The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums

Together, the Old Capitol Museum and the Museum of Natural History form the Pentacrest Museums.

For more than 150 years, Old Capitol has represented the pioneering spirit of Iowa and The University of Iowa. The last capitol of the Iowa territory, it served as Iowa's first state capitol from 1846 to 1857. When the state government moved to Des Moines in 1857, Old Capitol served as the University's first building and the founding place of many departments. In 1976, Old Capitol became a Nationa

01/27/2023

⚠️ LAST CALL for My Collections submissions⚠️

We are looking to feature two unique collectors and their personal collections in Macbride Hall this semester. If you have a collection you'd like to share, we strongly encourage you to apply today!

Click here to read the participant FAQ and apply: https://pentacrestmuseums.uiowa.edu/my-collections

liveWELL Winter 2022 Employee Well-Being Newsletter 01/25/2023

liveWELL Winter 2022 Employee Well-Being Newsletter

Our friends at University of Iowa liveWELL dedicated a 4-page spread in their latest newsletter to "Why Museums are Good for Well-Being," featuring our director of education Carolina Kaufman. The liveWELL team is an excellent partner with an excellent publication. Check it out!

liveWELL Winter 2022 Employee Well-Being Newsletter Read liveWELL Winter 2022 Employee Well-Being Newsletter by liveWELL program at University of Iowa on Issuu and browse thousands of other publicati...

Timeline photos 01/25/2023

This , we're featuring the blue jay! Did you know? Blue jays can mimic the calls of larger, predatory birds, including red-shouldered hawks, bald eagles, and eastern screech owls. Keep your ears open the next time you take a winter walk! 👂

Have you seen or heard a blue jay recently?

01/24/2023

You wanted a winter walk and so a winter walk you'll get! Join the Pentacrest Museums for a special, one-time-only, wintertime edition of our popular Tree Tour program. Together, we'll stay connected with nature and each other even during the coldest time of the year—it's possible, we promise!

Friday, February 24, meet us on the Pentacrest, outside Macbride Hall. Dress for wintertime in Iowa and bring your sense of wonder.

https://events.uiowa.edu/75400

01/23/2023

❗ This week is your LAST CHANCE to submit your My Collections applications ❗ 📢

Each semester, we feature two unique collectors and their personal collections in Macbride Hall. This Spring, you could be one of them! Our collections and education team will review applications and select the next two exhibits THIS FRIDAY, so don't wait!

Click here to apply today: https://pentacrestmuseums.uiowa.edu/my-collections

01/22/2023

Welcome to the year of the Rabbit! 🐇🏮

01/20/2023

We'll have a table up at the Senior Volunteer Fair today and we're excited to discuss our Senior Volunteer Docent Program. Come say hello and learn more!

The start of a new year is a great time to get acquainted with some of the many outstanding organizations that serve our community, learn about volunteer opportunities, and get involved in something new!

As part of the weeklong Dr. Martin Luther Jr. Celebration of Human Rights, the Senior Center is hosting a senior-focused volunteer fair, highlighting both organizations that directly serve older adults and those that specifically recruit seniors to fulfill their volunteer needs.
Join us for an afternoon of lively conversation, enlightening exploration, and community engagement. All are welcome to attend!

Participating organizations include:
• Johnson County Iowa 55+ RSVP
• Alzheimer's Association Iowa Chapter
• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County
• CommUnity Crisis Services
• Compeer Program of Johnson County, Iowa
• Coralville Center for the Performing Arts
• Crowded Closet Thrift Shop
• Field to Family
• Free Medical Clinic
• Friends of Iowa City Senior Center
• International Women's Club of Iowa City
• Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center
• Iowa City Free Lunch Program
• Iowa City Hospice
• Iowa City Senior Center
• Iowa City VA Hospital
• Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity
• Houses into Homes
• League of Women Voters Johnson County Iowa
• Meals on Wheels of Johnson County
• NAMI Johnson County IA (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
• Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County
• North Liberty Community Pantry
• Habitat for Humanity ReStore
• Iowa Senior Health Insurance Information Program & Medicare Patrol
• Shelter House - Iowa City
• Table to Table
• TRAIL of Johnson County
• United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties
• The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums
• Visiting Nurses Association of Johnson County

01/20/2023

The start of a new year is a great time to get acquainted with some of the many outstanding organizations that serve our community, learn about volunteer opportunities, and get involved in something new!

