Dexter (Iowa) Museum

The Dexter Museum was started in early 1970s. Interest from a $50,000 trust donated by Clell Hoy, stepson of Jim Meister, DHS Class of 1936, supports the museum. Local items from the area are in the museum telling the town’s history, including equipment used by Jim Meister in his blacksmith shop.

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From The Des Moines Register

Joyce Fisher was on the board for about 15 years and it was only open during Fall Festival. Mary McColloch and Doris Feller came on board in 2006. They made many improvements with paint, lighting, display cases, rearranging, new front door, structure repair above back door, awning and benches. A few members have come and gone.

Doris Feller talking to a few ladies from two buses of the Red Hat Society.

Rod Stanley started helping us and has been a board member for some time.  He has helped us so much with displays and educating. Board member Pat Hochstetler has set up our inventory on the computer. Gloria Neal is also on the board, and her sister Joy helps sometimes and also keeps up the Dexter Museum Facebook page. Our newest member is Mary Wells Jobst.

Rod Stanley, wearing his new Bonnie and Clyde t-shirt, talking to a group from the 2017 River to River Retro Road Trip. Photo by Shelly Martin.

The museum has large displays for the 1933 Bonnie and Clyde Barrow shootout in Dexfield Park,  Dexfield Amusement Park, the President Truman’s visit at 1948 National Plowing Match, the Dexter Clinic and Hospital, Rock Island Railroad, the Dexter Canning Factory, Jim Meister’s blacksmith shop, and military history, and many years of school yearbooks and class composite pictures, scrapbooks of wedding and shower clippings. The museum also has a Dexter Washer, Dexter Hog Oiler, a Boyd Mowing Machine, wood burning kitchen stove and kitchen related items, polio, a display about the making of the movie “Fever Heat,” and many more items.


The museum has been more available to the public with Sunday hours, appointments, tours and advertising. Visitors have come from as far away as Scotland. We began hearing from the public that we were the best kept secret in Dallas County! Visitors have come from as far away as Scotland.

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Our visitors in August 2017 were actually headed to Nebraska to see the eclipse, but they stopped in Dexter to find food and paid a visit to the museum.

Credit: Doris Feller


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