HNI Corporation

From a struggling company called Home-O-Nize to industry leader HNI Corporation, visitors to the HNI exhibit witness the transformation of a company launched in Muscatine. Near the end of World War II, many had concerns that the men returning from war would not be...

Bandag

The Bandag exhibit takes visitors through a decade by decade excursion through the company’s history. The design of the exhibit reflects the customers served by Bandag. Silver tubes, mesh venting, and tire treads pay tribute to the trucking industry. The use of...

End of the Pearl Era

The industry that was so firmly rooted in Muscatine could not continue to perpetuity. The 1930s and 1940s brought the end of major factories such as U.S. Button Company and Pennant and the close of over a dozen long-running cutting shops. Early experiments with...

Pearl Button Queen

Muscatine button factories came together to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the button industry and Iowas centennial. On July 4, 1946, seven young women employed by the button industry sat atop a float with a giant mussel shell. Each represented one of the major...

Beyond Buttons

Tons of leftover shells accumulated around Muscatines cutting shops and button factories. In some instances, the finished button made up as little as ten percent of the original shell. Factories and cutting shops wondered what to do with the leftover shell and shell...

Who’s Got the Button?

Muscatine reigned as Pearl Button Capital of the World. Although the 1911 strike disrupted the button business and everyday life in Muscatine, the town continued to produce pearl buttons. The industry itself peaked in 1916 and continued through the 1960s. James McKee...