• Birds and You

    Open now through summer 2021!

    Did you know? The number of birds in the U.S. and Canada has fallen by a staggering 29% since 1970! Each of us can play a role in bird restoration efforts. 

    Birds and You examines the role we all can play in protecting and preserving the birds we see every day in our backyards and fields. Visitors can expect to see a variety of taxidermy mounts, eggs, and nests from the Putnam’s collection while learning about the issues facing birds today and the simple things they can do to help.

    The exhibit includes a variety of birdhouses loaned by community members and will feature activities including identifying birds by their silhouettes and creating your own origami passenger pigeon.

    Birds and You will also be the starting place for a self-guided bird watch at the Putnam. Visitors will learn about various local species in the exhibit and receive a checklist for a "bird count" in Black Earth Big River which features hundreds of taxidermy animals, including birds, in a natural setting complete with a cave system, woodlands, and river tributary. Putnam partner and President of Quad Cities Audubon Society, Jody Millar, hopes the experience will introduce visitors to birding as a hobby and encourage them to participate in regional Audubon Society bird counts. "A walk through the Black Earth Big River area should be fun," she said. "Many birds have been placed here in a life-like setting. While folks walk through and search for birds, they will have an opportunity to learn more about birds and to sharpen their birding skills."

    For a preview of the exhibit, watch this video tour! Plan your visit here


    Click Here To View Spanish Translations to exhibit labels



  • OMg! Elements of Surprise

    Discover the building blocks that shape YOUR WORLD through this Putnam exhibit experience about the weird and wonderful Periodic Table!
    Elements are all around you; they make up EVERYTHING — the air we breathe, the water we drink, the earth we walk on AND YOU!
    Celebrate the Year of the Periodic Table and take an eye-opening tour through the Periodic Table of Elements — more than 150 years after its creation!

    In this fascinating, interactive exhibit, you’ll explore how these elements shape your world while you create molecular compounds and set off virtual chemical reactions! From hidden histories to stories your teacher never told you in Chemistry class, you'll discover the periodic table in a new light!

    Take a virtual tour of the OMg! Exhibit

    Visit our YouTube channel to view more OMg! videos. 

    Learn more from home 

    Chemistry demonstrations are available here! Print and complete this word search to help learn the names of each element! 


    Generous support provided by Arconic Foundation and ACS Illinois-Iowa Local Section.
  • Fossils and Minerals

    The fossil and mineral annexes, located off our main entrance, feature rotating displays from our rock, mineral and gem collections as well as our paleontology collections. 

    Currently featured in the fossil annex is a collection of Mazon Creek fossils from Illinois, including a Tully Monster (the Illinois State fossil), and a number of other strange animals from that site. The Mazon Creek area is world-renowned for its preservation of soft-bodied animals. Iowa's unofficial State fossil, the crinoid, is also currently featured. In aditional to a crinoid slab from Le Grand, Iowa, the display also includes part of one of the earliest donations made to the museum from outside the immediate Quad Cities area, a collection of crinoid stem pieces collected from Burlington, Iowa, that were acquired in January 1868.

    The mineral annex currently features from Iowa--Yes, there's more to Iowa's rocks and minerals than coal and gravel. You'll also see displays about industrial minerals, agates, and geodes.  Additionally, there is a selection of birthstone material found in our mineral collection.

    You'll also see our sluice interactive in this area. Mine rough is available for purchase in the Museum Store. 

  • The Colors of Culture

    The Colors of Culture is an original Putnam exhibit, now open in the Putnam’s new World Culture Gallery. The World Culture Gallery celebrates the diverse cultures of our community by featuring artifacts from our international collection including objects from the world travels of some of the museum's founders such as the Putnam, Palmer, and Figge families.

    In its inaugural exhibit, visitors will learn about the symbolism of color in adornment, home and celebration. The exhibit is a partnership with World Relief Quad Cities, including artifacts loaned by families in the organization's refugee resettlement program.

    The exhibit includes bilingual signage and is accessible with general admission. It will remain open through 2021. Plan your visit today!


  • Coming Soon - Winter Wheels: Antique Motorcycle Exhibition

    opening November 13, 2021! 

    Winter Wheels: Antique Motorcycle Exhibition is a ride through history on two wheels. Open November 13, 2021 – April 3, 2022, this exhibition features vintage, classic, and antique motorcycles of all makes and models. Motorheads and new riders alike will enjoy viewing rusty gold to frame-up restorations and everything in between in this Putnam-original exhibition.

