Museum of
Natural History

Come to Newburg and enjoy a visit to the only Natural History Museum between Springfield and St Louis. There is something for children of all ages, and fun, and a challenge to learn something you never knew before this day.

The museum was officially opened on May 18th 2008. It is situated in the 2-story annex of the Houston House, accessible from First Street, through the Garden of Houston House.

There are 10 rooms with exhibits and hands-on activities relevant to our primary goal of expanding the horizons of our young people. To fulfill this goal the concentration is on four relevant domains, namely: earth, water, sky and man.


The history of the earth is represented in the Fossil Room by exhibits of rocks and fossils, information on the movements of tectonic plates, and the impact of earthquakes and volcanoes. Plants, birds, and animals are represented on the walls and in the Conservation Room. The world we live is shown on a globe and is connected to a set of interactive questions and answers. Programs on these subjects are available on TV screens.


The Ocean Room, where dolphins and Manta ray swim on the walls, is full of specimens of seaweed, sponges, corals and shells from the Caribbean, South Africa and the shores of America. A sand table containing starfish and shells gives pleasure to the little ones. Pudgy, the Beluga whale, built of paper mache by the children, graces a bathtub. A plasma TV screen donated by Rotary of Rolla shows a series of underwater scenes and planet earth created by Nova. Our studies will extend to rivers and all life depending on water by field trips to the nearby Little Piney River.

Folks visiting the new River Room will find a raccoon snoozing on a limb of a tree, a bobcat leaping from the ceiling after a duck, a beaver cutting a tree for its dam, and an otter perched on top of a display case of four terrariums full of live reptiles and amphibians. The room also has two 55- gallon, two 10-gallon, one 5-gallon, and several 1-gallon fish bowls full of all sorts of aquatic life including turtles, salamanders, fish, crayfish, snails, and insects. The old chimney has morphed into a rock bluff with a cave from which water falls into a pool below. Other features currently in the room include: live plants, a wonderful insect collection donated by longtime NCM supporter Linda Roberts, songbirds that chirp as you move around the room, a big hornet’s nest (no occupants!) an impressive deer skull with antlers, and all kinds of other smaller, but interesting, plant and animal specimens and curiosities. Thank you to Mark Zurbrick for his vision and hard work that made this room come to life!


The Sky Room contains models of the planets built to scale in relation to a meter size sun on the wall. The phases of the moon are represented as are pictures of outer space taken by the Hubble telescope, the workings of which are also described. In this room are interactive games for learning about the planets and a hand-held planetarium that projects the stars of the Zodiac for any designated month of the year. A telescope is available to be set up.


The ethnic room shows diversity of cultures, yet the inter-relatedness of man from his early beginnings to the present. His adjustment to his environment is evident in photographs, beadwork, masks, tools and weapons. There is a Hands-on Science room demonstrating the use of electricity, magnetism, light, illusion, and sound. There are demonstrations regarding the human body, and, beside a small microscope, there is one that projects images on to a television screen.

There is an old fashioned trading store, where children can learn the value of knowledge at the same time as the art of trading. (Currently closed until update is complete.)

There is a Children's Activity Room containing children's crafts, and books. Thursdays, during the Newburg school year, it is used by a group of children for our After School Program. It is also available for birthday parties, meetings, etc. Contact us for more information.

There is a Children's Libray featuring several bookshelves filled with colorful, interesting books on a variety of topics and a comfy rocking chair to read in (donated by the family of Linda Richards).

There is a Puppet Stage where you will often find an impromptu puppet show in progress by the chidren.

Our Courtyard has a sandbox, a stage, a vegetable garden, a native flower and plant garden, a fountain with live fish, a picnic table, and a bench swing under the shady trees. On the porch is a water table, a giant bubble making machine, and benches.

There is a Music Room filled with a variety interesting music-making instruments.