Rock Island Arsenal, IL Image 1
    Rock Island Arsenal, IL Image 2

    Rock Island Arsenal, IL Museums

    The Rock Island Arsenal Museum includes one of the Army's largest collections of small arms and artillery, from several wars, going back to the middle of the 19th Century, including a collection of rifles from the Battle of Little Bighorn, an atomic cannon, and other US weapons, as well as some other artifacts. The collection also includes some Soviet, Chinese, and German weapons, including a "Shilka" Soviet anti-aircraft gun, Swedish M1 Bofors, and World War II era German Nebelwerfer (for Werfing the Nebels, of course). This museum is on post, and free to all.

    The Black Hawk State Historic Site is a park with picnic and other amenities, location of the John Hauberg Museum of Native American Life and the Singing Bird Nature Center. The educational material focuses on the Sauk tribe and particularly Black Hawk, an important chief of that tribe.

    The Figge Art Museum (the Figge) is a large art museum with thousands of pieces of art from the last five centuries, mainly paintings, including extensive American, European, and East Asian works. The Figge also hosts events, lectures, and touring exhibitions, and is the home of the National Center for Midwest Art and Design.

    The Putnam Museum is a history, natural history, and science museum with an IMAX screen, several permanent exhibits including the Hall of Mammals, an Egyptian exhibit, an Asian culture exhibit, local native and settler history, a space exhibit, and touring guest exhibits.

    The Buffalo Bill Museum of Le Claire is actually a general history museum focusing on local Mississippi River culture and history, the Sauk and Fox native tribes, local settlers, and famous son of Iowa, Buffalo Bill Cody.

    The Buffalo Bill Cody Homestead is in the north side of Scott County, and has been mostly restored to original condition, including fireplace, period furnishings, but with modern air conditioning. There is a small fee.

    The German American Heritage Center is all about the history and culture of the Germans who settled this part of the Mississippi River Valley, from their early 19th Century settling of the area, through the anti-German period around World War I, to the modern period, including the story of immigration, period clothing, and German and German-American cooking.

    The Family Museum of Bettendorf is a children and family museum with art, science, history, and culture exhibits, some play areas, and classes on dance, music, and reading, and is generally for family members under 12.

    The Rock Island Broadway Historic District is a neighborhood of Victorian era houses, generally carefully preserved or carefully restored. If you like the look of grand old homes, walk around this area. These homes are not generally for interior tours.

    The Brettun & Black Museum, once called Black's Store, is an 1849 mercantile store restored to its 1849 glory, in Hampton, IL. This store was a major supplier for pioneers and settlers moving west, and site of a riverboat stop and stagecoach stop.

    The Walnut Grove Pioneer Village is a open air museum of pioneer life in the 1860s. Display buildings include a period church, bank, and a boardwalk of shops, a doctor's office, and a train depot.

    Local Augustana College has two main museums on campus: The Fryxell Geology Museum, with one of the largest mineral and fossil collections in the Midwest, including dinosaur bones, other animal and plant fossils, examples rocks, crystals, minerals, and a collection of fluorescent glow-in-the-dark stones. The Augustana College Art Museum has a collection of American, Native American, and other art from around the world.

    One of the major local employers is the John Deere Company, makers of large farm and earth moving equipment, and the John Deere Pavilion is their corporate headquarters museum of tractors, harvesters, dozers, combines, and other large building machines.

    The River Music Experience is a museum and music activity center, focused on music native to the American Mississippi region, with performances, music and music history education, exhibits, and events, and camps. Many musical schools are covered, including native, jazz, blues, and rock.

    Ballet Quad Cities is based in Rock Island, and works with Orchestra Iowa to bring ballet and other dance to this region. BQC also operates a dance school, which includes several forms of dance, for several ages.

    Quad City Symphony Orchestra dates back to 1916, and today features several annual concerts and an extended music education program, including a youth ensemble program.