Chief Wapello

Chief Wape

Museum Hours

Wednesdays-Saturdays, 12pm-4pm.

Admission fees are $5 for adults, and $3 for children 12 or under.

***The museum’s genealogy group will meet on the second Wednesday of every month at 10:30AM. If you would like to attend a meeting, please call the museum ahead of time to let them know at 641-682-8676.

Wapello County Historical Society Strategic Planning

The Society is in the process of developing a new strategic plan to help guide the museum into new and better decision making. The goal of the Society is to bring new and fresh ideas to Wapello County that will emphasize the rich history of our area. The planning is projected to be finished in November 2018, with plans to adopt and enact the new plan by winter 2019. Please stick with us during this ‘re-construction’ phase, and thanks!

History of the Wapello County Historical Society

The Wapello County Historical Society was organized October 14, 1959. The Grand Opening at the present location at 210 W. Main St., Ottumwa, Iowa, was held June 11, 1988. As there was no elevator to the second floor, $55,000 was raised within a year and an elevator was in operation by September of 1989. Ottumwa comes from the Sauk word “Au-tum-way-e-naukor” meaning “land of the rippling waters”.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Wapello County Historical Society is to identify, collect, and preserve the manifestations of Wapello County History, including but not limited to, documents, printed materials, images, and artifacts, in order to increase and enrich, through educational programs, printed materials, and exhibits.

Check Out Our New Image Archive

One of previous board members scanned in photos submitted by the public.  There are approx 5000 images of historical people and places here in the Wapello County area.

Click HERE to View photos


Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation
Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation

Private Donors
Member Iowa Museum Association