• Touch the untouchable with Augmented Reality!

    Are you brave enough to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a T-Rex?

    You don't need a time machine to get up-close with dinosaurs! These prehistoric monsters have awakened and are at the Putnam's newest AR experience — "Back to the Jurassic."

    Come face-to-face with other larger-than-life creatures, like a giant diplodocus and a magestic sauropod, and meet a pack of raptors with the area's first AR experience! "Back to the Jurassic" lets you interact in real-time with these amazing dinos and engage with the environment around them. Once your adventure is complete, you will be emailed a photo and social media-ready video you can then share with your friends and family.

    What is augmented reality?

    AR superimposes a computer-generated image on the real world — giving you the opportunity to “touch the untouchable” through real-time interactions with photo-realistic characters and animals. The entire program lasts about 5 minutes.
    The “Back to the Jurassic” is located in the Science Center and is FREE with general admission. Putnam members receive FREE general admission!


    "Back to the Jurassic" is sponsored by 

    The Putnam's AR experience is sponsored by 

    2C_RDA_Logo150px.jpg       SCRALOGO.jpg
  • The Great Collectors & YOU — Closing Soon!

    NOTE 1: The Great Collectors & YOU exhibit will close after Sunday, Oct. 20.
    NOTE 2: Your Trading Place is closed until winter. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for updates!

    About the exhibit

    Find out whether that piece in your child's collection is a geode, a trilobite, a fragment of fossil coral or a shell from the Mississippi River with the exhibit — The Great Collectors & YOU!
    Discover artifacts collected by some of the most prolific collectors from the Quad Cities and learn something new about the items in your own collection straight from the Putnam's knowledgeable staff with the interactive feature, Your Trading Place!

    Discover rarely seen collections from around the globe, assembled by the Putnam's early contributors such as the Palmer, Ficke and Figge families. Among the items coming out of the Putnam's vault for this exhibit are a Buddhist shrine collected by C.A. Ficke, African specimens and artifacts collected by the Figge family and more!



    Your trading place

    An interactive feature within the exhibit, Your Trading Place lets you take an active role in learning about items in your collection.

    How it works: Bring an object from your collection that you'd like to learn more about to Your Trading Place — open Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m. or available by appointment — and share the story behind your item with Trading Place staff. Staff then will be available to provide more information, and collectors of all ages can conduct their own research using resources within the exhibit. 

    You can then trade your item for another found object or take it home with a newfound appreciation!

    Trading place rules

    Guests can bring in natural items, posters, reports, dioramas, etc., and share what they know with staff.

    Items that are accepted for trade include leaves, seeds, mounted pressed plants, wood samples, shells, dried cocoons, teeth, antlers, snake skins, turtle shells, clean dried bones, dried or pinned insects, rocks, minerals and fossils. 

    WE DO NOT ACCEPT: Live animals, protected species (plants or animals), taxidermy mounts, large pelts, anything that is stinky with flesh still attached, specimens/objects removed from protected lands, archaeological material or Native American artifacts. If it’s too big to carry, it’s too big to trade.

    Limit is 2 trades per session. Items dropped off for trade become the property of the museum.

    Collectors Wanted: Become a volunteer!

    Do want to share your knowledge of the natural world, including plants, animals, rocks, fossils, etc.? Can you spare 2 to 4 hours of your weekend or weekday to help collectors of all ages learn about their finds?
    We need YOUR expertise and enthusiasm to staff the Your Trading Place feature in The Great Collectors & YOU exhibit! 

    To become a volunteer, fill out the volunteer application and disclosure form and return to the ticketing counter at the Putnam during regular museum hours. Please contact Curator of Natural Science Christine Chandler at cchandler@putnam.org or 563-336-7287 with any questions.

  • Rube Goldberg™, The World of Hilarious Invention! - NOW OPEN!!

    • Exhibit OPEN NOW through Jan. 5! Included with museum admission!

    Discover the creative process behind Rube Goldberg’s fantastically ridiculous machines and dream up your own inventions with the Rube Goldberg™, The World of Hilarious Invention! exhibit — NOW OPEN at the Putnam!

    This exhibit showcases Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist and inventor Rube Goldberg’s iconic contraptions, imaginative illustrations and humorous storytelling, celebrating his skills as both an artist and inventor.

    You’ll activate and create crazy chain-reaction contraptions that use everyday objects to complete simple tasks in the most overcomplicated, inefficient and hilarious ways possible.

    Rube Goldberg machines are many things, but they aren’t perfect. Find the fun in failure as you step into the role of illustrator, storyteller and inventor!

    Rube’s World

    The exhibit uses authentic 3D recreations inspired by original Rube Goldberg illustrations with newly created interactive components, designed and built by Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, to convey the humorous narratives and inventive thinking that embody Rube’s work. His contraptions become not only an entry point for deeper exploration of themes related to storytelling, but to the way things work.

