The Mathias Ham House in Dubuque

The Mathias Ham Historic Site will present a new exhibit when it reopens to the public on Thursday, July 2.

The exhibit examines the history of Dubuque’s Linwood Cemetery and provides a glimpse into Linwood’s early history, as well as death and mourning practices of the Victorian Era.

Featuring educational panels and Dubuque County Historical Society artifacts, it will be on display in two of the Ham House’s upper rooms.


Highlighted subjects will include the evolution of cemeteries in the 1830s, the troubled move of Dubuque’s first cemetery from Jackson Square to what is now Old Linwood, a few of the more famous Dubuque residents residing in Linwood Cemetery and some of the more unique death rituals of the 19th century.

Linwood Legacies and self-guided tours of the home will be included with general admission to the Mathias Ham Historic Site during its summer season.

The site is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.

Cost is $7.50 for adults and $4 for ages 3-17. Members of the Dubuque County Historical Society and National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium are free. Tickets can be purchased in advance at rivermuseum.com/hamsite or at the door.

• Along with its opening, the Mathias Ham Historic Site also will host a modified Fourth of July celebration. What was to be its 57th annual Fourth of July Ice Cream Social will, given the pandemic, be modified into a multi-day series called Independence Days, set for 11 a.m.-4 p.m. July 2-4.

The event will feature small-group Ham House tours with interpreters stationed throughout the home. From candle-making to homemade ice cream and creating Victorian posies, each day will feature a live demonstration.

On Saturday, July 4, the Americana Band will play on the lawn for guests and passersby.

In a nod to the ice cream social, individually packaged ice cream treats will be provided to guests in partnership with Prairie Farms during the celebration, while supplies last.

Health and safety modifications will include increased sanitation procedures. Guests also will be encouraged to wear masks on-site, specifically in the Ham House.

Tickets to Independence Days are $7.50 for adults and $4 for ages 3-17. They can be purchased at rivermuseum.com/hamsite or upon arrival in the gift shop.

For more information, visit rivermuseum.com/hamsite.