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State Historical Society of Iowa
American Gothic House

American Gothic House

The American Gothic House in Eldon, Iowa, is famous as the backdrop of Grant Wood’s 1930 painting, "American Gothic." Since its completion, the painting has become an American icon and has been both the backdrop and the model for countless parodies. Built in the 1880s, this house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and was donated to the State Historical Society of Iowa in 1991.

Expedition Activities
   + Coloring Sheets
   + "Think Like an Artist" Cards
   + Goldie at Home Activity: American Gothic and Architecture
   + Connect the Dots Activity
   + Video: "Grant Wood & The American Gothic House"
   + Video: "Living in the American Gothic House"
   + Build Your Own American Gothic House

Create a Masterpiece

Grant Wood’s love for art developed early, as did his artistic ability. The Iowa native drew everything he saw in nature around him, such as houses, trees and animals, especially chickens. Download the Grant Wood-inspired coloring sheets and create your own masterpiece portrait of Goldie.

Think Like An Artist

Explore the history of notable Iowa artists by downloading a set of the State Historical Society of Iowa's "Think Like an Artist" cards. The set features eight artists and provides a brief bio and photo of each artist, notable works and questions from Visual Thinking Strategies to help interpret their art. 

Connect the Dots

Have you ever used stepping stones to get from one place to the next? Learning about history works the same way: you discover one fact, which leads to another and another. See if you can connect the dots to create an iconic Iowa image.

Goldie at Home Activity

Goldie at Home activities connect Iowa history with STEAM education – science, technology, engineering, art and math. Download this week's Goldie at Home activity about architecture to learn more about the American Gothic House and complete a neighborhood scavenger hunt

Watch Videos

Take a virtual tour of the American Gothic House and learn about one of its past residents – who loved to make pies.  
     + "Grant Wood & The American Gothic House" (Travel Iowa)
     + "Living in the American Gothic House" (Los Angeles Times)

Discover Additional Resources

Recreate the famous American Gothic House by making a shoe-box model. Use this easy craft from The Goldfinch (1993) to bring the house to life. 
     + American Gothic House Instructions and Template