  • River, Prairie & People

    River, Prairie and People takes visitors back in time as they discover what the Quad Cities was like for its earliest inhabitants, and how the Mississippi River helped form the community.

    Experience how the Quad Cities took shape through milestones such as the founding of Davenport by Antoine LeClaire, and how the Civil War brought about the Rock Island Arsenal. 

    See many Quad-City artifacts including the famous Davenport Tablets, learn how John Deere got his start and get up close to Bix Beiderbecke’s cornet as you stroll through this exhibit of Quad-City history. 

    Be a part of history in the making!

    red rectangle logo with text of "Regional History Update The Putnam Museum and Science Center"

    With support from the Regional Development Authority, the Putnam Museum is in the first stage of a multi-year process to update and reinvigorate our Regional History Exhibit. Along with community partners, our goal is to ensure that all Quad Citizens are represented, and that everyone understands the contributions, struggles, successes, and heritage of all the communities that make up this region.


    Email us at exhibits@putnam.org with your stories, feedback, ideas of milestones in QC history we should include, and any artifacts or digital content you may want to contribute.


  • Unearthing Ancient Egypt

    Step into an ancient Egyptian tomb, discover how ancient Egyptians lived and what they required for a pleasant afterlife. Through a collection of breathtaking authentic Egyptian treasures and the magic of CT (Computed Tomography) imagery, explore two mummies − inside and out! Find out how forensic anthropologists reconstruct facial features and take in our amazing collection of authentic Egyptian treasures!

    This iconic gallery is not to be missed!

  • Science Galleries

    Note: The following Science Center Galleries are open:
    Dino Dig (weather permitting)

    History of Technology
    Science of Art


    Stay tuned for information regarding the reopening of other science galleries.

    An inspiring, hands-on experience for everyone! Playing a laser harp, creating a cloud, and discovering the power of wind probably isn’t your typical day.

    The Putnam Science Center is part of the Museum’s focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, and supports national and statewide efforts to increase STEM skills. Using existing museum space, the center features a variety of hands-on stations.

    Visitors of all ages will not only learn concepts and make connections to STEM careers but will have fun together doing it!

    When you visit, you may notice that the Science Galleries look a bit messy. These spaces are in "trial stage", which means signage and label content is still being developed by our educators and shaped by our visitors. After we test various ideas and gather feedback, content will be finalized and printed professionally. Share your thoughts with a staff member in the gallery or at Ticketing during your next visit.


    The Space Gallery is supported in part by the Iowa Space Grant Consortium under NASA Award No. 80NSSC20M0107. 



    The Bechtel Trusts
    John Deere Foundation
    Vision Iowa
    Alcoa Foundation and Alcoa Davenport Works
    Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust
    City of Davenport
    Hubbell-Waterman Foundation
    Modern Woodmen of America
    Cobham Life Support
    Easter Family Fund
    Mr. Reuben Margolin
    Riverboat Development Authority
    Scott County Regional Authority
    Achieve Quad Cities
    Genesis Systems Group
    John H. Harris III Memorial Foundation
    Mr. Frank & Mrs. Ann McCarthy
    McLaughlin Body Company
    Scott County
    Mr. Steve & Mrs. Jane Bahls
    Mr. Mark & Mrs. Rita Bawden
    Duncan & Dianne Cameron Family Foundation
    Doris & Victor Day Foundation
    Moline Foundation
    Royal Neighbors of America
    Mr. Myron & Mrs. Carolyn Scheibe
    Shive-Hattery, Inc.
    Tennant Truck Lines, Inc.
    Mr. Dana & Mrs. Faye Waterman
    Dr. Ralph H. and Mrs. Marcia A.
    Iowa Space Grant Consortium
    Isle of Capri
    Mid States Transmission Parts
    Miracle Tools America LLC
    Anne McCoy Nagan Fund
    Mr. Chris & Mrs. Mary Rayburn
    Dr. Paul & Mrs. Karen Rohlf
    Mr. Mike & Mrs. Sara Thoms
    Mr. Frank & Mrs. Teresa Clark
    Mr. Ken Croken & Ms. Kathryn
    Mr. Travis & Mrs. Amanda Crowell
    DMW Design
    Ms. Kim Findlay & Mr. Rick Brackey
    Iowa/Illinois Chapter NDIA
    Mr. Stephen & Mrs. Melinda Kruse
    Mr. Leo Schubert & Ms. Susan Sharar
    Mrs. Katherine Sigardson-Poor & Dr. Curtis Poor
    Silver Oaks Communications
    Mr. David & Mrs. Barbara Sloane
    Staak Family Fund
    US Bank
    Anonymous (2)
    Mr.  David & Mrs. Ewelina Bergert
    Mr. Ryan & Mrs. Allison Castle
    Ms. Christine Chandler
    Ms. Linda Cook
    Ms. Drue Curry
    Mr. Mark & Mrs. Mary Davidsaver
    Ms. Christy A. Doornink
    Mr. Jeff & Mrs. Lori Doroba
    Doroba Dental
    Mr. Ted & Mrs. Lisa Ewing
    Mr. Luke Fernandez
    Mr. Keith & Mrs. Marie Gellerstedt
    Shaun & Victoria Graves
    Mr. Matt & Mrs. Christine Hayes
    Ms. Christina Kastell
    Mr. Brad & Mrs. Lindsey Kennedy
    Ms. Alice H. Loff
    Ms. Kelly MacIntyre
    Mr. Steve & Mrs. Patricia Mapley
    Ms. Janet Masamoto
    Mrs. Barbara Matt
    Ms. Susan Matt
    Mr. Tim & Mrs. Lynn Murphy
    Ms. Nichole Myles
    Mr. David & Mrs. Martha Neal
    Claudia & Randall Neumann
    Diane & Michael Puthoff
    Ms. Susan S. Skora
    Ms. Meia S. Teague
    Ms. Betsy Matt Turner
    Mr. Rian Waterman