    Original illustrations by Ed Steckley from the award-winning children’s book, Rube Goldberg’s Simple Normal Humdrum School Day, a collection of new responsive chain-reaction exhibits, and videos featuring the latest chain-reaction machines from all around the world tell the bigger story of Rube Goldberg’s legacy. 

    A Deeper Understanding

    A chain reaction can be an important part of developmental thinking, from how our electronics work, to the language of coding, to choosing the right bait, hook, and rod to reel in a fish. Download the Education Guide!

    Rube Goldberg™, The World of Hilarious Invention Exhibit! is created by the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh in partnership with the Heirs of Rube Goldberg.

  • The Dragon and the Rising Sun

    Discover rare and dazzling artifacts and artwork from the Putnam's vault on display for a limited time with the exhibit The Dragon and the Rising Sun: Traditions of China and Japan!

    This exhibit contrasts Japanese Tokugawa Shogunate and Imperial China, featuring comparisons of traditional clothing, edged weapons, art, musical instruments, depictions of dragons and foo dogs.

    Featuring artifacts collected by early Putnam contributors like the Ficke and Palmer families, most of The Dragon and the Rising Sun artifacts haven't been on display in decades, and some have never been seen by the general public before.

    As you tour this fantastic collection, you’ll familiarize yourself with armor, furniture and more from both regions. You will also contemplate how these cultures differed greatly from one another during the 1800s.

    Learn more about the Putnam's Collection.

  • River, Prairie & People

    Can You Find the 13 Ghosts of the Quad Cities?

    The Putnam celebrates the heritage of the Quad Cities, including works of local artists, film makers, and authors. In October, we are featuring the new book, "Ghosts of the Quad Cities" by Michael McCarty and Mark McLaughlin – available in the museum’s Gift Shop. The book uncovers tales of two-dozen hauntings in the Iowa/Illinois Quad Cities area.

    Thirteen of those hauntings are represented in the Putnam’s River, Prairie and People exhibit, scattered throughout the images and artifacts of our regional history. Can you find the 13 Ghosts of the Quad Cities? As you search, you’ll also learn a lot about the Quad Cities community!

    more haunted happenings

    • OCT. 26 BOOK SIGNING: Michael McCarty and Mark McLaughlin will host a "Ghosts Of The Quad Cities" Book Signing on Oct. 26, from 1-3 p.m. at the Putnam. Learn More

    • OCT. 25 & 26 FLASHLIGHT TOURS:
    Is the Putnam haunted? Discover the QC's paranormal past with Fearful Flashbacks — space is limited! Learn More

    • ALL MONTH LONG: The Putnam's Beautiful Objects, Powerful Things feature has spooky twist this fall. Check it out during your next museum visit!

    about river, prairie and 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.


  • 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!

  • Uwé Warúmi

    Uwe’ Warumi (pronounced Oo-way Wah roomey – the Trading Place − while enjoyable for all visitors, was especially designed for children ages 4-10 years old. The room’s size, labels and activities were created with children and their caregivers in mind.

    We believe that children are competent, imaginative and inquisitive, and that the learning that occurs in the museum has a positive, lasting and important effect on their cognitive and social development.

    Within the fun of Uwe’ Warumi lies important skills and learning opportunities for young children. Explore Social Studies information through a child’s eye look at EuroAmerican and Native American cultures. Use mathematics to trade the correct furs at the post trade store. Practice large (gross) motor skills on the Native American dance mat or enhance fine motor skills with a game of pick-up sticks. Use the sight word labels to encourage independent reading and engage in pretend play to foster social development.

    Reading, trading and dancing are just some of the activities adults and children can explore together. Encourage your child to explore in his or her own way and follow their lead. The Uwe’ Warumi space is an area where children are encouraged to be the leaders of their own discovery.


  • Science Center

    An inspiring, hands-on experience for everyone! Interacting with a bilingual robot, launching rockets and discovering the power of 230,000 volts 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 spans more than 10,000 square feet and features more than 45 hands-on stations. The "Innovation" section showcases aerospace, robotics, architecture and structure, engineering and design, and film and music areas that encourage visitors to create, imagine and innovate. The "How Things Work" section immerses visitors in concepts such as energy and simple machines, electricity and magnets, and light and sound. And many of the stations are huge, like our 25 by 13-foot-tall tug-of-war lever!

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

    Come check out the NEW feature WATER: Molecules in Motion!


    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 and reptiles 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?

  • Ocean Experience

    Designed especially for kids and families, the Ocean Experience features different underwater habitats – from kelp forests and coral reefs to tidal pools and deep seas!

    Climb an angry squid, explore ocean treasures at the microscope station, observe a real coral reef or try your hand at operating an underwater robotic arm. Immersive and interactive, Ocean Experience is all about hands-on learning for our youngest visitors!


Copyright © 2019, The Putnam Museum & Science Center, All Rights Reserved