Pentacrest Museums

Space Rental FAQ

Rentals fees are based on several factors, including the sponsoring group, space and staff needed, type of event, and hours of event. A list of typical rental fees can be found on the Weddings, UI Sponsored Events, and Community Events pages. To discuss the costs of your event, please contact our Events & Operations Coordinator

Public lectures, cocktail-style receptions, wedding ceremonies, retirement parties, birthday parties, meetings, and musical performances are just a few examples of the types of events the museum can accommodate. Consideration of requests is based upon their relationship to the museum’s mission, their timing in relation to other museum activities, and their suitability regarding the safety and security of the museum and its contents. Approval of a similar past event does not guarantee an event can be accommodated, but the Pentacrest Museums are committed to providing quality venue space for our campus and community whenever possible.

The Senate Chamber, Supreme Court Chamber, and the Rotundas on the first and second floors are the most popular event spaces at the Old Capitol Museum. At the Museum of Natural History, Iowa Hall, Bird Hall, and Mammal Hall are all available for rental. Other spaces may be available in Old Capitol depending on the type of event and number of attendees. We encourage guests to work with our Events & Operations Coordinator to reserve the space that best suits their needs.

University of Iowa departments and official student groups receive reduced fees for rentals.  In some cases, non-profits may also receive reduced rental fees for events. For more information about fee structures, contact our Events & Operations Coordinator.

Most weddings and private receptions must be held outside of our regular museum hours. Senate Chamber events can be held throughout the day, depending on availability. Work with our Events & Operations Coordinator to find the right time for your event.

Wedding ceremonies are only permitted inside the museum.  The steps and portico are part of public space on the Pentacrest and any activity on the Pentacrest is subject to University regulations. Though a very popular spot for photos, our steps must remain accessible.

The most important information in advance is what kind of event you're planning, whether you plan to serve food and beverages, whether you have AV needs and how many attendees you expect.  While many details can be clarified later, it is important for the museum to know whether we're helping you plan a meeting or a cocktail reception, and for 10 or 100 people. No one likes surprises on the day of a big event!

Use our request form for your initial contact and we'll reach out to confirm, working together to get everything in order.

You are renting one of the most recognized, beloved, and historic sites in the Midwest. To say we hold this space dear to our hearts is an understatement. Please let guests know to use common sense around the building and artifacts. Mind the signage. Ask our staff questions if unsure. Or, ask our staff about the unique history of this space. Every detail in the building, from the renowned reverse spiral staircase, to the chairs and artifacts, are one-of-a-kind and have a story to tell.

  • Reminder: absolutely no food/beverage in the Senate Chamber. The carpet in this room is vintage wool and difficult to clean spills and stains.
  • Benches & chairs that may not be sat upon are marked with appropriate signage.
  • You may take photos within some of the exhibit spaces, behind some barriers even, so long as this has been cleared with our event coordinator and is supervised by an event staff during the photo op. For suggestions on unique places for photos in the building, please discuss with the event coordinator.

The following is a list of what we have on site and are happy to provide, or, move around as discussed in advance with Event Coordinator*

  • Chairs (the room is arranged into 4 sections of 165 chairs. During times of social distancing requirements, the room fits 45 chairs safely spaced 6 feet apart. It is preferred that the seating arrangement remains unaltered as much as possible).
  • Steinway Piano (located at the front of the room off to the east of the stage. The piano cannot be removed from the room).
  • Water for the rental party
  • Trash and recycling bins**
  • 2 small wooden tables for décor
  • 2 medium tables for décor
  • 2 large wooden tables for décor (tables can moved out of the Senate Chamber)
  • 4 easels (1 wooden, 2 black, 1 gold)
  • White and black table cloths
  • 2 ivory lace table cloths
  • Napkins with Old Capitol logo
  • AV in Senate Chamber:4 lapel mics; 2 handheld; 2 podium mics; projector; screen; speakers; HDMI connections for laptops; hearing loop
  • 3 total music stands (officiants tend to prefer to use the music stand instead of the podium)
  • Wooden podium
  • Feather pens
  • 8 standing cocktail rounds
  • 8 six-foot folding tables

* Aside from the chairs and the piano, guests are not obligated to use the equipment in this list if it does not match your unique needs or style. Feel free to bring in your own or rented décor and equipment.

If you have any questions or would like to start planning your event at the museum, please contact the Events & Operations Coordinator