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Dubuque, Iowa
Transforming Dubuque With the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium
Exterior of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. Funding from the NEH helped the Dubuque Historical Society transform from a small, regional museum to a world-class institution dedicated to the Mississippi River and its history. Image courtesy of the museum.

The NEH supported the Dubuque County Historical Society as it transformed from a small, regional museum into a world-class institution dedicated to the Mississippi River and its history. Beginning in 1976, the NEH helped the society expand from its location in a historic home to establish the Fred W. Woodward Riverboat and Museum. Early challenge grants—which helped the society raise an additional $2.2 million—provided for the expansion of the Mathias Ham House Historic Site and the Riverboat Museum while also establishing an endowment to stabilize the organization’s funding. Another series of grants helped the society expand yet again, establishing the aquarium and cementing its identity as the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. Two more challenge grants—which the organization leveraged to raise an additional $2.7 million—helped integrate the humanities into the life sciences and ecology on display at the River Discovery Center.

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