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About Us

We proudly tell the town’s story in becoming the Pearl Button Capital of the World, which we are NOW describing the history as 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. The button story is a Midwestern American growth story, a National treasure story from the past, we as well are telling the story of how Muscatine continues today in the 21st Century as a thriving manufacturing and entrepreneurial center.

National Pearl Button Museum Hours

Leaves are changing, things are changing at the museum!!.

Stop and see our newly expanded gift shop!  We have brought artists from all over our city to sell Muscatine related art. These items make great gifts for family & friends and many have sent these art pieces to friends abroad. Keep us in minds for day trips, family reunions and vacations!!  We are an ideal spot for you to enjoy with family and friends and learn all about Muscatine…the Pearl City!!

We are open Tuesday- Saturday from 10-4!! from March-December. Our winter hours will start January 1st, we will be open 10-4 Fridays & Saturdays through February 28th.

Please contact us in advance if you are touring with a group so that we can be prepared to provide you with the best experience we can provide!! Tours will be accepted during winter hours Monday thru Thursday by appointment only.

See you soon!!

Looking for a great day or weekend trip?

Now’s the perfect time to start thinking about visiting Muscatine!!  The beautiful new Merrill Hotel is ready and waiting for you!!  Our quaint historic little downtown provides lots of opportunities for trying a variety of cuisines and offers lots of shopping opportunities.

And then there is us! We are the Muscatine History and Industry Center!! We showcase our town’s story in becoming the Pearl Button Capital of the World and entering the 1950’s as a a manufacturing and industrial mecca!

You won’t lack for things to do and places to go…spend an afternoon, a day or a weekend taking in the sights!!  The Mighty Mississippi sits at our front door with walking paths, biking and hiking trails all ready for your adventure!!


Regular Hours (March through December)
Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Other times by special appointment

Winter Hours (January through February)
Friday and Saturday Only: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Other times by special appointment

For additional information please call the National Pearl Button Museum at 563-263-1052.


Suggested donation $5 for adults and $1 for students.


From Interstate 80: Take IA-38 S / US-6 W (Exit 271) towards Wilton / Muscatine.
Turn right onto IA-38 S / US-6 W. Continue to follow IA-38 S. IA-38 becomes E 2nd St.

From Burlington: Take US-61 N. US-61 becomes IA-92 / US-61 BR. Turn Right onto IA-92 / US-61 / Mississippi Dr.
Turn left onto Iowa Ave.
Turn left onto W 2nd St.

Group Tours

Groups are asked to schedule  in advance of the tour by calling 563-263-1052. Admission for adult group tours is $5 per person.

School Aged Youth Tours

Persons interested in arranging tours for school aged youth should contact the Muscatine History and Industry Center and request information on available dates and times.  The Muscatine History and Industry Center tailors tours to the age level of the student. The exhibits in the center are best suited for students in third grade through adult.

Button Club Members love us!!  We cater to your needs and interests.

We will accommodate your Book Club, Church or Civic Group, as well as, Antique Car or Motorcycle enthusiasts.  We often provide tours to Mystery Tour and Bank Tour Groups.

Our tours focus on the Pearl Button Industry when Muscatine was producing 37% of the world’s Pearl Buttons making us the Pearl Button Capital of the World.  We move from the era of the button to the era of the industrial entrepreneurs. Three fortune five hundred companies and many other outstanding businesses and industries were born here on the banks of the mighty Mississippi. The  creative minds of these entrepreneurs and the technology they developed made Muscatine then and now the vibrant entrepreneurial center it is.

Board Room Available

Great downtown Muscatine venue for corporate or club type meeting groups of 12 or fewer.

Call 563-263-1052 or complete the contact form below for more information.

Contact Us

National Pearl Button Museum at the History and Industry Center
117 West Second Street
Muscatine, Iowa 52761

Phone: 563-263-1052
Email: [email protected]

Becoming a Friend

The National Pearl Button Museum @ 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.

As a friend of the National Pearl Button Museum, you can help keep the Pearl Button Capital of the World and the stories of Muscatine’s creative entrepreneurs like C. Maxwell Stanley and Roy J. Carver… alive by:

  • Becoming a National Pearl Button Museum Friend
  • Becoming a Volunteer
  • Sharing the story with your family and friends
  • Schedule a Group Tour
  • Plan a visit
  • Host an event
  • Visit our Gift Shop

Thanks for playing a role in Muscatine’s Story!

Become a Member



Keep the Pearl Button Capital of the World Days and the stories of Muscatine’s Creative Entrepreneurs like C. Maxwell Stanley, Roy J. Carver alive!

Thank you for your support!

Historic Muscatine is a 501(c)(3) organization and memberships are tax deductible.