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Our mission is to inspire stewardship by creating educational experiences where history and rivers come alive.


Our vision is to become the world’s leader in interpreting and protecting the life, history and culture of our region and rivers, to create a more global, knowledgeable and engaged citizen.

American Alliance of Museums  Association of Zoos & Aquariums  Smithsonian Affiliate

Dubuque County Historical Society

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is an outgrowth of the Dubuque County Historical Society, which also operates the Mathias Ham Historic Site, is home to the National Rivers Hall of Fame, and supports a national outreach program called RiverWorks Discovery. For a more detailed history of the Dubuque County Historical Society, follow the link below:

History of Dubuque County Historical Society

Recent Awards, Recognitions, Honors

  • 2022 Outstanding Attraction of the Year (metro category) - Travel Iowa/Iowa Economic Development Authority
  • 2021 Travelers' Choice - TripAdvisor
  • 2021 Award of Excellence for Iowa Marine Engine & Launch Works Exhibit - American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) 
  • 2020 Travelers' Choice - TripAdvisor


2023 Dubuque County Historical Society &
National Mississippi River Museum &
Aquarium Board of Directors

Tom Woodward, Chair  |  President & CEO, Woodward Communications, Inc.
Jim Gantz, Vice Chair  |  Lime-Rock Springs/Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. (retired)
Francis A. "Chip" Murray, Secretary  | President & CEO, First Community Trust, N.A.-Investment Services (retired)
Sarah Hasken, Treasurer  |  Community Leader
Lori Thielen, Past Chair  |  CFO, Rainbow Oil

John M. Bickel  |  Senior VP, Shuttleworth & Ingersoll (retired)
Carol Bitter Purtell  |  Legal Assistant, Bitter Law Firm (retired)
Gina Blasen |  Community Leader
Tim Butler  |  Vice President, Cottingham & Butler Insurance (retired)
Poppy Conlon  |  Vice President of Business Development, Conlon Construction
Mark Dickson  |  General Manager, John Deere Dubuque Works
Alex Dixon  |  CEO, Q Casino
Ken Furst  |  Partner, RSM (retired)
Teri Goodmann  |  Director of Strategic Partnerships, City of Dubuque
Amy Hawkins  |  Ex-Officio, Superintendent, Dubuque Community Schools
Wendy Knight  |  Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness, NICC
Tyson Leyendecker  |  President, Capra Bank
Ernestine Moss  |  Community Leader (retired)
Jeff Mozena  |  President & CEO, Premier Bank (retired)
Chuck Schrup   |   Co-Chairman of the Board & Chief Development Officer, American Trust & Savings Bank (retired)
Dean Wilgenbusch  |  Market President - Business Banking Team Manager, US Bank
Chad Wolbers   |   President & CEO, UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital

Emeritus Board Members

John Walsh and Paul Woodward

No officers or board members receive any compensation.

Leadership Staff

Kurt Strand
President & CEO

Andy Allison
Vice President of Living Collections & Education

Nate Breitsprecker
Director of Sales & Guest Services

Jennifer Drayna
Director of Education

Errin Howard
Executive Director of RiverWorks Discovery

Tom Lange
Vice President of Finance & Operations

Jared McGovern
Director of Conservation Programs

Paula Neuhaus
Director of Grants

John Oglesby
Director of Facilities

Wendy Scardino
Vice President of Development & Marketing

Nathan Smith
Director of IT & AV

Emma Sundberg
Director of Curatorial Services

Vicky Sutter
Director of Donor Engagement