Farm House Museum

Nestled in the center of Iowa State University, the Farm House Museum sits as a monument to early Iowa State history and culture.  As the first building on campus as well as a National Historic Landmark, the Farm House was built in 1860 before campus was occupied by students or classrooms. The prairie landscape was bleak and desolate at the time, and those first farm tenants primed the land for agricultural experimentation. This early practice led to Iowa State Agricultural College and Model Farm opening its doors to Iowa students for free in 1869 under the provisions of the Morrill Act (or Land-grant Act) of 1862. 

Many important Iowa State figures have made the Farm House their home throughout the 150 years of use. The first president of the College, Adonijah Welch, briefly stayed at the Farm House and wrote his inaugural speech in the Northeast bedroom on the second floor.  James “Tama Jim” Wilson resided for much of the 1890s with his family at the Farm House until he was asked to join President McKinley’s cabinet as Secretary of Agriculture. Agriculture Dean Charles Curtiss, and his young family, would replace Wilson and he would become the longest resident the Farm House had and would ever see.  Students also played a prominent role in life at the Farm House – many students were hired to help with daily life or chores of Farm House matrons, assist in early farm work. In the late 1940s the Farm House was used as a practice home for young women in the Home Economics Department.

In 1976, after much time and effort was put into restoring the early beauty of the modest farm home and over 110 years after the initial construction, the Farm House became a public museum.  Now students, faculty and community members can enjoy the museum while remembering the significance that one small farm home had upon shaping a nationally recognized land-grant university. 

Timeline of Farm House History 1858 to 1976


The cost is free, however there is a suggested donation of $3 per visitor.


Monday - Friday from Noon to 4:00 PM

The Farm House Museum is closed on weekends unless otherwise noted on the event calendar, all University holidays, and University breaks. See the homepage or social media for up-to-date weather related closings and announcements. Please contact our office with any further questions regarding admission and/or museum hours: 515-294-3342.


To arrange a tour of the Farm House Museum, please download the University Museums Tour Request Form Word and submit or email to Dave Faux

Location and Driving Directions:

The Farm House Museum is located at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

If approaching Ames on Interstate 35 from the north or south, take exit 111B labeled Highway 30 West. From westbound or eastbound Highway 30 take the University Blvd. (formerly Elwood Dr.) exit and turn north. University Blvd. will pass on the east side of Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum, continue north across Lincoln Way toward campus. Turn left on Wallace Road then right on Osborn Drive. If the gate is down, stop at the call box and announce that you are a visitor to the Farm House Museum. Take the first left after the gate on Farm House Lane (formerly Knoll Road) and continue until you reach the Farm House Museum on your right. Please note that acess to Farm House is limited due to construction north of the site.


Parking is available at the Memorial Union Ramp or the East Parking Deck (aprox. 2 min walking distance). Handicap accessibility is available at the south entrance to the Farm House Museum.  (please see the campus map by clicking here)

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