As part of the weeklong Dr. Martin Luther Jr. Celebration of Human Rights, the Senior Center is hosting a senior-focused volunteer fair, highlighting both organizations that directly serve older adults and those that specifically recruit seniors to fulfill their volunteer needs.
Join us for an afternoon of lively conversation, enlightening exploration, and community engagement. All are welcome to attend!

Participating organizations include:
• Johnson County Iowa 55+ RSVP
• Alzheimer's Association Iowa Chapter
• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County
• CommUnity Crisis Services
• Compeer Program of Johnson County, Iowa
• Coralville Center for the Performing Arts
• Crowded Closet Thrift Shop
• Field to Family
• Free Medical Clinic
• Friends of Iowa City Senior Center
• International Women's Club of Iowa City
• Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center
• Iowa City Free Lunch Program
• Iowa City Hospice
• Iowa City Senior Center
• Iowa City VA Hospital
• Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity
• Houses into Homes
• League of Women Voters Johnson County Iowa
• Meals on Wheels of Johnson County
• NAMI Johnson County IA (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
• Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County
• North Liberty Community Pantry
• Habitat for Humanity ReStore
• Iowa Senior Health Insurance Information Program & Medicare Patrol
• Shelter House - Iowa City
• Table to Table
• TRAIL of Johnson County
• United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties
• The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums
• Visiting Nurses Association of Johnson County

Photos from The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums's post 01/20/2023

When you're looking to research and develop an architectural walking tour on campus, you need two things: university architect Rod Lenhertz and a copy of his book "The University of Iowa – Guide to Campus Architecture." Pentacrest Museums director of education and engagement Carolina Kaufman was lucky enough to have both this morning.

Stay tuned for tales of campus planning, fascinating university history, architectural details, and a new walk on the Pentacrest with us. When the tour's ready, you're invited 😉.

Photos from The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums's post 01/19/2023

Update on Kiley on the lift:

Kiley finished up work on the whale and the seal in Mammal Hall last week (slide to the end for a reminder of how cool that was) and cruised over to Bird Hall with the lift this week. Here she is, cleaning up the lifesize Laysan Albatross model on display, suspended from the ceiling as you enter the Laysan Island Cyclorama. The albatross interior features a skeleton, while the outside—a fabricated representation—offers a window to the inside giving visitors a peek at the bird's anatomy.

If you've ever been here, we're betting you're in one of two general categories: 1) "Seen this, love it!" or 2) "Walked beneath this treasure 100 times and never realized." Which are you?

Photos from The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums's post 01/19/2023

Thank you to all who were able to attend the opening event for Shadow and Light: Honoring Iraqi Academics despite this evening's weather.

See it again, or for the first time through August 2023 during our open hours, Wednesday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission is always free.

Photos from The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums's post 01/18/2023

Happy ! There are so many great photo spots in the museums, as demonstrated by our Director Liz Crooks (with our student staff, exhibits, and current maintenance projects)🤳

We're open today for the first time since our annual Winter Closure! Stop by to say hi to Rusty, check out our new Shadow and Light exhibit (opening event today at 4 pm!), and take some selfies 😉

Photos from The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums's post 01/17/2023

Can you see them?! Slide for a closer look.

Look what we found while our Terrazzo floor at Old Cap got a refresh. We believe these two nails would have been set in cement dating back to the 1920s renovation. A floor like ours gets a layer of cement before tiled patterns and a scattering of fine marble chips are arranged, set, ground, cleaned, polished, and sealed. Somewhere along the way, these nails became part of the permanent finished product. Talk about a needle in a haystack!

