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State Historical Society of Iowa

Celebrate Iowa History Month in March

Feb 28, 2024

DES MOINES – March is Iowa History Month and the State Historical Society of Iowa is encouraging Iowans of all ages to learn more about Iowa’s past through programs, tours and other activities.

Every year, this statewide tradition offers new opportunities for Iowans to learn more about the people, places and points of pride that have influenced their communities, state, country and, in many cases, the entire world.

“Iowa’s history is more unique and compelling than many lifelong Iowans realize,” State Curator Leo Landis said. “There’s always more to discover and there’s no better time than Iowa History Month to do it. We encourage Iowans of all ages to explore and share some of the stories that have shaped who we are today.”

Starting with a proclamation from Gov. Kim Reynolds, the month features a full schedule of in-person and online programs. Iowans and others can take guided tours at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, enjoy presentations at the Iowa History Research Centers in Des Moines and Iowa City, take part in activities designed for families with children, discover materials in the Iowa History Collection Catalog, and much more. See the full schedule at

Here are just a few highlights:

Online Presentations

Tune in online to learn more about Iowa’s history from pre-statehood to current day, including past program recordings with our Iowa History 101 series. On March 7, retired State Curator Jerome Thompson will discuss Robert T. Smith’s search for World War II servicemen lost in the South Pacific. On March 21, Janelle Molony will talk about Victorian Women and Pella, Iowan Sara Rousseau. Advanced registration is free but required for each session. A full list of future programs can be found online.

In addition, join Annals of Iowa Editor Andrew Klumpp online at 7 p.m. March 7 for the next Iowa History Book Club meeting. Klumpp and author Jeff Bremer will discuss “A New History of Iowa,” which tells the story of ordinary and extraordinary people of all backgrounds and greatly improves our knowledge of a state whose history has been neglected. Register in advance.  

Guided Museum Tours

Join State Historical Museum staff for guided tours of museum exhibits and the underground storage vault where artifacts are collected and preserved. Here’s the tour schedule for March:

  • March 12, 10 a.m. – “Iowa’s People and Places” exhibit
  • March 12, 2 p.m. – “Civics in Action” exhibit
  • March 13, 2 p.m. – Museum Collections Tour
  • March 15, 10 a.m. – Museum Collections Tour
  • March 15, 2 p.m. – Family Museum Collection Tour
  • March 16, 10 a.m. – Family Museum Collection Tour

The free tours are open to children and adults alike, but children must be accompanied by an adult, and advanced registration is required.

Goldie’s Kids Club Activities

Join Goldie the Goldfinch, the state bird, for a full slate of educational programs and hands-on activities for all ages. The month’s lineup includes Goldie’s Family Day Camp 9:30-11:30 a.m. on March 14 and a number of other Goldie’s Kids Club activities, including Innovative Iowans, Storytime and At-Home Collections.

Iowa History Research Center Programs

Explore the renovated State Historical Library & Archives Iowa History Research Center in Des Moines, now open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. Visitors will find numerous upgrades and improvements and can dive into collections filled with state government records, books and periodicals, newspapers, county records, manuscripts, photographs and more. The Research Centers in Des Moines and Iowa City will host an Open House 10 a.m.-3 p.m. March 8, 15, 23 and 29. Also, please note the special hours of operation of 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, in Des Moines and Iowa City. Their schedules of Iowa History Month programs follows:

Des Moines

  • March 8, 11 a.m. – Intro to State Historical Society of Iowa Resources
  • March 8, 1 p.m. – Intro to Conducting Property Research
  • March 15, 11 a.m. – Iowa County Records Review
  • March 23, 11 a.m. – Caring for Personal Collections
  • March 23, 1 p.m. – Intro to Vital Records/Where to Find Online
  • March 29, 11 a.m. – Overview to the Underground Railroad in Iowa
  • March 29, 1 p.m. – Military Records in State Archives

Iowa City

  • March 8, 11 a.m. – Tracking Down the Central Iowa Railway Company
  • March 8, 1 p.m. – Grant Wood’s “Sultry Night”
  • March 15, 1 p.m. – Intro to Vital Records/Where to Find Online
  • March 23, 11 a.m. – Collections Care: Preserving an Iowa Map
  • March 23, 1 p.m. – Objects from the Artifact Loft
  • March 29, 11 a.m. – Iowa Musicians Project
  • March 29, 1 p.m. – Intro to Conducting Property Research

All Research Center programs are free and open to the public.

Iowans are encouraged to post their #IowaHistoryMonth stories, events and discoveries throughout the month on social media. More information about Iowa History Month is available at

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, it 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. The society is part of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services. Follow the State Historical Society of Iowa on Facebook and Instagram.