A network of nearly 100 museums and historic sites showcases fascinating stories of the Mississippi River. Learn about the river and find useful travel information.
See Locations On Map
Arkansas See on map
- Arkansas Post Museum State Park – Gillett
Tour this complex of five exhibit buildings and explore life on Arkansas’ Grand Prairie and in the Arkansas Delta from 1877 to today. The Main House serves as the entrance to your experience. Two buildings on the grounds are original to the Grand Prairie: the 1877 Refeld-Hinman Loghouse, a dogtrot cabin furnished in the style of the 1800s, and the 1933 Carnes-Bonner Playhouse, a miniature built-to-scale version of the Carnes’ family home with children’s furnishings, accessories, and toys. Admission to the museum is free. The large and varied collections of memorabilia make this park worth seeing.
- Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center – Saint Charles
When you arrive at the 10,000-square-foot office and visitor center located off Highway 1 in St. Charles, you will find an auditorium, environmental education classroom, and an interpretive exhibit hall. The foyer is home to a 28-foot-tall replica of a bald cypress tree. In addition to the birds, a section of a bear den illustrates the unique denning habits of black bears on the refuge. The base of the tree is surrounded by an underwater diorama showcasing flora and fauna typical of the refuge’s oxbow lakes. The interpretive displays educate visitors about the human and ecological histories of the area, the hydrology of the White River, and the bottomland hardwood forest ecosystem. Just behind the visitor center, the Bottomland Hardwood Trail takes you from the uplands, down the escarpment, and into the bottoms. This trail can be accessed during visitor center hours, when the gauge reading of the White River at St. Charles is 28 feet or lower. You can also explore the ADA-accessible Upland Trail across from the visitor center.
- Delta Cultural Center – Helena
The Delta Cultural Center is a museum and educational complex that tells the story of a land and its people, capturing what makes the Arkansas Delta region unique. It is the mission of the Delta Cultural Center to preserve, interpret and present the cultural heritage of this legendary 27-county area.
- Delta Gateway Museum – Blytheville
Housed in the historic Kress building in downtown Blytheville, the mission of Delta Gateway Museum is to tell the story of Blytheville and the surrounding area by interpreting the land and its impact on the people. (Founding Director: Leslie Hester)
- Hampson Archeological Museum State Park – Wilson
Hampson Archeological Museum State Park exhibits a nationally renowned collection from the Nodena site. This was a 15-acre palisaded village that once thrived on the Mississippi River in what is today Mississippi County. Hampson Archeological Museum interprets the lifestyles of this farming-based civilization that lived there from A.D. 1400 to 1650. Artifacts and exhibits share the story of this early aboriginal population of farmers who cultivated crops and supplemented their food resources with hunting native game while developing art, religion, and political structure along with a thriving trading network. This remarkable collection owes its preservation to the late Dr. James K. Hampson and his family.
- Helena Museum of Phillips County – Helena
The Helena Museum of Phillips County is comprised of the former Helena Library section, constructed in 1891, the 1929 addition, and further additions constructed between 1962 and 1974. The Helena Library section of the museum has the distinction of being the oldest public building in Phillips County, and the museum is the oldest purpose-built museum in the state of Arkansas. In 1975, the Helena Museum was included in the National Register of Historic Places and features prominently in historic downtown Helena as a longstanding landmark. The entire Helena Museum is currently utilized as an exhibition and storage facility for numerous historic artifacts and treasures associated with the history of the Arkansas Delta and Phillips County. The Helena Museum is used daily as a center for collections management and is open to the general public. Normal working hours are Wednesday through Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturday 10am to 2pm.
- Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home – Dyess
The Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood home is an Arkansas State University Heritage Site, that allows visitors to explore the history and culture of northeast Arkansas and its influence on the legendary Johnny Cash.
- Lake Chicot State Park – Lake Village
At 20 miles long, Lake Chicot is the largest natural lake in Arkansas and the largest oxbow lake in North America. Its beautiful waters are a favorite with anglers throughout the year. Located near the Mississippi River, the park is situated in one of the largest flyways in the country, making it a perfect place for birdwatching. Park programs include lake and levee tours. Enjoy one of the 14 cabins or 80 campsites for your overnight stay. The park’s pavilions are perfect for larger group meetings and reunions. There is also a park store (boat rentals by reservation only at this time) and a seasonal swimming pool.
- Lakeport Plantation – Lake Village
The Lakeport Plantation dates to the 1830s. The vast plantation produced cotton for nearly a century. The plantation house was built in 1859 and today serves as a museum telling the story of the people and cultures that shaped plantation life in the Mississippi River Delta. The collection pays particular attention to the Antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction periods. The museum is one of the best places in the country to learn about plantation life.
- Mississippi County Museum – Osceola
Located in the former Fred G. Patterson Mercantile Store on Courthouse Square in historic downtown Osceola, the Mississippi County Museum is a true local history museum. The hands-on museum is packed with a variety of art, objects, documents, furniture, and advertisements telling the story of the community and its residents. The museum includes a gift shop & research center.
- Mississippi River State Park Visitor Center – Marianna
Mississippi River State Park provides quality access to the St. Francis National Forest and endless adventures where the Mississippi River, Crowley’s Ridge, and the Arkansas Delta meet. Visitors can explore everything from hardwood forests to the sandy shores of the Mississippi River while enjoying three lakes, the All-American Great River Road and Crowley’s Ridge Parkway (both are National Scenic Byways), four hiking trails and two recreational areas. Interpretive programs include tours of historic sites, cooking demonstrations, hiking, biking, kayaking, and much more. The visitor center includes interactive exhibits, a gift shop, and a large, multi-purpose area for hosting meetings, family reunions and other group events. Boat, kayak, canoe, and bicycle rentals are available.
- Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie – Stuttgart
The Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie has a mission to preserve and share the history of the Grand Prairie region. Located in Stuttgart—“the Rice and Duck Capital of the World”—the museum has a wealth of artifacts pertaining to agricultural history, duck hunting, aviation, and other aspects of life on the prairie from the 1800s to modern day.
- Parkin Archeological State Park – Parkin
This National Historic Landmark protects the site of a Mississippian Period American Indian village that occupied this location on the St. Francis River from A.D. 1000 to 1600. Archeologists have uncovered evidence that Hernando de Soto likely visited this site in 1541. A visitor center at the site houses artifacts and interpretive exhibits.
- Sultana Disaster Museum – Marion
Learn the story behind the greatest maritime disaster in United States history. The Sultana, a Civil War-era steamboat, exploded on the Mississippi River on April 27, 1865, killing more than 1,200 aboard, including Union soldiers that had been released from Civil War prison camps in Andersonville and Cahaba. Discover what happened that fateful night and why this tragic event in American history has long been overlooked.
- WWII Japanese American Internment Museum – McGehee
The exhibit, located in downtown McGehee’s historic train station, highlights the history of the two Arkansas relocation centers at Jerome and Rohwer, home to 17,000 displaced Japanese Americans during WWII. The museum contains historical data, memorabilia and artifacts. The museum is open from 9am to 5pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
- Arkansas Post Museum State Park – Gillett
Illinois See on map
- Black Hawk State Historic Site – Rock Island
The Watch Tower Lodge is located at Black Hawk State Historic Site. The 208-acre park managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources showcases the fascinating and diverse cultural and natural resources of the Quad Cities. The Hauberg Museum (at the west end of the Lodge) tells the story of the Sauk and Meskwaki people through interpretive maps, artifacts, and seasonal dioramas. Take the free handheld audio tour and venture through an entire year with the last two Native American tribes who lived in the Mississippi River Valley. The Refectory (located in the east end of the Lodge) houses a permanent exhibit on the Civilian Conservation Corps. This Depression-era public relief program stationed Company 1674 at what was then known as Black Hawk State Park.
- Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site – Collinsville
Cahokia Mounds preserves the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico. At its height, the Mississippian community covered about 4,000 acres and included at least 120 mounds.
- Cairo Custom House Museum – Cairo
The Cairo Custom House Museum was built in 1872 and was originally used as the location for collecting tariffs on imports being traded along the Mississippi River. The museum includes many Civil War-era related pieces, including a desk used by Ulysses S. Grant and a replica of the U.S.S. Cairo gunboat.
- Fort de Chartres State Historic Site – Prairie du Rocher
Fort de Chartres is the last of three forts built by the French around 1750. It was the French seat of government and chief military installation in Illinois Country. The reconstructed fort contains the restored powder magazine, which may be the oldest building in Illinois.
- Mississippi River Visitor Center Locks & Dam 15 – Rock Island
The Mississippi River Visitor Center overlooks Locks & Dam 15 on Arsenal Island in Rock Island. Visitors can expect to see boats locking through as well as other displays about the Corps of Engineers and navigation on the Mississippi River.
Hours of operation:
Memorial Day–Labor Day: Open 7 days a week (9am-5pm)
Labor Day–Memorial Day: Open Tuesday–Saturday (9am-5pm)
Coming to visit requires gaining access to the Rock Island Arsenal by first stopping at the Visitor Control Center to obtain a base pass. This building can be found at 5309 Prospect Drive, Rock Island, IL 61201. Bring a federal or state-issued photo ID and security staff will help you the rest of the way.
- National Great Rivers Museum – East Alton
The National Great Rivers Museum explores the impact the Mississippi River has had on our nation and our history. Visitors can also tour one of the largest locks and dam on the mighty Mississippi, the Melvin Price Locks & Dam.
- Pere Marquette State Park – Grafton
Pere Marquette State Park is a nature lover’s paradise that offers spectacular views of the Illinois River from atop the bluffs, as well as outstanding recreational opportunities.
- Pierre Menard Home and Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Sites – Ellis Grove
The Pierre Menard home is an unusually fine example of French Creole-style architecture set into gently sloping land overlooking the Mississippi River. It was once the home of the first lieutenant governor of Illinois. Fort Kaskaskia is the site of a French fort built around 1759 to defend the town of Kaskaskia.
- Villa Kathrine – Quincy
Villa Kathrine is a Moorish-style structure built in 1900 by the wealthy and eccentric George Metz. It is located on a four-acre park overlooking the Mississippi River. The building houses Quincy’s Tourist Information Center and offers many services, amenities, and merchandise to guests.
- Black Hawk State Historic Site – Rock Island
Iowa See on map
- Buffalo Bill Museum and Lone Star Steamer – LeClaire
William F. Cody, or “Buffalo Bill,” was born and raised in LeClaire. An early career as a frontiersman and U.S. Army Scout lead him to a flourishing late calling into showmanship with popular tours throughout the United States and Europe. A paddlewheel, captain’s quarters, and a picturesque giant steering wheel mark some of the famous features of yesteryear’s steam-powered boats. And LeClaire holds the key to the nation’s single remaining wood-hulled steamboat built in the traditional “western rivers” style.
- Des Moines County Heritage Museum – Burlington
Three floors of exhibits and displays that depict the storied history of the land, industry and people who have made Des Moines County worthy of historical note and visits. The building was the free public library from 1898 until 2006, when the city sold the building to the Des Moines County Historical Society for the purpose of creating a center to preserve and communicate the events and people who have shaped this bend in the mighty Mississippi River.
- Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center – Lansing
The cultural, recreational, national, and historical significance of the Driftless Center is the primary focus of the interpretive exhibits at the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center. Featuring three levels and 10,000 square feet, the center is nestled beneath limestone bluffs with scenic river views. In the facility, you can come face to face with native wildlife of the region, step back into the past to learn about the rich tradition of Native Americans of the area, and explore the more recent history of European and American settlement of northeastern Iowa. Our gift shop showcases locally made gifts. There’s a little something for everyone at the Driftless Center.
- EB Lyons Interpretive Center at Mines of Spain – Dubuque
The EB Lyons Interpretive Center serves as a visitor information center. Displays and exhibits provide information about the history and features of the park. The Betty Hauptli Bird and Butterfly Garden, native prairies, woodland flower gardens, hiking trails, and historic Junkermann farm site are just some of the many attractions near the center. The EB Lyons Interpretive Center is open year-round. During the summer season, special programs can be scheduled with our naturalists.There are five individual nature walks within the park, including those at the EB Lyons Interpretive Center and another at the Horseshoe Bluff Site. Other trails provide a wide range of opportunities for visitors to view Mines of Spain on old winding logging roads, to view limestone bluffs and scenic overlooks, and to enjoy a hike through forests and prairie. Some of the trails are steep and challenging.
Visitors can enjoy the outdoors, experience the EB Lyons Center, hike the many trails, and enjoy the natural vistas at the park. Picnicking facilities are available at the center, the Julien Dubuque Monument, and the Horseshoe Bluff Area.
- Effigy Mounds National Monument – Harpers Ferry
More than 200 earthen mounds are located within the boundaries of Effigy Mounds National Monument. Taking the shapes of a bird, bear, deer, bison, lynx, turtle, or panther, these mounds were built 750 to 1,400 years ago for ceremonial purposes. The best way to tour the 2,526-acre park is hiking along the 14 miles of trails that wind their way throughout the landscape. A film at the visitor center provides an excellent introduction.
- George M. Verity Riverboat Museum – Keokuk
The George M. Verity Riverboat Museum is located in Victory Park on the riverfront in Keokuk. The paddleboat was built in Dubuque by the U.S. government in 1927 to revive river transportation and move barges from St. Louis to St. Paul. It was then known as the S.S. Thorpe. Armco Steel Corporation bought the boat in 1940 and put it into service on the Ohio River, renaming it after the founder of their company, George M. Verity. The George M. Verity was donated to the City of Keokuk in 1961 after being retired from service.
- Hurstville Interpretive Center – Maquoketa
Welcome to the headquarters of Jackson County Conservation. The Hurstville Interpretive Center offers visitors a chance to explore natural resources at their leisure. Step inside to better understand the story behind our natural and historic resources through the many exhibits. Enjoy the beauty of nature as you step outside to discover the prairie and wetland. In the restored native prairie you can search out reptiles, colorful wildflowers, and a world of insects. Visit the pollinator garden to view native plants as well as our many pollinators. Take your binoculars and see what you can find living or visiting the wetlands during the different seasons.Features
- Staff on hand to assist visitors
- Information on attractions in Jackson County
- Information on natural resources
- No entrance fee, donations welcome
- Handicap accessible
- Clean restrooms
- Over 20 indoor and outdoor exhibits and activities for the whole family including:
- Enclosed bee hive (with live bees!)
- Live reptiles
- Resident trumpeter swans
- Railroad model of the historic town of Hurstville
- Natural Playscape: catch a frog or tadpole in the pond using nets and buckets provided, balance on logs and stumps, find your way through our prairie maze, build with sticks, bricks and rocks, play checkers or tic-tac-toe with colored rocks and more! Playscape is located throughout pollinator garden on the west side of the building.
- 1/2-mile hiking trail
- 15-acre restored prairie
- 18-acre wetland with boardwalk, observational deck, and bird blind
- Fishing pond
- Bird blind
- Picnic shelter
- Pollinator garden
- Frog pond
- Public programs
- Group tours
- School trips
- Community Room – available for reservation
- Solar array – producing ~100% of electricity for the Center
- Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fish Aquarium – Guttenberg
Aquarium displays native fish, mussels, and turtles of the Mississippi River, streams, and lakes. A pollinator habitat garden filled with native perennial grasses and wildflowers including varieties of coneflower and butterfly milkweed greets visitors at the door. Continue your native prairie tour along the river walk or stop to fish the Mississippi River here. For more information, please call (563) 252-1156. ADA accessible.
- Motor Mill Historic Site – Elkader
The Motor Mill Historic Site is a peaceful natural area that features a six-story limestone flouring mill and four related stone buildings on site dating from the late 1860s. Motor Mill is located along the banks of the Turkey River in Clayton County. The site has been owned and managed by the Clayton County Conservation Board since 1983. The Motor Mill Foundation a group of local volunteers, assists the board with planning, site development, preservation efforts, programming, and funding.The site is open to the public throughout the year, though the interior of the mill is only accessible during tours. Tours are provided during the summer months and on several fall weekends. There is an updated tour schedule published each year. Group tours can also be scheduled outside the regular tours.
- Nahant Marsh Education Center – Davenport
Nahant Marsh is the largest urban wetland on the Upper Mississippi River and one of the most easily accessible. It is a 305-acre wetland preserve nestled in southwest Davenport. The preserve trails are open during daylight hours and feature a bird blind, boardwalks, and viewing platforms. The education center offers interpretive programming for all ages. The preserve is home to 430 plant species, 212 bird species, 43 mammal species, and 22 reptile and amphibian species.
