More than 650 guests made history at the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs' eighth annual Celebrate Iowa Gala, raising more than $150,000 to preserve and share stories and artifacts from the state's colorful past.
"We're experiencing tremendous momentum in the arts, culture, media, history and historic preservation," Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Chris Kramer said. "The gala was a true all-Iowa celebration and featured award-winning foods and beverages while showcasing the very best our state has to offer in live music performed by all Iowa artists, interactive art, museum exhibits and more. I want to thank all of our guests, artists, musicians, volunteers, sponsors and partners who helped make the night a success."
The revenue generated from the gala will help the State Historical Society of Iowa and State Historical Museum of Iowa create new statewide exhibitions, educational programming and other initiatives including the following key projects:
- Conserving three iconic historic planes at the museum atrium.
- Re-launching the Iowa History 101 mobile museum: The museum's custom-built, artifact-filled Winnebago recently finished its first 3-year, 99-county tour and is preparing to hit the road next spring with all new artifacts in a brand new exhibit.
- Upgrading the research center: New technology will give students, genealogists and others a refreshed visitor experience at the State Historical Library & Archives Research Center in Des Moines.
Department launches "1857 Society"
In addition, the department is using the success of the gala to kick off its new "1857 Society," a charitable giving program that celebrates the State Historical Society of Iowa's creation, in 1857. Donations will be managed by the Iowa Historical Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports the state agency.
"A few early Iowans founded the State Historical Society of Iowa in 1857 without much fanfare, but what they did is a cause for celebration now, more than 160 years later," Kramer said. "We're hoping 1,857 or more Iowans will make a donation of $18.57 or $185.70 or even $1,857 by the end of the year to honor their vision."
Donations can be made online by visiting iowaculture.gov/support.
Meanwhile, Iowans can also support history by volunteering as a National History Day judge, exploring more than 3,500 culture sites on the free Iowa Culture app, following the department on social media and much more.
The Celebrate Iowa Gala was held at the Scottish Rite Consistory in Des Moines while the State Historical Building of Iowa undergoes renovations. It was supported by numerous sponsors and partners, including MidAmerican Energy Company, Musco Lighting, Bank of America, Doll Distributing, LLC., Hy-Vee, Mediacom, Prairie Meadows and Principal among many others.
The State Historical Museum of Iowa is overseen by the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. More information is available at iowaculture.gov or 515-281-5111.
The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations.