With so many “amazing cultural, quirky, history-focused, and art-centric attractions” across the U.S. it’s nearly impossible to choose the best museum in each state, says BudgetTravel.com.
But the travel site, which specializes in U.S. domestic travel, recently came up with just such a list, and in Iowa the John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum is its top choice.
“The museum gives voice to Iowa’s farming history and heritage as interpreted by one of the industry’s most significant contributors,” according to the site.
Opened in December 2014, the museum in Waterloo, Iowa, offers a variety of exhibits to educate visitors of all ages about the history of tractor and engine design. The building that houses the museum was built in 1941 and sits on the site of the company’s very first John Deere tractor factory.
Making BudgetTravel’s best museums list was welcomed recognition for the museum staff, said Rosa Grant, manager of the tractor and engine museum.
“It’s very meaningful because we of course believe we have an amazing museum here,” Grant said. “It’s just nice when other people recognize that and share it with others.”
Grant said being recognized by travel sites like BudgetTravel.com, helps attract visitors who would not otherwise interact with the John Deere brand, as well as people who may not typically think to visit museums.
“We are able to tell the John Deere story through the museum to people who would not otherwise get to hear it,” she noted. “A travel site will really help draw those people in.”
The museum showcases a comprehensive history of John Deere’s entry into the tractor business and the evolution of the company’s growth over time. It includes a collection of rare Deere artifacts such as the original check used to purchase the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company. Several temporary exhibits on loan from private collectors are also featured. All equipment on loan includes the personal story behind it to share the history and bring the sentimentality of the piece to life, Grant said.
While admittedly a little biased, Grant said she would like to see the museum recognized as one of the very best, regardless of the industry Deere is in.
“I want to be the best corporate museum,” she said. “I want to be the best museum in the country.”
For those interested in visiting the museum — admission is free and it’s open daily year-round save for a few holidays — visit Deere.com to learn more.
Some of the top museums from other states include The Art Institute of Chicago (Illinois), the Getty Center (Califorinia), and Harley-Davidson Museum (Wisconsin).
BudgetTravel.com’s full list of the best museums in the U.S. can be found here.