- National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium – Dubuque
With 14 acres of river animals and river history, this Smithsonian affiliate has something for everyone. With three large buildings, the William M. Black dredge boat, and an outdoor plaza and boatyard, this river museum features animals found in the Mississippi River, its watershed, and the Gulf of Mexico. Ducks, turtles, river otters, stingrays, an alligator, and more than 200 other species are on display throughout the campus. Historic and cultural exhibits feature a 19th century belt-driven machine shop, numerous local history exhibits, steamboat era artifacts, and artifacts from indigenous peoples and early European settlement. The campus includes a stingray touch tank, MakerSpace, large-format 4D theater, grill, museum stores, daily creature features, and daily history highlights.
- Old Fort Madison – Fort Madison
Immerse yourself in the history of early Iowa when you visit Old Fort Madison along the banks of the Mississippi River. Learn more about the programs and daily activities offered and see the hours of operation so you can better plan your visit to this fantastic historic site.
- Pine Creek Grist Mill – Muscatine
Restored 1848 mill. May be the oldest working grain mill between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. Located in the lower part of Wildcat Den State Park. Open for school field trips. Open Saturday and Sunday afternoons in May and September (12:30-4:30pm). Open Wednesday-Sunday afternoons June-August (12:30-4:30pm).
- Putnam Museum and Science Center – Davenport
There’s something for everyone at the Putnam Museum and Science Center! Be inspired by our hands-on Science Center. Visit our breathtaking authentic Egyptian treasures, including two mummies. Learn about our rich regional history in River, Prairie and People. Explore the area’s fascinating natural habitats in Black Earth | Big River. Enjoy special shows and traveling exhibits. Catch a movie on our GIANT Screen Theater. We’ve been inspiring ideas, dialogue, and interaction among people of all ages for over 150 years, and today we’re better than ever with fun for the whole family!
- The National Pearl Button Museum – Muscatine
The National Pearl Button Museum tells the remarkable story of how a small Mississippi River town became the Pearl Button Capital of the world, making, at its peak, over 1/3 of the world’s pearl buttons. We tell the story of the entrepreneurs who built the industry. We tell the story of the workers who spent long days, harvesting mussels, processing them, drilling blanks, and working in the factories. And we tell the story of the mussels, these fascinating creatures who “live below the surface,” but play a critical role in the ecology of the river and provide the clean water upon which we depend.
- The Sawmill Museum – Clinton
The museum tells the 19th-century story of when the Clinton lumber companies joined with Weyerhaeuser from the Quad Cities and a few others to create a “monopoly.” Known as the Weyerhaeuser syndicate, our area lumbermen ruled the Northwoods and the western lumber trade. Discover a river story, an Iowa story, and a national story at The Sawmill Museum.
- Toolesboro Mounds National Historic Landmark – Wapello
The Hopewellian mounds at Toolesboro are among the best-preserved and accessible remnants of an ancient culture flourishing from around 200 B.C. to 300 A.D. The five-acre site includes several large surviving mounds, a museum and a prairie demonstration plot. The museum is open seasonally but the grounds are open to visitors year-round.Call Louisa County Conservation to arrange for the museum to be opened for groups or for a field trip with organizations/schools.
Memorial Weekend-Labor Day: 12:30-4:30pm Wednesday-Saturday
Labor Day-October 31: 12:30-4:30pm Saturdays only
Toolesboro Mounds National Historic Landmark is administered by the State Historical Society of Iowa and managed by Louisa County Conservation
- Buffalo Bill Museum and Lone Star Steamer – LeClaire
Kentucky See on map
- Columbus-Belmont State Park – Columbus
Columbus-Belmont State Park is a 160-acre site that played a fascinating role in the War Between the States. This is the site of a fortification build by the Confederates and later occupied by Union forces. The 1861 Battle of Belmont, fought to overtake the Confederate stronghold, marked the opening of the Union’s Western Campaign. It was also Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s first active engagement in the Civil War. Some of the artillery which shelled the Union troops and the six-ton anchor that held the great chain stretching across the river are on display in the park. There is a 2.5-mile self-guided hiking trail in the park. Dramatic images of the Civil War come to mind when walking on the bluffs and massive earthen works that formed the Confederate trenches. Visitors will learn about the Civil War in the museum through a video, artifacts, and interpretation. There is a snack bar, gift shop, miniature golf, and a picnic area with playgrounds and shelters. A conference center is available for most any function. This modern hilltop facility is carved out of the surrounding woodland, near the bluffs of the Mississippi River. The 38-site campground is located high on the bluffs with a beautiful view of the river. There is a restroom/bath house, laundry, shelter, and a playground. The campsites have a picnic table and a fire ring/grill with water and electric to each site and a centrally located dump station. Ten of these sites have sewer hookup. All are spacious and shady for a wonderful campground experience.
- Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site – Wickliffe
Wickliffe Mounds is the archaeological site of a Native American village of the Mississippian culture. The site is situated on a bluff along the Mississippi river and dates to 1100-1350 A.D. (C.E.). Visitors tour the mounds, a museum of artifacts and learn how the native people used the resources of the river with exhibits of Mississippian lifeways. The park has a nature trail, picnic areas, welcome center and gift shop.
- Columbus-Belmont State Park – Columbus
Louisiana See on map
- Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve – New Orleans
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park welcomes visitors to the French Quarter and offers free walking tours of the French Quarter on a regular basis. The park has units around South Louisiana, including the 23,000-acre Barataria Preserve Wetland; Chalmette Battlefield and cemetery, site of the Battle of New Orleans; and three Acadian units that focus on Cajun life and traditions in Louisiana.
