The Harpers Ferry Museum project will be built next to the Oil Springs School in the Martelle Heritage Park located on the corner of Vine and North 2nd Street in Harpers Ferry, Iowa next to Tillinghast Park, the Allamakee Conservation Boat Landing and the Mississippi River (Harpers Slough).

The Harpers Ferry Museum Project is in the planning, designing, and building phases of the museum and interactive exhibits that will help the Harpers Ferry Area Heritage Society (HFAHS) preserve the past, share genealogy, educate people of all ages and showcase the region’s rich history, scenic beauty and recreational opportunities. Harpers Ferry is one of the oldest settlements in Allamakee County, Iowa, and west of the Mississippi River.  The town was named for David Harper, an influential man in the county and a leading force in the establishment of the town which resides along the Upper Mississippi River, the Great River Road, a National Scenic Byway and Iowa’s Driftless Byway.

The Harpers Ferry Museum will resemble the original Harper House built in the late 1880’s by David Harper which will unite our past, present and future.  The facility will be 9,000 square feet built next to the Oil Springs School Museum in the Martelle Heritage Park.  The projected investment for the museum building project is $800,000. which is a great deal higher than our earlier estimates before COVID.   The Harpers Ferry Museum will feature historical collections and interactive exhibits to showcase the people, community, region, river, nature and development of this area, that will serve thousands of visitors of all ages.  It will tell stories of how the area evolved and changed over time with the exploration and settlement of various cultures, changes in the river, bluffs and what it meant to commerce, farming, families, recreation, tourism and business.  We will compliment and coordinate with other historic entities along the Great River Road, a National Scenic Byway and the Driftless Byway to continue to share the great stories of the are.

Historic photograph of the Harper House in sepia

Virtually all of this project will be supported and paid for by gifts, grants and donations of cash, equities and services of individuals, businesses and organizations of the area and elsewhere.  The capital campaign “We Have History Let’s Keep It Alive” will be conducted over a three-year period.   We started this project several years ago but with the onset of “COVID” we did not have any activity for over two and one-half years.  The capital campaign moved forward the summer of 2022 and we hope to break ground in two years with completion in 2026.