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'Field of Dreams' actor opens museum at Dyersville movie site

 The front of the Baseball Building in Dyersville.
Photo courtesy of the Baseball Hall of Dreams.
"The Baseball Building" houses the Field of Dreams museum and exhibits.

Actor Dwier Brown still returns to the location where the movie was filmed in Dyersville in the late '80s. He now owns a baseball museum in the town which includes a special exhibit on how the famous movie was made.

Of all the roles Dwier Brown has played in his acting career, one still gets him stopped on the street almost 35 years later: John Kinsella in the 1989 film Field of Dreams. He plays the late father of Ray Kinsella — played by Kevin Costner — and while Brown's time on the screen is brief, it remains one of the most memorable and quoted moments in the movie.

In the scene, John asks his son, "Is this heaven?"

Ray replies, "It's Iowa."

After the movie wrapped, Dwier Brown was not ready to say goodbye to Dyersville. Over the following years, he fell in love with the town, returning for events several times a year for a "small town fix." He created The Baseball Building with his business partner David Feigin in 2020, home to The Baseball Hall of Dreams.

The museum gives visitors a rich history of baseball and tells untold stories of those who played the sport. The building is also home to the If You Build It Exhibit, a behind-the-scenes look at how Field of Dreams was made.

Brown says the museum is meant to celebrate the heart of baseball in all its forms. It tells the stories of those who went through extraordinary measures to make it to the major leagues, including players of color and disabled players.

"These players had sacrificed a lot and never had the opportunity to play baseball at the highest level, but they had paved the way for players today who have made that leap," Brown said on IPR's Talk of Iowa.

The museum boasts a large collection of vintage baseball mitts for visitors to try on. There is even a box outside with mitts for people to play catch if they visit when the museum is closed.

"These players had sacrificed a lot and never had the opportunity to play baseball at the highest level, but they had paved the way for players today who have made that leap."
Dwier Brown, actor

Brown said he hopes to expand the museum soon to include a baseball-themed restaurant and tours of the 19th-century caverns that run underneath the museum.

Near the end of the museum tour, the "Wall of Dreams" encourages kids and adults alike to write down their dreams on a piece of paper, fold it up and stick it in the wall. Brown was pleased that everyone — from young kids to people in their 80s — was willing to write down their goals and aspirations.

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Phineas Pope served as a digital production assistant at Iowa Public Radio from 2023 - 2024.
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Dani Gehr is a producer for River to River and Talk of Iowa. Dani came to Iowa from her hometown in the northwest suburbs of Chicago to attend Iowa State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism, international studies and French. Before coming to IPR, Dani covered local government in Story County for the Ames Tribune and Des Moines Register.