- Louisiana State Museum – New Orleans
More than 450,000 artifacts can be found in the Louisiana State Museum’s collections. The museum includes seven historic French Quarter buildings, including the Cabildo and Presbytere on Jackson Square. Tour the 1850 house, the former home a Spanish baroness. Tour the New Orleans Jazz Museum (Old U.S. Mint) to learn the stories behind the music. You’ll learn about the French, Spanish, and British influences that helped to shape New Orleans and the region.
- LSU Rural Life Museum & Windrush Gardens – Baton Rouge
Take a step into the past at the LSU Rural Life Museum. A set of seven buildings shows the different architectural styles used by early Louisiana settlers. The working plantation demonstrates what the typical 19th-century plantation would have looked like. The barn is home to hundreds of piece of art, tools and other artifacts revealing the multifaceted cultural history of Louisiana. Guided tours are available for groups of 10 or more.
- Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site – Plaquemine
Learn about the lock and waterway that helped bring trade and prosperity to much of Louisiana. In 1909, the Plaquemine Lock was once considered a feat of engineering, lifting boats and barges 51 feet. Today, the lock structure and lockhouse are on the National Register of Historic Places. The lockhouse serves as a museum and visitor center. Visitors to the site will have a chance to see the lockmaster’s house as well as watercraft that would have once used the lock.
- Port Hudson State Historic Site – Jackson
Visit the site of one of the most important battles of the Civil War. The 1893 siege of Port Hudson led to some of the bloodiest battles of the war. It became the longest siege in American military history. Port Hudson is also the site of the landmark use of African American Native Guard troops against the Confederacy. Today, the historic site stands as a reminder to the important battles. Costumed re-enactments take place here several times a year.
- Poverty Point UNESCO World Heritage Site – Pioneer
Explore the remnants of a complex array of earthen works that predates the Mayan pyramids. The mounds and ridges form a C-shape with a diameter of nearly three-quarters of a mile. Much of their purpose remains a mystery, although many believe the ridges were used as sites for homes. The site dates to as early as 1700 B.C. and encompasses more than 400 acres. Tram tours of this archeological treasure are offered daily.
- The Historic New Orleans Collection – New Orleans
A free museum, publisher, and research center in the heart of the French Quarter, The Historic New Orleans Collection preserves the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South region. Changing exhibitions, history galleries, public programs, educational outreach, nonfiction books, and online resources illuminate the state”s fascinating past. A museum cafe features a sublime courtyard setting, and The Shop at The Collection has been recognized as one of the finest museum stores in the country.
- The Louisiana Great River Road Interpretive Center and Museum – Darrow
Located on the grounds of the historic Houmas House estate and gardens, the Great River Road Interpretive Center and Museum educates visitors about the history and influence the lower Mississippi River had on transportation, commerce, music, and the folklore of river live. Designed to appear like a Mississippi River steamboat, the 35,000-square-foot museum features educational exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of the lower Mississippi River. Don’t miss the Mississippi River overlook, which can be reached via a pedestrian bridge over the Great River Road.
- West Feliciana Historical Society Museum – St. Francisville
This museum should be your first stop when exploring the St. Francisville area. Learn about the history of the West Feliciana Parish at the West Feliciana Historical Society Museum. Located in St. Francisville and housed in a former hardware store, the museum focuses on the area’s history, people, and architecture. The museum’s location on Main Street makes it an important visitor information center. From time to time, the museum hosts special exhibitions.
- Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve – New Orleans
Minnesota See on map
- Charles Lindbergh House and Museum – Little Falls
Discover the childhood home of Charles A. Lindbergh, the famed environmental activist, inventor, and aviation pioneer. Explore how ambition, fame, and life on the Mississippi River shaped his complex character in our historic home and museum.
- Forest History Center – Grand Rapids
The Forest History Center is an exciting environmental history and learning center focusing on the forests of Minnesota. Immerse yourself in some unforgettable experiences by touring a logging camp, paddling a kayak on the Mississippi River to experience nature, catching frogs and dragonflies on a nature hike, or climbing a 100-foot fire tower to survey the surrounding landscape above the forest canopy.
- Historic Fort Snelling – St. Paul
This National Historic Landmark, located near the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers is a place of major social, cultural and historical significance. Visit to learn stories of the military fort and its surrounding area, home to a wide history that includes Native peoples, trade, soldiers and veterans, enslaved people, immigrants, and the changing landscape.
- Itasca County Historical Society – Grand Rapids
The River Room is an exhibition which takes visitors on a multi-sensory tour of life along the mighty Mississippi River in Itasca County. People have been inhabiting this region of northeastern Minnesota for nearly ten thousand years since the last of the great glaciers that once dominated the landscape retreated. The lives of the earliest indigenous people who subsisted on the banks of the river, as well as the lives of the people today, have been inextricably linked with the power and beauty of the Mississippi River and its natural resources. The River Room explores the stories of natural geologic wonders that were shaped by the flow of the Mississippi and how human heritage developed in and around its shores.
- Itasca State Park – Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center – Park Rapids
Named for the “Father of Itasca State Park,” the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center features exhibits telling the story of the park, its history, environment and opportunities for outdoor recreation. The large high-ceilinged building features traditional and interactive exhibit galleries, an information desk, a small film area, and a gift shop.
- Mill City Museum – Minneapolis
Built into the ruins of the Washburn A Mill, a National Historic Landmark that was was once the world’s largest flour mill, Mill City Museum is located on the historic Minneapolis riverfront. Here, visitors of all ages learn about the intertwined histories of the flour industry, the Mississippi river, and the city of Minneapolis. The museum features an eight-story Flour Tower show, hands-on exhibits, and breathtaking views of the Minneapolis riverfront.
