About

The Putnam Today


Download our 2016 Annual Report

Almost 150 years after its founding, the Putnam continues to thrive, offering unique, immersive, hands-on learning experiences to 150,000 visitors annually, including 35,000 school children each year. Our mission is to inspire ideas, dialogue and interaction among people of all ages through entertaining experiences that connect them to history, cultures, nature and the environment, by preserving collections and presenting educational programs, films and exhibits. We exist to preserve our region’s treasures, educate people of all ages in unique and lasting ways and connect people to each other as they experience science, history, cultures and environments throughout time and across the globe.

The Putnam has developed valuable partnerships to help us achieve these ends. Named a Smithsonian Affiliate in 2010, we now have access to long-term loans, educational programs and professional development opportunities from this pre-eminent institution. Similarly, as one of the first three National Geographic GIANT Screen Theaters in the world, the Putnam has access to a rich array of films and learning experiences as well as opportunities to market to National Geographic members.

Likewise, in 2013, we partnered with NASA to bring a live call with astronauts aboard the International Space Station to 250 students in our GIANT Screen Theater. Most recently, the Putnam was named the lead entity for the State of Iowa for the National Girls Collaborative Project, a National Science Foundation-funded initiative that encourages girls to pursue advanced STEM coursework and careers. These national connections, coupled with a range of local partnerships, help maximize our ability to serve our region.

In recent years, the Putnam has begun bringing world-renowned blockbuster exhibits such as Diana: A Celebration and Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition to the Quad Cities. We also have thriving outreach programs for students from pre-K through 8th grade with topics ranging from ancient Egypt to the Civil War to physics and chemistry. 

In April 2014, we opened our Science Center, which has more than 45 hands-on experiences such as the Pull-Yourself-Up Pulley, Laser Fog, an interactive bi-lingual robot and more. Featuring graphics and information highlighting the connections between the phenomena visitors are experiencing and local Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) careers, the Center will enhance STEM literacy and help inspire visitors to pursue further STEM learning opportunities and careers, thereby helping to make our region more economically competitive.

As we approach our sesquicentennial, the Putnam continues to evolve to ensure that we are maximally relevant to the community we serve and that we optimally meet the needs of our region.

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