Visiting the Figge Art Museum

The Figge is up next.

The Figge Art Museum is located in downtown Davenport, near Modern Woodman Park and the Centennial Bridge at 225 West 2nd Street

The pass from the Moline Library offers free general admission for 4 visitors.

Keep in mind too that admission is always free to children under age 4, to all visitors on Thursdays after 5 p.m., to seniors the first Thursday of every month, and to all active military members, spouses and children.

The Figge is a fantastic place for families to visit.  Before you go, you might want to check out the Figge’s excellent guides for exploring art with children!

Much of the art on display has no barriers, which definitely enhances the experience.  However, if you have a younger visitor with you, be prepared to encourage them to take a look-but-don’t-touch approach.  Some of the pieces will be pretty inviting for little hands!

If you have a little art lover who is not quite ready to look without touching yet, that’s not a problem.  The Artica Gallery is the place to be!

There is SO much to have fun with in here – Legos, art supplies, blocks, and bean bags!

The Artica Gallery is on the 2nd floor to the left after exiting the elevator.

Currently an exhibit featuring local young artists is on the 2nd floor too.

The 2nd floor also features the Learn to Look and Studio 1 galleries where younger visitors can explore.  These galleries were not open the day I visited, but you can learn more here

At the opposite end of the 2nd floor are all the beautiful pieces that make up the Figge’s permanent collection.

The abstract collections could inspire some serious discussions!

Here is the Grant Wood exhibit.

The Spirit of Haiti room is filled with colorful and interesting pieces as well.

The Frank Lloyd Wright room is a must-see for architecture and mid-century modern fans!

Right now, there is a Georgia O’Keefe painting on display as well.

On the 3rd floor until May 20, the Rock Island Art Guild is featuring an exhibit of local art.

There are several wonderful pieces in this area, and visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite.  Kids can vote too!

You will definitely walk out of the Figge feeling inspired!

The Figge’s hours are

Tuesday through Saturday 10 am-5 pm
Thursdays 10 am-9 pm
Sundays 12-5 pm

The phone number is 563-326-7804.

The Figee is having several workshops this summer for teens and children.  You can get more information here

Miss Tess



Visiting the German American Heritage Center & Museum

The German American Heritage Center and Museum is our next visit!


The German American Heritage Center and Museum is located at 712 W 2nd St, Davenport, Iowa, right at the bottom of the Centennial Bridge.

The pass from the library allows free general admission for 4 visitors.

The museum is housed in a former hotel built in the 1870s.  It is a really fantastic place to learn more about German culture and Quad Cities history.

The first floor contains the gift shop and the Butchers, Bakers, and Brewers exhibit.

Many of the first German immigrants who moved to Davenport set up businesses, including bakeries, dress shops, and breweries.  Some of the businesses, like Von Maur, are still around.

This press was used to make cookies to commemorate Charles Lindbergh’s visit to the Quad Cities.

The German American Heritage Center is filled with quite a few interactive spots for young visitors.  Here kids can design a business card for their ideal business.

The second floor of the museum contains the Culinary Customs exhibit,  where visitors can check out different German foods and utensils and then share their own favorite German dish.

The German Immigrant Experience exhibit is also on this level.

Here children can try on clothing German immigrants might have worn

and learn more about German animals and stories.

The interactive exhibit, Step into My Shoes, is also here.  When visitors stand on the footprints on the floor, a video plays of a character telling their immigration story.

There is also a covered wagon display with lots of information.

Throughout the museum, artifacts not meant for touching are clearly labeled.

Displays that children are encouraged to touch are labeled with this helpful logo-

The German American Heritage Center was a fun place to visit with lots of hands-on learning opportunities!

The GAHC has a program running now called Second Saturdays, where a new German-inspired craft or activity is held from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the second Saturday of every month.  You can find more information for May’s event here.

The GAHC is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., and the phone number is 563-322-8844.

Miss Tess

Visiting the Putnam Museum

On we go to the Putnam Museum!  The Putnam is located at 1717 West 12th Street, Davenport, Iowa.  The passes from the Moline Public Library provide free general admission for 4 people.  Special exhibits and movies on the big screen will cost extra.

