The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque has landed a $468,000 grant from the Vision Iowa Board. Museum president and CEO Jerry Enzler says they plan to expand and add new exhibits, including a Mississippi River Delta Touch Pool.
“This will be a representation of the Delta and there will be stingrays in there,” Enzler says. “Families and children and anyone who wishes will be able to touch the stingrays and learn about the important role the Delta plays in the whole Mississippi River, Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.”
The entire expansion for the museum and aquarium is expect to cost $2.3 million. It will include a new exhibit featuring the Iowa Machine Engine and Launch Works from Bellevue that closed 100 years ago. The old engine building shop will be dismantled and recreated in Dubuque.
“It is as it was in 1915 when they stopped operating it,” Enzler says. “Overhead, there’s the drive shaft and from those come leather belts which go down to turn the different machinery, like lathes, cutters and shapers,” Enzler says. The touch pool should open late next year, followed by the machine shop in 2017.