- Minnesota History Center – St. Paul
The Minnesota History Center brings history home by telling the stories of Minnesota. Visit to experience exciting exhibits, to explore your family history and state archives in our research library, or to gather with community for an intriguing history program or free concert. As the home of the Minnesota Historical Society, the History Center is a place for all Minnesotans to discover, discuss, and reflect on why history matters today.
- Minnesota Marine Art Museum – Winona
The Minnesota Marine Art Museum is a nonprofit art museum that engages visitors in meaningful visual art experiences through education and exhibitions that explore the ongoing and historic human relationship with water. The purpose-built museum is located on the banks of the Mississippi River and boasts six galleries, an educational and events space, and a destination retail shop on its seven-acre riverside campus. It is through this surprising diversity that MMAM is not only describing what marine art is, but pushing the boundaries of what marine art can be.
- National Eagle Center – Wabasha
The National Eagle Center is the world’s premier resource for impactful eagle education and experiences. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, it is home to permanently injured bald eagles. Guests can meet the eagle ambassadors up close, enjoy programs, engage with interactive exhibits, and explore art and artifacts in the American Eagle Gallery and Cultural Connections Gallery.
- NPS Mississippi River Visitor Center – Saint Paul
Located in downtown St. Paul, just off the lobby of the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Mississippi River Visitor Center serves as a gateway to adventure along the mighty Mississippi. There is a wide variety of programming at the Visitor Center, including videos about the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and other parks within the National Park system, interactive exhibits, a reading nook, and a Junior Ranger program. Exhibits also explain Mississippi River culture, biology, and history.
Visitors may also seek advice about the many recreational opportunities within the park. Hiking, biking, canoeing, and boating, fishing, watching wildlife and birding, or skiing and snowshoeing are all popular activities.
The visitor center has free admission, but the Science Museum of Minnesota charges an admission fee to visit their exhibit areas and the theater.
An associated site, The St. Anthony Falls Lock & Dam Visitor Center is open seasonally. It provides panoramic views of St. Anthony Falls and the surrounding mill district in downtown Minneapolis, exhibits about the falls and its place in Minnesota history, and Ranger-led tours.
- Oliver Kelley Farm – Elk River
Explore Minnesota’s past on a working 19th-century farmstead, and learn how agriculture has changed over the last 150 years.
- Science Museum of Minnesota – Saint Paul
Located inside the fun and educational Science Museum of Minnesota, the Mississippi River Gallery showcases the interaction between the Mississippi River and the lives of the people who depend on it for their life and livelihood. Hop aboard the Charles E. Towboat, a Mississippi River towboat, or challenge yourself with the River Pilot Simulator.
- Winona County History Center – Winona
Engaging exhibits, fun experiences, great resources, and good people. Explore three levels of exhibits about life along the Mississippi River through architecture, business, wartime, cultural connections, and more (We are updating! Some exhibits may be down. We thank you for your patience). Enjoy an Art Gallery featuring regional artists in partnership with the River Arts Alliance and The Museum Shop filled with Winona gear and locally made gifts.
- Charles Lindbergh House and Museum – Little Falls
Mississippi See on map
- Delta Blues Museum – Clarksdale
The musical genre known as the blues was born in the Mississippi River Delta. Clarksdale sits at the center of the Delta region, making it the ideal home for the Delta Blues Museum. See the sharecropper home of Muddy Waters. See instruments played by blues greats such as John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Big Mama Thornton, Charlie Musselwhite, Jimmy Burns, and Son Thomas. Learn about Stella guitars and see the sign from the juke joint where Robert Johnson played his famous last gig.
- Grand Gulf Military Monument Commission, aka Grand Gulf Park – Port Gibson
This 400-acre park preserves the memory of the Civil War Battle that took place on the site. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and includes Fort Cobun and Fort Wade, the Grand Gulf Cemetery, a museum, campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, an observation tower, and several restored buildings dating back to the community of Grand Gulf’s heyday.
- Lower Mississippi River Museum – Vicksburg
Explore life on the Mississippi River! Discover how communities, farming families, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have all utilized the river. Choose your own adventure on the river with the Mississippi Trail Interactive exhibit. Hear about the experience of the 1927 flood from a family that lived through the event. See some of the river’s unique fish up close in our 1,515-gallon aquarium.
- Mississippi Welcome Center/Woodville Hospitality Station – Woodville
The stately appearance of the Woodville Hospitality Station is firmly rooted in Mississippi’s rich antebellum architectural heritage. Pay them a visit to plan your further adventures in Mississippi and get a sample of that famed Southern hospitality. Take time to explore the local heritage and culture and the many local museums.
- Natchez Convention and Visitor Bureau – Natchez
For visitors to the historic town of Natchez, the first stop should be the Natchez Convention and Visitor Bureau. This visitor center is your source for information about the community’s many pre-Civil War homes and plantations, the charming downtown, outdoor activities, and tours. The area also offers several golf courses, two casinos, a variety of shopping, and annual events.
- Tunica RiverPark Museum – Tunica
Aquariums, dioramas, interactive exhibits, relics and artwork all tell the story of the Mississippi River through time. Follow de Soto and the Spanish conquistadors that explored the area centuries ago. Learn about the Great Flood of 1927. Learn what it was like to live in the Mississippi Delta before European settlement. See aquariums filled with turtles, gars, and other Mississippi River inhabitants. Other exhibits include plantations, the Civil War, and blues music.
