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. 

Learn more
Timeline of Farm House History 1858 to 1976

Farm House Museum - Student Blog

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

Monday, Wednesday, Friday from Noon to 4:00 PM
Tuesday, Thursday from 12:30 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. More info on the homepage or social media for future closures or weather-related closings. Please contact the University Museums office with any further questions regarding admission or museum hours: 515-294-3342.

*2016-17 Holiday Closings
Thanksgiving Break (Nov. 21-25, 2016) the Christian Petersen Art Museum and Farm House Museum are closed.
 Winter Break (Dec. 17, 2016 – Jan. 9, 2017) the Christian Petersen Art Museum and Farm House Museum are closed.       
Jan. 16, 2017 the Christian Petersen Art Museum, Farm House Museum and University Museums’ office are closed for University holiday.

To arrange a tour of the Brunnier Art Museum, please download the University Museums Tour Request Form and submit or email to Dave Faux dafaux@iastate.edu

The Farm House Museum is located on Farm House Lane, central campus at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. MAP

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 to Lincoln Way. Turn left on Lincoln Way and proceed west to Union Drive. Take a right on Union Drive which will lead to the Memorial Union ramp or turn right on Wallace Road to the East Parking Deck. The Farm House is two short blocks to the north of the Union Drive and Wallace Road intersection. Please note that vehicle access to Farm House is restricted due to construction north of the site.

For Handicap/Mobility Impaired Access: At the corner of Union Drive and Wallace Road, head north to approach the gate (cement pillar) and press the button on the call box; announce you are a mobility impaired museum visitor. Continue north on Farm House Lane. Farm House Museum is the historic home about a block and a half north.

All other visitors please see Parking section below.


There is paid ramp parking at the Memorial Union Ramp (aprox. 2-4 minute walk). Entrances are from the south off of Lincoln Way and from the North off of Union Drive. The East Campus Parking Deck is located on Wallace Road where it intersects with Union Drive. There are also meters in several of the lots on campus. Please read the signs and time limits on the meters carefully. Map of parking lots