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State Historical Society of Iowa

Hit the Road with the State Historical Society of Iowa This Summer

May 14, 2018

DES MOINES – Looking for some fresh ideas for road trips this summer?

Pack up the car and head out to Iowa's historic sites for a range of summertime activities that will have you blacksmithing, stepping inside the famous American Gothic House, playing Victorian lawn games and hiking the country's westward trails. It's all part of the State Historical Society of Iowa's 2018 Summer Passport Program that takes travelers and tourists to Iowa's historic sites for family-friendly events.

“The State Historical Society is exited to provide Iowans with opportunities to connect with our rich history throughout the summer at our historic sites,” State Historical Society of Iowa Administrator Susan Kloewer said. “Programs at the historic sites will allow visitors to engage with history where it happened, and I invite all Iowans to join us this summer.”

During their trips, Iowans can experience special programs, visit the State Historical Museum's traveling "Iowa History 101" exhibit and tour the historic sites. The State Historical Society's summer program schedule follows:

Gothic Days
June 9, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
The American Gothic House, 301 American Gothic Street in Eldon

Join southeast Iowa’s annual festival and stop by to make some artwork of your own in the little white house that Grant Wood made famous. While you’re there, be sure to visit the “Iowa History 101” mobile museum.

Leisure with the Larrabees
June 16, 12:00-4:00 p.m.
The Montauk Historic Site, 26223 Harding Road in Clermont

Head to this mansion in the northeast Iowa’s rolling hills to see how former Gov. William Larrabee and his family spent their summers in the late 1800s. Play Victorian lawn games, make a craft or two, and visit the “Iowa History 101” mobile museum.

Goldie on the Trail
July 7, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
The Western Historic Trails Center, 3434 Richard Downing Ave. in Council Bluffs

Hit the trails to explore wildlife during guided hikes, where you might even spot Goldie the Goldfinch herself. Back at the center, make some crafts and check out the pioneer heirloom garden.

Travelers can get a free Historic Sites Passport at the State Historical Museum in Des Moines or any of Iowa's eight historic sites – or download it – to learn about Iowa history. Collect stamps from at least five of the sites to claim a small prize.

Meanwhile, in Des Moines, families can enjoy exploring museum exhibitions, including the ​"Hands-on History" learning gallery designed specifically for children ages 10 and under. With adult supervision, young visitors can enjoy Iowa history through interactive activities and artifacts.

In addition, the museum invites Iowa's youngest historians and their family members to a series of Goldie's Kids Club programs, named for Goldie the Goldfinch, the state bird. Programs include Storytime (for ages 3-7), History Makers (ages 8-12) and History Mystery (ages 8-12). 

The State Historical Museum of Iowa and Iowa's eight historic sites are overseen by the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

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.