Popping the Augie bubble: The Putnam Museum

A universal aspect of the Augustana experience is the notorious Augie bubble. For many first and second years, nearly all time is spent here on campus because that takes priority to exploring the Quad Cities, which can be difficult if you don’t know where to start.
Well, if you do have any interest in breaking out of the Augustana comfort zone then the Putnam Museum in Davenport would be a step in the right direction. At first glance, one could be forgiven for thinking the museum is geared more towards children, but it has much to offer for all ages.
For those interested in how the Quad Cities came to be what they are today, the Putnam Museum has an extensive segment on the history of the upper Mississippi from early man to the industrial revolution, to the late 1980’s with a 90’s section on the way.
If you’re more interested in the anthropological side of history then on top of the indigenous peoples of the area there is also an in-depth display of Egyptian culture. It ranges from religious beliefs to pre-Egyptian culture, to beauty tips and more.
If history doesn’t interest you then there is a great deal more to explore in the building. For instance, just like Augie, Putnam boasts a vast collection of geological treasures ranging from minerals and crystals to a small collection of fossils. If your curiosity lies in the environmental aspects of the world then you’ll be glad to know that there is much of that on display there as well. To top it off, not much of it is dumbed down for the kids; it covers topics such as soil formation, water quality, cave patterns, and evolution.
Near that is an entire section on mammals all around the world, the presentation covers just about everything there is to know about them addressing where they came from, how they live in different areas of the world and just how many of them there are.
It was this knowledge that incited Nicole Heisner to work at the Putnam.
“I really care about the environment,” Heisner said. “This seemed like it would be the right place to work, to help spread that interest.”
If what interests you goes beyond the natural world then there are still many different elements to delve into, such as the “Take Apart Studio”. While the name may come across as rather silly, the exhibit displays some rather difficult equipment. VCR’s, keyboards, and many other complex puzzles litter the tables of this arena and prove quite a challenge for the average Joe. In fact, Jeremy Starr, a patron at the museum with his children, stated that he had been working on it with his kids “for almost an hour and a half.”
If none of that interests you then all you have to know is that the Putnam offers what they call “The Brew and View” which means (providing you’re 21) for $15 they will provide you with a cold beer, a warm meal, and a movie in their Nat Geo theater.
There is no better way to spend the day than exploring a museum, so as the days get colder, head over to the Putnam to see what one of the communities best-known museums has to offer.