Victorian Home Museum contains many treasures, not the least
of which is the house itself. A. D. Barnum, a building contractor
whose local projects included the Iowa Soldiers’ Orphan
Home (later the Iowa State Normal School and now University
of Northern Iowa), built it in 1861. Barnum lived in the
house until 1874. William Bryant, who occupied it with his
family until 1919, later purchased it. The final residents,
John and Myrna Dempster, sold the house to the Cedar Falls
Historical Society in 1966. It has been maintained as a
museum since 1968.
Home is a striking example of the once popular Italianate
style of architecture. The interior has been remarkably
well preserved. The long windows topped by arches are typical
of the Italianate style and are set in walls that are 18
inches thick. The inside shutters (with vertical louvres)
are original, as are many of the door knobs and other fixtures.
atop the Tuscan roof is a Cedar Falls landmark. It afforded
an excellent view of the Cedar River when the house was
first built, and may also have served as a lookout against
House Museum was added in 1991 and houses the Cedar Falls
Historical Society's library, archives, and various changing
exhibits. The Cedar Falls Historical Society operates both
the Victorian Home and the Carriage House Museum.
In 1991, the
home was purchased and has been extensively restored. It
is a private residence.