    Barbara H Lowe, Wendy Schuldt, Douglas L Rick, Allison Castle, David Bergert, Lindsey M Kennedy, Nixalite of America, Luke Fernandez, Susan Matt, Mark A Davidsaver, Drue K. Curry, Nichole Myles, Barbara Matt, Christy A Doornink, Alice Loff, Patricia Mapley, Stephen Mapley, Matt Hayes, Timothy J Murphy, Susan S. Skora, Christine L Chandler, Theodore B. Ewing, Christina Kastell, Meia S. Teague, Linda Cook, Kelly MacIntyre, Elizabeth Matt Turner, Rian D. Waterman, Jonah Cohen, and anonymous

  • Black Earth | Big River

    Cross over the bridge and let the River guide you through the natural habitats of the Quad Cities area. Explore wetlands, woodlands, prairies and even your own backyard as you wander through the Putnam’s interactive exhibit. See the creatures large and small that roam our area today. Explore a huge oak tree – from the inside out! Listen to the sounds of the marsh and the stories of the people who live on the River. Come face-to-face with LIVE Mississippi River fish in our 718-gallon aquarium!

    You'll do this and more when you see the area's natural habitats as you've never seen them before in Black Earth | Big River.

  • Hall of Mammals

    Explore the world of mammals at the Putnam! From the familiar cottontail rabbit in your backyard to the polar bears of the Arctic Circle, mammals – large and small – are everywhere! Travel from an artic glacier to an African waterhole, and check out who's come for a drink. Not only will you see these animals in their natural habitats, you’ll hear them too!

    Where else can you travel from your backyard to the dusty plains of Africa and the ice-covered waters of the Arctic in just a few steps?

    Take a Virtual Tour of our Hall of Mammals exhibit! You van view more on this exhibit by following our YouTube Channel here!

    To read some of the exhibit captions in Spanish, click here

  • Faces of the Past

    Faces of the Past is an original Putnam exhibit that explores portraiture around the world and across time as a reflection of self-identity, popular culture, mythology, and ritual.

    Throughout the world, people see themselves in different ways. Cultures demonstrate how they view themselves through artwork. Whether depicted solely with human features, a blend of human and animal characteristics or something completely supernatural, the masks, wood carvings and pottery in the exhibit characterize a great deal about the cultures that made them. Visitors can expect to see faces representing 20 countries and 35 cultures including a Pre-Columbian face jug, Japanese Noh and Kyogen theater masks, dance masks from Africa and more.

    The Putnam believes in strong community collaboration is proud to be partnering with the Figge Art Museum on their For America exhibit from the National Academy of Design. We hope visitors will get a chance to see both exhibits and are able to compare and contrast portraits from cultures around the world. 

    Located in Kornder Hall, entrance to the exhibit is included with general admission and will remain open through mid-2021. Plan your visit today!



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