Many thanks to our facilities maintenance team, staff, and students who worked tirelessly on cleaning, special projects, and installations over the break. We're happy to reopen to the public tomorrow, Wednesday, January 18th, with two new exhibitions and one very shiny floor. Join us and see if you can find these nails for yourself 😉

Photos from The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums's post 01/16/2023

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, folks. We are delighted to announce that African American Museum of Iowa's exhibition Suspended: Systemic Oppression in Our Schools will be on display in the 2nd Floor Rotunda at the Old Capitol Museum from Wednesday, January 18, 2023 through August 26, 2023.

It is our privilege to keep our campus and community engaged in Iowa's Black history during the AAMI's renovation closure and we can't wait to visit their new and improved spot when it reopens.

Suspended aims to help visitors learn more and explore ways to dismantle systems that feed the school-to-prison pipeline in Iowa and beyond. This series of 3 front and back panels is a must-see for every current and aspiring teacher, and every student (that's all of us). See you Wednesday.

Timeline photos 01/15/2023

Exhibition Opening Event: Wednesday, January 18, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Join us for brief remarks at 4:30 p.m., refreshments, and a first look at Shadow & Light: Honoring Iraqi Academics.

CW//TW// death, violence, murder, war, grief, Islamomesia, Islamophobia

The Shadow and Light installation is a compilation of 31 photographs accompanied by personalized narratives, each memorializing one of the more than 700 Iraqi academics assassinated between 2003-2012. The exhibition features the stories of educators, scholars, and artists whose lives were lost to violence prompted by the U.S. led invasion, occupation, and resulting targeted violence in Iraq.

The Pentacrest Museums are honored to present Shadow and Light: Honoring Iraqi Academics with hopes of creating space for contemplation and reflection of academic freedom, intellectual bravery, and international solidarity.

Photos from The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums's post 01/14/2023

This week Kiley finished work on the right whale in Mammal Hall. You'll remember she was working to carefully clean the skeleton with a lift and some special tools. From now on, we'll call her Geppetto, since she was actually *inside* the whale for a bit. Check it out.

Our winter closure is nearly over. We'll see you Wednesday, January 18th with new exhibits and cleaner old ones.

01/13/2023

Submissions to have YOUR collection displayed in My Collections (the ongoing public exhibition series) at the UI Museum of Natural History will be reviewed and selected on Friday, January 27, 2023. Learn more about present and past displays, and apply today!

https://pentacrestmuseums.uiowa.edu/my-collections

01/13/2023

Submissions to have YOUR collection displayed in My Collections (the ongoing public exhibition series) at the UI Museum of Natural History will be reviewed and selected on Friday, January 27, 2023. Learn more about present and past displays, and apply today!

https://pentacrestmuseums.uiowa.edu/my-collections

Photos from The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums's post 01/13/2023

Sharing some animals and insects considered "lucky" 🍀 on this
Who's your lucky animal?

Photos from The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums's post 01/12/2023

It was our pleasure to host President Wilson and Provost Kregal along with esteemed colleagues yesterday afternoon for an early look at our new exhibition, Shadow and Light: Honoring Iraqi Academics.

See it for yourself at the opening event next week, Wednesday, January 18, 4-5:30 p.m. at the Old Capitol Museum with brief remarks (4:30 p.m.), refreshments, and reflection.

Details here: https://pentacrestmuseums.uiowa.edu/shadow-light

01/11/2023

"Conservation is a state of harmony between men & land"

Pausing to remember native Iowan Aldo Leopold on the anniversary of his birth. Considered by many to be the father of wildlife ecology, Leopold may best be remembered for his collection of essays, The Sand County Almanac. What's your favorite Leopold essay?

Timeline photos 01/11/2023

Meet the black-capped chickadee this !

These common birds are known for their curiosity and are easy to attract with bird feeders. A fascinating study by Dr. Fernando Nottebohm of Rockefeller University found that chickadees replace their brain neurons periodically. This allows them to forget old information, leaving room to remember the locations of thousands of hidden seeds. 🧠🤯

Have you seen a chickadee yet this winter?

