FAMILY MUSEUM, 2900 Learning Campus Dr., Bettendorf. (563) 344-4106. Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit. At this play-and-learn exhibit, visitors step into the pages of Eric Carle’s colorful picture books, with each activity a testament to the author’s love of nature, his respect for the emotional lives of children, and recurring themes of friendship, creativity, and imagination. Through Sept. 9.
NATIONAL MISSISSIPPI RIVER MUSEUM, 350 E. Third St., Port of Dubuque. (563) 557-9545. Da Vinci: The Exhibition. This hands-on examination of da Vinci’s life and work features life-size replicas of his inventions, recreations of artworks such as Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, and dozens of stunning displays examining his achievements in engineering, flight, hydraulics, music, light, anatomy, art, and more. Through October 8.
UNIVERSITY OF IOWA LIBRARIES, 100 Main Library, Iowa City. (319) 335-5299. Stories Worth Telling: Marking 20 Years of “The Greatest Generation.” Tom Brokaw named the World War II generation “The Greatest Generation.” Learn the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things through papers, artifacts and photographs.Sept. 7-January 4.
THE THEATRE MUSEUM OF REPERTOIRE AMERICANA. 405 E. Threshers Rd., Mount Pleasant. (319) 385-9432. This seasonal museum is dedicated to the preservation of memorabilia and artifacts of early repertoire theater. The collection includes painted curtains and scenic pieces; costumes and equipment; playbills, show cards, and advertising sheets; and an extensive research library of rare scripts, correspondence, production photos, and other original source materials. Of special interest is the large collection of videotaped interviews with actual “troupers” describing their professional and personal experiences. Wed.–Sat. through Labor Day, or by appointment.
UNIVERSITY OF IOWA PENTACREST MUSEUMS. Keyes Gallery for Arts, Humanities, & Sciences, Iowa City. (319) 335-0548. Fragile Bee. Artist Nancy Macko uses macro-photography in a mixed-media installation, teaching the public about the plight of bees and raising awareness about humanity’s interdependent relationship with them. Opens September 2018.
VICTORIAN HOME & CARRIAGE HOUSE MUSEUM, 308 W 3rd St., Cedar Falls. (319) 266-5149. Bear Whistles, Butter Churns & Beyond—Ceramics in Cedar Falls. The potters of early Cedar Falls created a wide variety of pieces, some reflecting religious and political opinions, others more utilitarian. This exhibition and program series celebrates the history of ceramics in Cedar Falls, the people who plied the trade, and the impact of that craft on the community. Through Dec. 14, 2018.
VESTERHEIM MUSEUM, Decorah. (563) 382-8828. Spoons: Carving. Community. This exhibit captures the spirit of the recent spoon-carving movement, showcasing historic and modern examples of spoons carved in wood and horn. Includes hands-on interactives, recorded interviews, short videos, and a carving studio. Through Nov. 4. Rocks and Hard Places: Emigration Through the Lens of Knud Knudsen. This exhibit explores emigration through first-person accounts, family histories, and the stunning black and white photography of Knud Knudsen. Through September 23.
NATIONAL CZECH & SLOVAK MUSEUM, 1400 Inspiration Place SW, Cedar Rapids. (319) 362-8500. Guts & Glory: The War Train that Shaped a Nation. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of Czechoslovakia. This multimedia exhibit tells the story of Czech and Slovak Legions and the amazing account of their trek via railway across Siberia during WWI. Local high school students have created both a physical replica of a train car and a virtual reality bakery train car for this exhibit. Through Dec. 31. Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence. This exhibition showcases a form of bead art developed by a community of women in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Six artists transform black cloth into contemporary artwork colored by dazzling Czech glass beads. Through Sept. 17.
LIVING HISTORY FARMS, 11121 Hickman Rd., Urbandale. (515) 278-5286. Living History Farms is an interactive, 500-acre outdoor museum. Walking trails and tractor-drawn carts connect the 1875 town of Walnut Hill to each of the historical farms. Each site is authentically farmed or worked by historic interpreters. Open daily through Aug. 26. Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster 1844–2012. Historically, the ephemeral hardworking American political poster has been hiding in plain sight, attempting to catch our eye and capture our vote through the use of visual language. This exhibit explores a variety of design trends and printing technologies, engaging your imagination and leading you to ruminate over past political commitments. Through August 16.
SALISBURY HOUSE, 4025 Tonawanda Dr., Des Moines. While the remarkable architecture at Salisbury House may be the first thing to draw in visitors, Salisbury is also home to important collections of rare books, fine art, decorative art, musical instruments, and more. Permanent exhibit.
SCIENCE CENTER OF IOWA, 401 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy., Des Moines. (515) 274-6868. Blank IMAX Dome Theatre. Watch science documentaries and Hollywood films on a six-story, dome-shaped screen.
PUTNAM MUSEUM & SCIENCE CENTER, 1717 W. 12th St., Davenport. (563) 324-1933. Air, Land & Sea. This augmented reality experience allows visitors to meet a range of animals from Africa to the Artic as they graze, drink, and interact with the environment around them. Permanent exhibit.
BLUEDORN SCIENCE IMAGINARIUM. West 3rd and Washington, Waterloo. (319) 233-8708. Pet a 12-foot python, fire an air cannon, create your own laser show, and more.
HERBERT HOOVER LIBRARY & MUSEUM, 210 Parkside Dr., West Branch. (319) 643-5301. Tallgrass to Knee High: A Century of Iowa Farming. This exhibition looks at crops, conservation, livestock, machinery, buildings, and farm life in Iowa over the last 100 years. The voices of farm women are highlighted through journal entries and newspaper columns by Clara Steen Skott, Alma Erickson Swanson, Evelyn Birkby, and Val Plagg. Featuring a hands-on area for children that includes farm toys, a life-sized milking cow, board games, digital game stations, and more. Through Oct. 28.
GERMAN AMERICAN HERITAGE CENTER, 712 W. 2nd St., Davenport. (563) 322-8844. Steam Circus: The Colorful World of Carousels. This exhibit features art, history, and the beautiful carousel horses crafted by the world-renowned Dentzel Carousel Company and Charles Looff. From military origins to the creation of theme parks, discover how German immigrants combined old-world craftsmanship with new-world technology to create these masterpieces of merriment. Through October 21.
LIVING HISTORY FARMS, Urbandale. (515) 278-5286.
AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM OF IOWA, 55 12th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. (319) 862-2101. If Objects Could Talk. See how everyday objects turn into invaluable historic records. Each object, photograph, and document has a story to tell about Iowa and the contributions African Americans have made to the state. Through July 27. Endless Possibilities. This interactive exhibit uses photos, objects, stories, and multimedia to trace the journey of Iowa’s African Americans—from the beauty and diversity of West Africa, to the desperate flight of freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad, to Iowa’s role in the civil rights movement and beyond. Permanent exhibit.
GROUT MUSEUM, 503 South St., Waterloo. (319) 234-6357. Bosnian Portraits: At Home in the Cedar Valley. This exhibit follows the journey of Bosnian refugees from the aftermath of a brutal civil war to the heartland of America. Examine how these difficult events are remembered and passed on to a new generation of Bosnians. Through Sept. 29.
OLD CAPITOL MUSEUM, Iowa City. (319) 335-0546.