The Campaign to Refresh & Maintain the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

This $12.75-million endeavor is the culmination of years of planning from staff and board alike. Launching publicly during the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium's 20th Anniversary year, Preserve the Wonder is refreshing and maintaining the wonder of our facilities and programming for the next generation of students, visitors, and community members.

Browse this page to learn more about our campaign initiatives and donate today! For more information, contact Wendy Scardino, VP of Development & Marketing, at or 563-557-9545 x208.

Donate Now

Case Statement

Learn more about the many aspects of our campaign to refresh and maintain the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium and our Mathias Ham Historic Site through our case statement.

Case Statement

Interested in how we’re creating more knowledgeable and engaged citizens? Check out our recent 20 Years of Wonder publication!

20 Years of Wonder doc

Donate & Pledge

Donate to our efforts today and put your gifts to work immediately toward our campaign effort!

Donate Now   Stock Donation Form

Would you like to make a more long-term investment in our campaign effort or notify us of your planned gift intentions? Download one of the following forms and email it to Wendy Scardino, VP of Development & Marketing, at Or mail to Attn: Wendy Scardino, National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, 350 East Third Street, Dubuque, Iowa 52001.

Pledge Form Planned Gift Intention Form

Jeffris Family Foundation Challenge Match Grant

The portion of our campaign focused on the Mathias Ham Historic Site includes improvements to the Mathias Ham House interior. Donations designated to the Mathias Ham House interior project will be matched 1:2 by a Jeffris Family Foundation Challenge Match Grant. Those wishing to contribute toward the required match must complete the following form.

Jeffris Match Form

Naming Opportunities

Naming opportunities are available at multiple levels for numerous different campaign priority areas throughout our campuses. Follow the link below for more information.

Naming Opportunities

Major Campaign Initiatives

otter renovation

Mississippi River Discovery Center

An expanded otter habitat, a more immersive paddlefish experience,  and new terrariums and aquariums are in store for the 20-year-old building.

water tanks

Infrastructure Enhancements

Major infrastructure enhancements and upgrades are needed to provide for the comfort of our guests and the health and safety of the animals and historical objects in our care.



The first 20 years as the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium brought significant growth to our campus, programs and infrastructure. As we look toward the next 20 years, we seek to strengthen our long-term financial position and ensure the resources necessary to support ongoing improvements, meet future needs, and fulfill our vision. 

ham house exterior

Mathias Ham House

After the completion of a historic structures report addressing each and every aspect of the Mathias Ham House, we will be working to restore the interior of this historic home to preserve the home and the community's rich history. Windows, sashes, plasterwork and more will support the preservation of the home as well as the objects on display within the home.

traveling exhibit

Traveling Exhibit

Our second river-centric traveling exhibit is an opportunity to expand our reach while engaging with new communities, students and individuals throughout the country.

Recently completed

arriandeaux log cabin

Arriandeaux Log Cabin

Restoration of Iowa's oldest building is now complete, preserving Dubuque and Iowa history for another generation.

Humke One-Room School

Humke One-Room School

Originally located in Centralia, the Humke one-room school received new paint and a new roof, preserving a piece of Dubuque County history for the next generation.

William M Black Dredge boat

William M. Black

Restoration to the boat's deck and roof have been completed along with additional cosmetic improvements.

River of Innovation Belt machine

River of Innovation

Opened in 2021, River of Innovation fully integrated STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts into the River Museum campus, expanded our educational offerings through the MakerSpace and preserved history with the addition of one of the only working belt-driven machines in the country.

people looking at Rivers to the Sea

Rivers to the Sea

Opened in 2023, Rivers to the Sea brought 100 new species to campus, incorporated local Marshallese heritage into interpretation and brought attention to climate change and conservation of our waters.

Fun Fact: Rivers to the Sea, one of the many projects included in Preserve the Wonder, was planned, concepted, written, and designed in house by our talented team of employees!

Contact Us

Have questions related to the campaign or are interested in touring our work? Contact Wendy Scardino, VP of Development & Marketing, at or 563-557-9545 x208.