If you haven’t visited the Putnam in awhile, you should definitely check it out!  There is so much for children and adults here.

The Science Center is particularly fun, with lots of hands-on learning opportunities for everyone.

The lever Tug-of-War is a big hit, as well as the Pulley Power station.

In Electricity, Light and Color, you can spin a wheel with a magnet through a frame of copper coils to generate enough electricity to power a light bulb!


Check out the large Newton’s Cradle too, but watch your fingers!

Downstairs, the Science Center has even more.

In the Engineering and Design station, visitors can create a paper rocket and fire it.  In the Film and Music room you can make stop motion videos and simple animations on the animation wheel.

There is also an Earthquake table and a Lego Raceway down on this level, and a 3D printing station.

The giant air fountain shoots scarves into the air, and the kids had a great time shooting and catching them.

The Augmented Reality room is also located on this level.  It was closed when I visited, but typically it offers visitors a chance to interact with different virtual animals and then capture a picture.  You can read more about it here

The Hall of Mammals is a neat place too, with polar bears and an African animal exhibit.

Cross the bridge from the lower level Science Center to the Black Earth, Big River exhibit!  This is a cozy place where visitors can check out all the wildlife in our backyards.

The fish tank here features catfish, gar, and other local species.

There is also a tree puppet theater and stage.

Behind Black Earth, Big River is the Ocean Experience exhibit with an interactive submarine, a large octopus model, and a coral reef tank.

Unearthing Ancient Egypt is a fantastic exhibit.  It is located on the basement level.  Lots to look at and learn about in here, and of course, the mummy!

Be sure to check out the Uwe Warume area too!  It is a little off the grid, located in the River, Prairie, People exhibit beneath the airplane.

This is a really fun interactive spot with a wigwam, drum, and trading post.  Kids can also dress up in Prairie fashions.  The room is warm and sunny and a great place for grownups to take a rest too!


The Putnam is a fantastic place to spend the day!  They are open 7 days a week

Monday – Saturday  10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday    Noon – 5 p.m.

Miss Tess

The Benefits of Puzzles

Since we just stocked up on brand new puzzles here in the Children’s Department, I thought I would take a moment to talk about some of the benefits puzzle-play can bring your toddler. We all know kids love the challenge of fitting a shape into the correct spot, but what’s going on at a deeper developmental level?

Hand-Eye Coordination and Fine Motor Skills:     

This may be an obvious one, but it’s importance can’t be overstated. Creating the connection between what the eyes see, how the brain processes it, and how the fingers and hands must move to manipulate objects develops the foundation for critical skills later on.

Problem Solving:           

Trying to fit the intricacies of a puzzle together can provide a wealth of problem-solving opportunities for your toddler’s brain. Just watch your child next time as they try first one possibility, then another…that’s perseverance in action! Puzzles can also teach your child to set and achieve smaller goals in order to achieve a larger goal, such as finding and connecting all the edge pieces in order to provide the framework to complete the puzzle. Critical thinking comes into play as a child analyzes the negative space and chooses the piece that will fit. Abstract thinking develops when the child looks at the image as a whole and then tries to see what is needed to complete it.

Puzzles are more than a fun educational tool- they help your child develop foundational life skills that will serve them well as they grow. Stop by our puzzle section and see what’s new!

I used two sites as inspiration for this article:

Miss Janna

Spring Forward!

I’m eager for spring, but time changes always seems to bring big adjustments in schedules. It also brings a great learning opportunity. Have you ever wondered, why we change our clocks twice a year? Who came up with the idea? How did people tell time before we had cell phones? How do I teach my child how to tell time from a traditional face clock?


Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barretta

What Time Is It, Mr. Crocodile? by Judy Sierra

Just a Second by Steve Jenkins

Bill Nye the Science Guy: Time

Make It Work! Time by Andrew Haslam

Miss Christina


Stellar Sites For Kids

At the Children’s Desk today, a patron asked me for help finding online games for her daughter that would teach, but still entertain her! In an age where every kid wants to play around online, how can you be sure the sites your kid is visiting are actually safe, and have good content?

