Museum Hours
Tue-Sat 9am to 5pm

Museum Phone


Get directions

Service and Sacrifice on Exhibit

The story of Iowa veterans is drawn from their own remembrances. Diaries, letters, autobiographies and oral histories were used to help develop these exhibits, and their words are integrated into the story. Major features of the permanent exhibit include:

Dog Tag Stations

The dog tag stations provide an insight into the lives of soldiers and citizens. In each combat period, a station will "read" your dog tag and tell how your persona might have experienced events of the time. There are eighteen different personal profiles, each with three chapters per combat period.

Communication Stations

The communication stations contain stories about how the troops and people at home kept in contact with each other. Each station has six stories per combat era. The stations show how communication has changed over 140 years, from the telegraph and post office to the electronic and video messages of today.

Voices of Veterans Theaters

The Voices of Veterans theaters provide more detailed accounts of experiences by Iowans. The theaters in the lower level areas feature historical reproductions about the activities of specific units: the 21st Iowa Volunteer Infantry, the 51st Iowa Regiment and the 168th Iowa Regiment, part of the Rainbow Division. The productions have been drawn from letters, diaries and historical accounts. The upper level theaters feature the voices of actual veterans through video interviews, which capture the emotion and pride they experienced.

Touch Screens

The touch screens extend the story of the iconic artifacts — the Sherman tank, the F-86 Sabre Jet and the story of the World War II home front.

Veterans Memorial Area

The Memorial Area honors those who have died while in service. The list of approximately 30,000 includes names from the Civil War to the present Global War on Terror. Individual names can be found using the directory menu.

Sullivan Home

The story of the five Sullivan brothers is representative of all Iowans who stepped forward to serve, and if necessary, give their life for their country. The living room of the Sullivan home, where so many visited to extend their condolences, is reproduced. The Gold Star flag, representing the combat death of five family members, is the actual flag that was displayed in the Sullivan family home window.

  • Permanant Exhibits
  • Temporary Exhibits
Civil War
Nearly half of all adult males in Iowa (over 76,000) volunteered for duty during the Civil War. During the four ... Learn More
Spanish American War
Although the war against Spain was over by the time the Iowa National Guard units reached the war zone ... Learn More
World War I
114,220 Iowans answered Woodrow Wilson's call to arms in April 1917. Hundreds of them fought with the famous Rainbow ... Learn More
Homefront 1
While Iowans were fighting on the Western Front during WWI, their families were helping the cause at home. Women ... Learn More
Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 inspired Iowans to join the military in near-record numbers. Over 262,000 Iowans ... Learn More
Sullivan Brothers
Waterloo's five Sullivan Brothers gained national attention when they enlisted in the Navy after the attack on Pearl ... Learn More
Homefront 2
With 4 million troops on active duty during WWII, the military's demand for munitions, food and fiber increased dramatically. The need ... Learn More
The post-WWII tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union resulted in 40 years of uneasy peace. During the Cold War ... Learn More
Cold War hostilities flared again in the early 1960s when the United States quietly entered the Vietnamese conflict ... Learn More
Current Conflicts
Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 initiated a conflict that has yet to be fully resolved. United Nation ... Learn More