The Gold Rushof the midwest
In the early 1900s, Muscatine, Iowa was known as “the Pearl Button Capital of the World.” It manufactured more than 1.5 billion mother-of-pearl buttons each year! The National Pearl Button Museum tells the story of the immigrant-entrepreneurs, the laborers, the buttons, and the mussels that put our town on the map.
Learn How The Humble Button Put Our Quiet River Town on the map!
In the early 1900s, Muscatine, Iowa was known as “the Pearl Button Capital of the World,” manufacturing more than 1.5 billion mother-of-pearl buttons annually, and 3/8ths of all pearl buttons sold in the world. Drawn from the natural bounty of mussels in the Mighty Mississippi, nearly everyone in town was employed by the luxury pearl button industry in one form or another. Our museum tells the story of the immigrant-entrepreneurs, the laborers, the buttons, and even the mussels!
A MUST SEE FOR GUYS & GALS!
A Must See for Guys and Gals!
I read a couple of Trip Advisor reviews and it sold me on this special museum. We stopped in and opted for the docent led narrative by Vada Baker. No fee for the museum, however your donation helps carry on this legacy. Vada has a passion for the Pearl Button era. I’ve been sewing for 50+ years so I knew I would enjoy the museum. My partner thoroughly enjoyed as well. The ingenuity and equipment used for these buttons is amazing. Go, it’s well worth it. I’m going to recommend to my Midwest friends to make this a weekend or day trip.
Loved this place! You’d be amazed on the history of pearl buttons. I was. This is a great museum that’s also free and very informative and has lots of unknown history on the button. The women that were working here at the time were super friendly and very informative. There’s a free 30 minute tour of the place if you want to take it or just self guide yourself. Nice gift shop too. Highly, highly recommend.
Button Lore & More!
The National Pearl Button Museum is a treasure trove of history, science and lore of the humble but necessary pearl button of the 19th and early 20th centuries. This museum tells the story of the people who lived and worked on the Mississippi River, turning out 1.5 billion of these discs a year. The little pearl button was a Really Big Deal to Muscatine, the center of this button business. The tour was excellent; entertaining and informative. You’ll have more fun than you thought possible at this well-designed museum.
Thank YOu TO
OUr corporate Sponsors
The National Pearl Button Museum thrives with the support of its corporate partners. The pearl pipeline of industrial history includes entrepreneurial and philanthropy that benefited not only Iowa, but the world. See their stories on display on the second floor of the museum.