- Vicksburg National Military Park – Vicksburg
Vicksburg was the site of one of the most important battles of the Civil War. The Vicksburg National Military Park includes the largest burial site for Union soldiers and sailors killed in the Civil War. The visitor center offers a 20-minute orientation film as well as examples of Confederate trenches, a hospital room, and a Union officer’s tent. Outside the center, you’ll find a cannon display and a battle fortification exhibit. Historic monuments can be found throughout the park.
- Washington County Welcome Center & Museum of the Delta/River Road Queen Welcome Center – Greenville
The River Road Queen Welcome Center in Greenville takes visitors back to a time when Victorian riverboats steamed their way up and down the Mississippi River. The welcome center is a replica of an 1800s steamboat. The unique structure was originally built for the Mississippi Pavilion at the 1984 New Orleans World’s Fair. The second floor of the boat displays river artifacts.
- Delta Blues Museum – Clarksdale
Missouri See on map
- Cape Girardeau Conservation Campus Nature Center – Cape Girardeau
This natural area offers a long list of outdoor activities. Good birdwatching opportunities are available in the natural area. Hiking trails run through the forests adjacent to the nature center. Wildlife viewing is excellent throughout the property. Tours and demonstrations are given regularly by nature center staff.
- Gateway Arch National Park – St. Louis
No trip along the Mississippi River and the Great River Road would be complete without a trip to the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. From the top of the arch, you’ll enjoy a breathtaking view St. Louis and the surrounding area. The Museum of Westward Expansion tells the story of America’s growth as a nation during the 1800s. You’ll see a number of one-of-a-kind artifacts, including items from the Lewis and Clark expedition.
- Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum – Hannibal
Visit the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum and learn how a small boy from Hannibal became America’s most beloved author! Experience interactive exhibits, live Mark Twain performances, 15 original Norman Rockwell paintings, treasured Clemens family artifacts, and Twain memorabilia. Tour includes two museums and five historic properties including The Mark Twain Boyhood Home, a National Historic Landmark. Don’t sneak away from Hannibal until you’ve visited!
- New Madrid Historical Museum – New Madrid
In 1811 and 1812, two great earthquakes rocked the area surrounding the community of New Madrid. This museum tells the story of those earthquakes as well as the history of the area, from the ancient Mississippian civilization to the 20th century. See artifacts from the pre-Columbian residents of the area. View letters, clothing, and weapons carried by soldiers in the Civil War. Find out how local residents lived during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
- Sikeston Depot Museum – Sikeston
Learn about the history and industry of the Mississippi River region at this charming museum and former train depot located in southeast Missouri. Visitors will find exhibits about the Mississippian Indian tribe, Sikeston’s cotton-growing heritage, and local history, as well as works from local artists. Be sure to check out the reconstructed red caboose, a local landmark.
- Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center – Ste. Genevieve
The Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center is the central hub for information about Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park and tourism in Ste. Genevieve. There, visitors can pick up brochures, maps, and other resources for their visit to historic Ste. Genevieve.
- Trail of Tears State Park – Jackson
Trail of Tears State Park tells the story of one of the most tragic events in American history. During the winter of 1838-39, thousands of Cherokee Indians died during a forced march. The visitor center features exhibits about this sad story. The park also offers recreational trails for hiking and horseback riding. You’ll find breathtaking views of the Mississippi River. Birdwatching in the park can be outstanding, particularly for waterfowl.
- Cape Girardeau Conservation Campus Nature Center – Cape Girardeau
Tennessee See on map
- Chucalissa and the C.H. Nash Museum – Memphis
Chucalissa, administered by the University of Memphis, allows visitors to step back in time to explore the culture of a people that flourished before the first Europeans landed in America. Chucalissa is a Choctaw word for “abandoned house.” The archaeological remains tell us that the site was occupied, abandoned, and reoccupied several times between 1000 and 1500 A.D. This site was part of a large political system called the Mississippian culture. At its height in the 15th century, Chucalissa was home to between 800 to 1000 residents.
The interpretive C.H. Nash Museum curates an extensive collection of artifacts recovered from excavations of the site. The exhibitions discuss the history of the Native Americans in the southeastern United State and their life on the Mississippi River. The museum includes an expansive outdoor archeological display and is open daily from 9am to 5pm.
- Mud Island River Park and Museum – Memphis
Mud Island River Park is a unique 52-acre recreational, educational and entertainment facility dedicated to telling the story of the mighty Mississippi River and its people. It houses the 18-gallery Mississippi River Museum, which contains a permanent collection of over 5,000 artifacts in support of its mission to preserve and promote the natural and cultural history of the Lower Mississippi River Valley. Museum exhibits detail the valley’s creation and settlement from the Native American inhabitants to European explorers; the Civil War on the river, complete with a full-scale Union gunboat engaged in battle with Confederate land troops; and the development of Delta Music from early Blues to today’s rock ‘n roll.
Other attractions at Mud Island River Park include the Riverwalk, a half-mile-long scale model of the lower Mississippi River complete with 20 scale-model replica river cities and 68 free standing text panels; The Adventure Center, which offers canoe, kayak, pedal boat and bike rentals; a 5,000 seat amphitheater, which offers seasonal concerts; gift shops; food concessions and banquet facilities and a marina.
Mud Island River Park is open during daylight hours daily and is well marked on directional signage maintained by both TDOT and the City of Memphis. The Mississippi River Museum is open daily from 9am to 4pm. Non-rigorous hiking and outdoor exploration of the island and surrounding river is encouraged.