Photos from The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums's post 01/10/2023

Happy ! This day brings awareness to threats eagles face today and appreciates conservation efforts that prevent their extinction.

From 1967 to 1995, bald eagles were classified as endangered due to pesticides entering the food chain and weakening their eggshells, which made their eggs crack before they could hatch. Legal protection and wildlife awareness movements helped this species recover its population, and in 2007 they were declared to be no longer endangered or threatened.

Due to their population recovery, many eagles can be seen around the Iowa River this time of year. Be on the lookout next time you walk by!

📸: Tim Schoon

Photos from The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums's post 01/09/2023

Up high, in the sky, with...a whale? That's right.

Exhibits Preparator Assistant Kiley used a lift in the Mammal Hall gallery today to reach the right whale skeleton on display. With the support of our Research Collections team, she's using a soft, natural-bristle brush to move accumulated dust from the bones’ surface into a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air)-vacuum cleaner. This special vacuum has additional filters that trap micron-sized particles to prevent dust and particulate matter from spewing back into the surrounding gallery or exhibit cases, where it can settle onto specimens or get sucked into peoples’ airways.

It's jobs like these that make our annual winter closure imperative. Looking forward to welcoming you back next week, Wednesday, January 18.

Photos from The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums's post 01/08/2023

Macbride Hall appreciation post. It's all in the details! Comment with your favorite...

UI researchers present findings on Ice Age sloth found in southwest Iowa 01/06/2023

UI researchers present findings on Ice Age sloth found in southwest Iowa

UI researchers present findings on Ice Age sloth found in southwest Iowa University of Iowa researchers have published their findings on the bones of three ancient giant ground sloths discovered in southwest Iowa.

Timeline photos 01/06/2023

REMINDER: While we all know the first Friday of each month means Art & Write Night at the Museum of Natural History...REMINDER we're amidst our annual winter closure, folks. We'll resume in February and can't wait to see you then.

Check out this photo of local artist Dana sketching a tufted titmouse in our gallery while the cat on the exhibition panel hunts 😉😼

What have YOU been making over the break?

01/04/2023

This , we're featuring the northern cardinal! Northern cardinals are territorial and sometimes seen fighting their reflections for hours. Because they don't migrate, their bright red feathers stand out against snow in the winter months. Keep an eye out for these stunning birds this winter!

Timeline photos 01/03/2023

Since we posted about the publishing of the Tarkio Valley Sloths research yesterday, we've been getting this question:
So what do these sloths have to do with Rusty the Giant Sloth?

Good question! When the UI Museum of Natural History’s Iowa Hall gallery was built in the 1980s, the designers reconstructed a life-size Jefferson’s Giant Ground Sloth, Megalonyx jeffersonii. Many museums use a mammoth to depict the "Ice Age,” but designers here, including Dr. Holmes Semken (named first in the recently published research), wanted to attract visitors with something that had not been done before. At the time, just a few single bones of Megalonyx jeffersonii had been found in Iowa, so it was happenstance that the model that is now the museum’s mascot, “Rusty,” was installed long before the University of Iowa would have a major claim in the research and collection of this species.

Photos from The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums's post 01/02/2023

The University of Iowa’s Museum of Natural History, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Office of the State Archaeologist have collaboratively completed work on research about the Jefferson’s Ground Sloth (Megalonyx jeffersonii) which they began in 2001. It was then the family of a University of Iowa student invited UI professionals onto their land in Tarkio Valley, Iowa to explore the site where they had found a fossil. What they found next was unimaginable.

This research has now been published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, featuring:
• Evidence of Iowa's environment 106,000 years ago
• The most complete skeletal remains of the species
• The first direct evidence of a Megalonyx family group (3 sloths) with extended supervised juvenile care
• The extensive collaboration between many interdepartmental staff, faculty, students, and volunteers at the University of Iowa

The research team, led by Dr. Holmes Semken (final photo in slider), says any future studies on Ice Age Ground Sloths will reference this University of Iowa study. Bravo to the many UI partners and community volunteers who supported this work!

