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Bigger, Better Spaces in the Grout Museum District

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One of Waterloo, Iowa’s favorite meeting and event spaces just got bigger and better.

the Grout Museum District

In March, the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum and the Grout Museum of History and Science finished the expansion and technology upgrades of their largest space, which combines the veterans museum lobby and a large event and meeting space called the Mess Hall.

The expansion was possible by moving a gift shop, which allowed the museums to increase capacity from 175 to 250. A new state-of-the-art audiovisual system was added, with multiple flat-screens, projector and streaming capabilities, which allow guests in the lobby to watch speakers and presentations in the adjacent Mess Hall on a screen. In the Mess Hall, a large built-in bar that also serves as a buffet was added.

The museums are part of the Grout Museum District, which also includes the Carl A. and Peggy J. Bluedorn Science Imaginarium and two historic homes, including the Snowden House, which can be booked for private events. Those three properties are separated by a one block city park.

The museums are three blocks from the recently renovated Waterloo Convention Center at Sullivan Brothers Plaza downtown and the renovated 171-guest room Best Western Plus Executive Residency Waterloo and Cedar Falls, which is attached to the center. Because they are so close, groups meeting at the convention center often use the museums for events.

In fact, a state association meeting at the convention center recently used the expanded space at the Grout and veterans museums for its welcome reception. It had a band in the lobby, a bar and offered tours of the veterans museum, an option for any group that meets there.

Other Spaces

Other meeting spaces at the museums include classrooms, a conference room, a theater and one of only three public planetariums in the state of Iowa with public programming. A sleek second-floor boardroom for up to 25 people has a large window that looks out on the P51 Mustang fighter plane that hangs high in the two-story lobby.

When they meet at the museums, groups can absorb Waterloo’s history, which the town proudly shares and has worked diligently to preserve.

The veterans museum honors Iowa veterans, from the Civil War to the present. Among its exhibits is a replica of the USS Juneau, the World War II cruiser that was sunk in 1942, taking the lives of most of the sailors on board including the five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo. The Grout museum digs into Waterloo’s transition from small town to industrial hub and delves into the impact of its immigrant population.   

The museum also has good connections for adding interesting programs. Clifton Truman Daniel, Harry S Truman’s oldest grandson, spoke at a dinner to celebrate the museums’ expansion this spring. Qualified museum staff can talk about the history of Waterloo, the Sullivan brothers and other topics. Kelly Sullivan, granddaughter of Albert, one of the Sullivan brothers, is an avid supporter of the museum and has spoken to groups in the past.

Fore more information about planning a meeting in the Grout Museum District, please contact:

Grout Museum District

Teresa Bryant