The National Mississippi River Museum

On a bright, frigid November 19, with freezing winds swirling around us, we hurried from the buses to the National Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque, Iowa. Luckily, it was much warmer inside…until we were foolish enough to take a guided tour of a dredger that was outside and totally unheated. It was interesting, but rarely has education had such a test of sheer will imposed on it.

Inside the museum was much warmer and the students broke into groups to see the exhibits. There were exhibits about river wildlife, flooding, and a large section on the role of the Mississippi River in the Civil War.

After lunch, we also looked around the aquarium that was connected to the museum that even had a real (albeit small) shark.

After the museum, we went up to a hill overlooking the city that has a strange and unique feature. It is an outdoor train running up the side of the hill. It is called the Fenelon Place Elevator, but in fact it is a type of funicular. It was originally built in 1882. That’s a great fact to remember when you are rattling down a very steep slope, 200 feet above the street below.

There were a few reluctant people, but in the end, we all rode down and up, in two groups.

So, if you had any doubt, that is how you spend a cold, November day in Dubuque, Iowa.

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