Check out the full article: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02724634.2022.2124115

01/01/2023

HAPPY NEW YEAR! We wish you another fantastic trip around the sun in #2023 💛🖤

12/31/2022

Happy ! 🤩🎉 Are you staying up to ring in the new year?

12/30/2022

On this day 20 years ago, a new bell was installed in the dome of the Old Capitol. The original 1864 bell (pictured) was destroyed in the 2001 Old Capitol fire and is currently on display in the ground floor rotunda of the Old Capitol Museum.

The bell currently occupying the tower weighs approximately 1500 pounds and bears the inscription, "MENEELY WEST TROY BELL CAST BETWEEN 1860-1890 REPLACES THE 1864 MENEELY BELL DESTROYED IN THE 11-20-01 FIRE. INSTALLED 2002."

Have you seen the original 1864 bell before? 🔔 Come visit it after our Winter Closure! Regular hours resume Wednesday, January 18, 2023 ❄️

12/30/2022

On this day 20 years ago, a new bell was installed in the dome of the Old Capitol. The original 1864 bell (pictured) was destroyed in the 2001 Old Capitol fire and is currently on display in the ground floor rotunda of the Old Capitol Museum.

The bell currently occupying the tower weighs approximately 1500 pounds and bears the inscription, "MENEELY WEST TROY BELL CAST BETWEEN 1860-1890 REPLACES THE 1864 MENEELY BELL DESTROYED IN THE 11-20-01 FIRE. INSTALLED 2002."

Have you seen the original 1864 bell before? 🔔 Come visit it after our Winter Closure! Regular hours resume Wednesday, January 18, 2023 ❄️

12/28/2022

Welcome to , a new series that features a different bird from our Iowa Winter Birds exhibit every week this winter! This exhibit returned to the public eye for the first time in 25 years this past February with a brand-new backdrop painted by Drew Etienne.

Check out the full story below, and stay tuned to learn more about winter birds!
https://pentacrestmuseums.uiowa.edu/news/2022/02/iowa-winter-birds

Timeline photos 12/27/2022

Students walking west from the Old Capitol in winter, 1968.

Timeline photos 12/26/2022

Ever wondered about how our animals are prepared for display? This collage shows the process of making our American elk in Mammal Hall. 🦌

Fun fact: this is one of two American elk donated to us by Yellowstone National Park in December 1966.

12/21/2022

Alrighty, folks. We're calling it! Both the Museum of Natural History and the Old Capitol Museum will be closed on Thursday and Friday, December 22 and 23, 2022 due to hazardous weather conditions. This means TODAY is our last day open before our annual Winter Closure! Stop by to see Rusty one last time before the new year ❄️ We're open from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Timeline photos 12/21/2022

Happy ! ☃️ Today marks winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. We're looking forward to building snowmen in front of the Pentacrest! Ready for this snow in the forecast? ❄️

📸: Justin Torner

Videos (show all)

The Joel Barkan Memorial Lecture will be held this Wednesday, March 2nd, 5:30 pm at the Old Capitol Museum, featuring Ro...
If you guessed UI Athletics Hall of Fame from our teaser last week, you were right!Join your Museum Weirdos, Mae and Mas...
Can you guess where Mae and Mason were visiting to research the next episode of their podcast, Museum Weird? Find out fo...
MUSEUM WEIRD (the podcast) is BACK! The 1st episode in of the 2nd season is up now. Access anywhere you listen to podcas...
🔊 Our beloved student researched and produced podcast MUSEUM WEIRD is back with all new episodes coming soon! Same podca...
A message from President Wilson from our front steps at the Old Capitol Museum. #vaccinate #mask #distance #gohawks
1 — ThingLink - Google Chrome 2021-04-14 11-36-05_Trim.mp4

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