In Libraryland, our most comprehensive resource is the American Library Association, and they happen to have an excellent site for just this purpose: Great Websites for Kids!


This site really is a one-stop-shop for valuable kid entertainment and learning! Broken down into categories like Animals, Art, History & Biography, Literature & Language, Mathematics & Computers, Sciences, and Social Sciences it features top-rated educational games and sites that kids will LOVE, and you can rest easy knowing your child is spending quality time online.

It also features a site for parents and teachers, accessible through a tab at the top right-hand side of the page.

So don’t fret- when it comes to spending time online, Great Websites for Kids has you covered!

Miss Janna

Can I Leave My Kid Here?

From parents of the very young who misunderstand and think that our programming is a form of childcare, to people of tweens who feel their child is mature enough to be on their own, the question of who can be left alone at the library is asked quite a bit.  As much as we hate to be “No-No” librarians, we have a policy about this which we do enforce with good reason: your child’s safety and best interest!  For our formal policy statement, check out our website.  For those of you just wanting the inside scoop put in laymen’s terms… read on.

Libraries are a wonderful family destination.  That said, no one can keep your child as safe as you, their parent.  With a staff of only 5 in our children’s department, we can’t be everywhere and see everything that goes on though we do walk through the department regularly to check for safety and patrons who need assistance on a regular basis.

Any child under the age of 8 must be constantly supervised by a grown-up in our department.  We still encourage you to use the computers in our department, but you must keep an eye on your child while doing so.  We also hope you will go to our second floor to find some great books just for you, but your child will need to accompany you.  If you need to go upstairs and are worried your child will act out without the toys and activities we have on our floor, feel free to ask the librarian about grabbing a puzzle or crayons and coloring sheets to go upstairs with you!  We are happy to accommodate your needs so you can be your child’s best advocate for safety!

Did you know this age limit also is true for our programs?  If your child is 8 or under, you cannot leave them unsupervised in a program.  You need to stay with them.  This may sound like an odd policy, but it is geared towards your child’s success and comfort.  If they need to go to the restroom, asking a stranger can be intimidating.  Asking their grownup? Well, not so much.  We also have some kiddos who are shy and may not understand something in a program.  Though we encourage them to ask any and all questions, some children feel much safer asking a trusted adult for explanations.  Your presence helps them get the most out of it!  These are just a few reasons for this rule, but your child’s best interest is what is always at heart.

The ages of 9 to 12 get trickier.  Yes, they are at an age where they are maturing and doing more and more independently.  You see them becoming their own person.  Though these things are all true and wonderful, unexpected things still come up that they are not sure of how to deal with and need their grown-up for.  For this reason, if your child is ages 9 to 12, they can be alone in the department or a program but MUST have an adult in the building.

Here is just one example of why.  A child who regularly visited the library with her grandparents was in our department studying.  Usually her grandparents stayed upstairs while she stayed in our department.  One day while visiting, she approached the desk saying she didn’t feel well.  As I began to page her grandparents to come down to the department, she informed me they had dropped her off that day and were not there.  I then had to get phone numbers and call them, then wait for them to get to the library to pick up their granddaughter who was drooping by the minute.  Had they been present, she could have been getting help much sooner.

This age group is also not allowed to supervise younger siblings while at the library.  If you have children who are age 8 or under as well as older children, you must stay in the department with any children younger than 9.

In our library, 13 is the magical age.  At age 13 you can be in the library without a grown-up.  This is a great privilege! We love when kids meet this magic age requirement and come visit us on their own.  As long as all library policies are followed, we will invite them back again and again.  One keynote regarding this age group?  They are also not currently allowed to supervise younger children in the library without a parent present.

Rules like these are never meant as an inconvenience.  They were created with the best interest of your child in mind.  Help us give them the best library experience possible by following these and asking us if you have any questions about them.  We are here to help!

Miss Marta