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State Historical Society of Iowa
Administration and Strategic Planning

Mission & Strategic Plan

2022-2026 Strategic Planning Framework

The State Historical Society of Iowa comprises the:

  • State Historical Museum of Iowa
  • State Historical Library & Archives Research Centers in Des Moines and Iowa City
  • Seven Historic Sites
  • Iowa Humanities Council


The State Historical Society of Iowa has been a trustee of Iowa’s historical legacy since 1857. With a dual mission of preservation and education, the society maintains a museum, two research centers and seven historic sites. The society preserves and provides access to Iowa’s historical resources through a variety of statewide programs, exhibitions and projects while serving as an advocate for Iowa’s past and connector to the future.


All Iowans have opportunities to learn, create and thrive through history and the humanities.

State Historical Society of Iowa Priorities

  • Elevate education
  • Increase access
  • Expand outreach and engagement
  • Strengthen capacity

Core Values

Collaboration and Leadership. We serve and collaborate with Iowans to develop programs, strategic partnerships and resources that respond to their needs. We listen, learn and collaborate to ensure inclusion and relevance as a statewide leader.

Diversity and Inclusion. Recognizing and respecting diversity in all that we do, we honor and elevate people, places and points of pride across Iowa. We work to ensure that all Iowans have opportunities to tell their stories and to see themselves reflected in our work.

Accessibility and Engagement. We believe every Iowan should have access to meaningful opportunities to engage with history and the humanities, recognizing the benefits to personal and community well-being.

Excellence. We work to exemplify professional standards and best practices within our organization and cultivate excellence in our role to preserve and promote Iowa’s cultural heritage, history and artistic creativity.

Knowledge and Creativity. We are dedicated to lifelong learning, research and sharing knowledge. We cultivate curiosity and the creativity that stimulates innovation and growth.

Strategic Goals

  • Build networks and cultivate leadership.
  • Be inclusive, reflect diversity and enhance accessibility in our programming.
  • Promote collaboration, peer learning and mentorship.
  • Facilitate knowledge sharing with and among cultural partners.
  • Offer inclusive opportunities to develop history and humanities leadership.

Encourage sustainable and thriving organizations and careers

  • Address organizational capacity and audience development challenges within the heritage and humanities sectors.
  • Strengthen programs and resources to support individuals and organizations with their development and workforce needs.
  • Focus on learning and career pathways into cultural and creative fields.

Promote the value and impact of Iowa’s cultural and creative sector

  • Collaborate with tourism efforts around historical destinations.
  • Support communities in their efforts to elevate their historical assets and vibrancy.
  • Guide history partners with expanding their visibility and reach.

Enhance access to history and humanities

  • Develop new tools, resources and platforms to increase awareness of and access to history and humanities resources, particularly for underrepresented and underserved communities.
  • Support rural and underserved areas of Iowa in cultivating their unique historical assets.
  • Help our sector navigate and connect to more grant funding opportunities.
  • Continue to offer online educational resources, virtual programming and digital accessibility to complement in-person experiences.
  • Support educators at all levels in their work to ensure students have access to robust learning experiences inside and outside the classroom.