- Reelfoot Lake State Park – Tiptonville
Reelfoot Lake is in Lake and Obion counties in northwest Tennessee. A portion of the lake extends into southwestern Kentucky near the town of Fulton, and the lake lies approximately 3 miles east of the Mississippi River. It is the largest natural lake in Tennessee, encompassing more than 10,000 acres of water and another 5,000 acres in marshes and hardwood wetlands. It is estimated that more than 40 percent of the lake has a depth of 3 feet or less. Approximately 30,000 acres of the lake and the surrounding marshes and watersheds are protected. Management of the lake is vested with three primary agencies, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
Late in 1811, the New Madrid earthquake caused huge spasms and convulsions that rocked much of North America. The major force of these shocks were centered in the Reelfoot Lake area, which was then a huge cypress forest. On December 16, the earth’s surface rose and sank and the Mississippi River actually turned and flowed backward, pouring into a hissing abyss. This mighty quake created the awesome Reelfoot Lake, when more than 15,000 acres of forest land sank beneath the level of the river. Naked trunks remained and one of the world’s greatest natural fish hatcheries was created.
Historical records show that Davy Crockett hunted in the “land of the shakes” during the early 1830s. Hungry animals and a huge variety of waterfowl moved into this area and make Reelfoot a significant wildlife preserve. Crockett stated in his autobiography that he killed 108 bears in a single year at the lake and frequently made camp at the Bluebank Bayou. Crockett is well remembered in the area, and his hunting cabin still stands south of the lake on State Route 45W.
Reelfoot Lake State Park preserves one of the region’s most unique environments and has a rich Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) history. In 1934, a company of 200 men began building well-crafted Government Rustic-style check-in buildings for hunters and fishermen. The CCC continued its work on the park until 1938 when it turned its attention to building two wildlife refuges. The area is a winter home to a large number of waterfowl, such as coots, mallards, and Canada geese. It is also famous for nesting eagles who feed on the abundant of fish in these waters.
Reelfoot Lake became a Tennessee State Park in 1956. Most of the facilities today date to the 1960’s and 1970s, although the Blue Pond area has a restored CCC check-in building and picnic shelter. A new visitors center, complete with an aviary, natural displays, and interpretive signage, opened in 2020. The lake is a popular year-round destination and robust directional signage guides visitors to the area from state routes 21 and 78.
- Chucalissa and the C.H. Nash Museum – Memphis
Wisconsin See on map
- Fort Crawford Museum – Prairie du Chien
Fort Crawford stood guard over Prairie du Chien from 1816 until 1856. Now, the Fort Crawford Museum displays the history of the fort, its city, and the many lives that crossed here. Visit us May through October for a self-guided tour, reserve a group tour, or attend an upcoming event. Your group may setup a tour November-April by calling (608) 326-6960.
- Genoa National Fish Hatchery and Great River Road Interpretive Center – Genoa
The Interpretive Center features the intrinsic values of the Upper Mississippi River Region. The center focuses on four major themes: 1. The Upper Mississippi River and its historic and current importance in navigation and trade; 2. The Blackhawk War, its causes and history of the tribes and their current locations; 3. The Pearl Button Industry and the importance of mussels in the Upper Mississippi River ecosystem; and 4. The History of conservation nationwide and within the Upper Mississippi River basin. Also included are two aquariums with live fish exhibits that depict natural riverine species of the Upper Mississippi River and a stream aquarium with species that represent a Wisconsin stream. Hatchery grounds offer views of the Upper Mississippi River bluffs and the hatchery ponds and the grounds are frequented by many different species of migratory birds and waterfowl.
- Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center – Prescott
Interpretive center and city park offers spectacular views and engaging local experiences that merge nature, culture, and community at the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers. Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world have visited this special place since 2005. National Park Service partner site, Audubon Birding site, and Watchable Wildlife site.
- Stonefield Historic Site – Cassville
Relive Wisconsin’s rise to “America’s Dairyland” and explore history by the acre at Stonefield! Your adventure through the former estate of Wisconsin’s first governor tells the amazing story of the Badger State’s agricultural advance from a struggling group of wheat farmers to America’s Dairyland. Tour over 30 restored historic businesses that highlight Wisconsin’s rural development at the turn of the 20th century. See the largest collection of farm equipment and vintage tractors in the state in the State Agricultural Museum. Visit the home of Wisconsin’s first governor and see fascinating artifacts that tell the story of Wisconsin’s transition from territory to state. With every step of your journey at Stonefield, you’ll be immersed in the spirit of ingenuity that helped propel Wisconsin forward.
- The Potosi Brewing Company – Potosi
Originally founded in 1852 along the Great River Road and just a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River, the Potosi Brewing Company brewed more than a century’s worth of delicious craft beer before finally bowing to shifting market pressures and emptying its bright tanks for good in 1972. Re-founded on its original site in 2008, the Potosi Brewing Company has brought craft brewing back to Main Street Potosi. Today our fine people lovingly craft only the highest quality beer—in small batches and without compromise— forging a renewed tradition of excellence that’s all our own. We are Potosi. We are beer’s hometown.
- Villa Louis – Prairie du Chien
When you walk through the doors of Villa Louis, you step into the life of one of Wisconsin’s most historic families: The Dousmans. Located on the beautiful banks of the mighty Mississippi River, this National Historic Landmark offers a panorama of Wisconsin history, from the advent of the first fur traders through the splendor of the Victorian era. Experienced interpreters will take you on a journey through time as you tour the stunning 1871 Italianate-style mansion the Dousmans called home for more than four decades, and the surrounding estate. The 25-acre site includes over a dozen historic structures including the Dousman Office Building, Ice House, Preserve House, Blockhouse, the foundations of the first Fort Crawford, and the state’s only War of 1812 battlefield.
- Fort Crawford Museum – Prairie du Chien