Visitors may now experience the Porter House Museum's iconic, whimsical rock wall in a brand new way—free of charge and at any time.

With funding from the Hotel/Motel Marketing Committee, the Porter House has produced a new self-guided tour brochure for the rock wall. The brochure contains historic information about the construction of the rock wall, geological information about the rocks and fossils within and a fun activity for children.

Visitors may retrieve brochures from an exterior dispenser at the front of the museum at any time, even if the museum is not open for regular interior tours.

The new brochures were designed by Sarah Frydenlund of Dry Run Studio. The geological information was provided by Dr. Richard Kellogg.

A.F. Porter (with helpers) built the iconic Porter House rock wall over a six-year period in the early 1940s. The rough rocks, polished gemstones, and ancient fossils used in this unique wall were collected by Bert Porter over a period of years prior during his travels in North and South America.

The intricate details of the wall were designed by Porter. Every rock and fossil was placed according to specifications in his diagrams and drawings. The wall contains agates, jasper, onyx, amethyst, geodes, rose quartz, calcite, chalcedony, mica schist, sandstone, limestone, copper ore, iron ore, galena, petrified wood and many others.

The majority of the rocks in the wall (iron formations, calcareous tufa, solution-pitted limestone, drusy quartz) were acquired in northeast Iowa.

The Porter House Museum is located in the former Decorah home of Adelbert Field Porter (1879 – 1968) and Grace Young Porter (1880 – 1964) at 401 W Broadway in the Broadway-Phelps Park Historic District. At the museum, visitors enjoy learning about the Porters’ travels, art, and collecting against the backdrop of Victorian elegance that was their home and heritage.

The interior of the museum will be open special hours during Nordic Fest: 10 to 5 p.m. on Friday and 12 to 5 p.m. on Saturday (following the parade).