History was founded in 1858 and has now grown to around 115,000 specimens, with herds of taxidermy animals, prehistoric stone tools, and artifacts from the Philippines that were once on display at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.

Located on the University of Iowa campus, the focal points of the museum are definitely the Mammal Hall and the Bird Hall. Both are crowded with taxidermy creatures big and small, yet the museum’s most eye-catching display might be the massive recreation of a giant sloth. While the museum continues to evolve for the next generation of researchers and visitors, it still retains a feel of its long history in its halls.