The Dunlap Historical Society owns three buildings: The McLean Museum and the Dougal House which are located on Iowa Avenue in Dunlap and the Dunham Barn, located one mile west of town on Highway 37.
The McLean Museum was opened in 1988 in a brick church built in 1879 with bricks manufactured in Dunlap. It was a Baptist church and then a Lutheran. It was later sold to a Bible Baptist congregation who kept it until 1983. The museum contains plat books, assessor's records and other records, some dating back to as early as the 1880's that were saved by Don McLean for whom the museum is named. On exhibit is a square grand piano that once was played in the Dunlap Opera House donated by Fred Clements and pictures from the Booster Buck Manufacturing Company which operated in Dunlap. A full size Booster Buck is there on display.
The Dougal House was once the parsonage for the church and was purchased in 1991 by Irene Dougal and given to the Historical Society as a memorial to her husband Lloyd Dougal.
Among the interesting items in the house are a gasoline stove, pump organ, household utensils, clothing and furniture.
The Dunham Barn, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is built of bricks that were fired at a kiln west and north of the barn. Built in 1870, the barn is one of the earliest brick barns built in western Iowa. The walls of the barn are four bricks thick at the lower level and three bricks thick at the upper level. A 40 foot hand-hewn walnut beam in the lower level is an indication of the size of the walnut trees growing in this area when it was first settled. A step into the barn is a step into the past. The upper level offers a drive-in entrance through which the farmer could bring his wagon with hay to pitch into the hay-mow or grain to dump into the grain bin. The feed could then be dropped through the trap door doors in the floor to the lower level in front of each of the ten horse stalls. The horses or mules would enter the lower level of the barn from an outdoor paddock into the stalls or into the loading area in the center. There are many unique items in this barn that make it an interesting place to visit.
In 1981, Virginia Dunham initiated the procedure to get the barn on the National Register of Historic Places. Once the barn was on the Register, the Dunham family gave it to the Dunlap Historical Society Inc. in 1993 to renovate it as an Educational and Interpretive Center for Late 19th Century Agriculture.
On the Fourth of July, a barn festival is held with horse rides and demonstrations of pioneer crafts.
The buildings are open weekends in the summer and any time of the year upon request. Call 712-643-5721 or 643-5908 for more information.