Just like its namesake river, the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa, offers a powerful immersion into a world of free-flowing adventure and thirst-quenching experiences.
Run by the private, nonprofit organization known as the Dubuque County Historical Society (DCHS), the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium first debuted in 2003 as the nation’s premier center for interpreting and conserving the Mississippi River’s historical and natural environment. Over the years, the campus has grown to include two separate centers with an adjoining plaza that encompasses 12 large aquariums, a special effects theater and more than 10 acres of interactive exhibits and flexible meeting space.
“It is the most interactive museum on rivers in the United States,” said sales and marketing manager Nate Breitsprecker. “I’ve worked at the museum and aquarium for over 10 years, seeing over 2 million visitors come through our doors. Not one single day matches the day before. Every day is different. The facility is so unique and offers something different for everyone. It’s a very exciting place.”
As a part of an exclusive group of museums that hold American Alliance of Museums accreditation (only 9 percent in the United States), the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium has managed to create an experience for guests unlike any other. It was the institution’s own blend of historical preservation, educational discovery programs and top-notch layout and design of the space that earned it an additional accreditation as an official affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
During regular hours, groups can rent out three smaller spaces for meetings and events, but after hours, the museum and aquarium transform into an underwater oasis for everything from weddings to social gatherings. The ability to hold events among the exhibits, galleries and aquariums makes the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium an excellent candidate for anyone looking to host a memorable meeting.
During regular hours, groups can meet or hold events in any of the three smaller spaces: the 3D/4D Theater, with 135 theater-style seats, and the Journey Theater, with 82 theater-style seats, both with full multimedia capabilities, and the Historic Train Depot, which is set up for 75 guests for luncheon meetings. After hours, the entire facility becomes available for larger gatherings of up to 500, or 250 for a buffet or a plated dinner. Groups of up to 250 can also rent out the Mississippi River Center for a banquet or reception, or the outdoor spaces surrounding the building, where tents can be set up with a pavilion to accommodate up to 200 people.