The Gold Rush of the Midwest

It wasn’t gold, it wasn’t silver, it was mother of pearl. Shells taken from rivers of 19 states around Iowa were shipped to Muscatine by railcar & bargeloads to make 1.5 billion buttons annually. 

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A National Treasure Story

The National Pearl Button Museum @ The History and Industry Center proudly tells Muscatine’s story in becoming the Pearl Button Capital of the World. We continue in the 21st Century as a thriving manufacturing and entrepreneurial center. The Center continues today with your support to collect, preserve and interpret local industrial and entrepreneurial history, highlighting the past, present and future of the Muscatine area.

We stayed the weekend in Muscatine Iowa and had the opportunity to tour the National Pearl Button Museum. I thought to myself that this is just a button museum but I was so wrong. Yes it is about buttons but more specifically Pearl Buttons. Terry gave us an tour and told us the incredible story behind Pearl Buttons and Clams. The passion and enthusiasm Terry has telling the story makes you want to know more. We had an awesome time. This is a MUST SEE if you are in Muscatine Iowa.

Carol Bock

Corporate Sponsors

The National Pearl Button Museum thrives with the support of its corporate partners.  The Pearl Pipeline of Industrial History includes entrepreneurial & philanthropy that benefited not only Iowa but the World.  See their stories on display on the second floor of the Museum.