Last updated: 3/14/2014
Glenwood, Iowa
Street Address
2 Lake Drive
Glenwood, IA 51534
Mailing Address
P.O. Box 255
Glenwood, IA 51534


10 AM - 4 PM
1 PM - 4 PM




Stephen Hunt, President

There are Five buildings to visit. The Main Museum which contains local historical artifacts. A Burlington Caboose. A machinery hall filled with tractors, cars, replicas of kitchens, a reproduction of an 1880 bathroom. A one room schoolhouse. A historic red barn of yesterday.

Featuring many exhibits, from Chief Waubaunsee artifacts to examples of early quilting to a recreation of an old country store, the museum offers many enjoyable hours of browsing discovering the history of Southwestern Iowa.

Earth Lodge

In the early 1930’s people started finding evidence of earth lodges in the Loess Hills around Glenwood. Archaeologists were called in and they checked the ones which were found. When highway 34 from Glenwood was built over the hill to Interstate 29, many artifacts including burial sites were found. The archaeologists were again called in. This delayed the finish of the highway for about two years. As the items were carbon dated, it was found those people lived around the area from about 900- to 1400 AD. From all the information uncovered at that time, a group of people from the area formed a society. This was called the Glenwood Earth Lodge Society. They started building a reproduction of the lodge using the information found in the excavations. It has been a good attraction for many people to see how the people lived so many years ago.There are about 200 known earth lodge sites in this area. There have only been about 70 excavated. The Glenwood Earth Lodge is the only reconstructed Earth Lodge in the State of Iowa.


Promote understanding of an respect for the history of the people and cultures of Mills County through education, stewardship of collection, and public outreach.


Established in 1959, the Mills County Historical Museum is located on the edge of Glenwood Lake Park.


The Mintle Family of Glenwood built the main building of the Museum in 1959. They felt it would be good to invest their money in something in Glenwood. In the early 1960’s, the Mintle Family added wings on the north and south sides of the building as the Board wanted a special room for the Native American Artifacts. There are thousands of artifacts on display.

In 1983 the Detlef/Fischer family decided to donate some of the furniture from their parents' home. Katie Hamann was the youngest of the three daughters and was instrumental in establishing this. They created a four-room cottage and porch in the north wing, lower floor. The big feature in the cottage is the player piano with 120 rolls of music. This is played for visitors. Since then many more rolls have been acquired.

There are six rooms upstairs in the old part of the main building, including the north and south wings. This houses the County Store, Clubs and Lodge, Chapel, Mintle Room (Spinning Wheels), Children’s Room, Toy Room. Drug Store and others.

In 1994 money was received from the Ray Thomas Trust and built on a good-sized addition with two floors. This contains the military room, map room and the music room and Craig Cottage on the second floor.


The museum is grateful for all donations of cash as well as items. All donated items have to be accepted by a committee of members of the board. Memorials are received in memory of people who have appreciated what the museum has done for the community. New cabinets, fire extinguishers, and exit lights are some of the items purchased with memorial funds.

Artifact Collections

One of the finest most complete collection of:

Native American Artifacts of the Glenwood Culture
A military room filled with local military items from the Revolutionary War to Afganistan
A general store
Tractors, cars, and other farm equipment
Cast iron toys
Many other local historical items such as a drug store, barber and beauty shop, doctor's office and two three room cottages
Research Collections

Our Native American artifact.

Educational Programs
Teacher workshops put on by University Iowa Archeaology Program.
Fontenell Forest winter program.
Speaker Series on local and regional history.
No Fees.

Native American Meeting Room.

Machinery Hall meeting space.

One room schoolhouse.

Lecture Halls
Performance Areas

Governed by a nonprofit board.


Monthly Newsletter cover local history and events.


Have a chair lift.

Wheelchair Accessible
Museum Events
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Western Museums Association’s (WMA) 2023 Annual Meeting

October 5 - 8, 2023

Pasedena, California

New England Museum Association 2023 Conference

November 8 - 10, 2023

Portland, Maine

Small Museum Association 2023 Conference

February 19 - 21, 2024

Richmond, Virginia

2024 California Association of Museums Conference Announced

March 10 - 14, 2024

Location TBD



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