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State Historical Society of Iowa

State Historical Building fully reopens Oct. 14, Celebration features programs and new museum exhibition

Oct 2, 2023

DES MOINES – After more than five years of renovations, the State Historical Building of Iowa, Museum and Research Center will fully reopen Oct. 14 with a day-long schedule of programs and the unveiling of a brand new museum exhibition.

The renovated building features a beautiful, bright new atrium and significant infrastructure improvements to provide a safer and more secure facility to preserve and share Iowa's historical exhibits, artifacts, state archives and records for years to come.

“Iowans share a strong commitment to preserving the history of our state and making sure it is safeguarded for generations of Iowans to come,” State Historical Society of Iowa Administrator Susan Kloewer said. “As the state’s flagship facility for preserving Iowa history, we are extremely pleased this renovation project has been completed successfully and we invite all Iowans and visitors to join us in the celebration.”

On Saturday, Oct. 14, visitors will have an opportunity to see the completed renovation, participate in family-friendly programs and activities, view the museum's permanent collection and tour the new "Civics in Action" exhibition, which focuses on significant events, court cases, caucuses and issues that shaped the future of Iowa and the United States.

“Civics in Action” features the Iowa caucuses and Iowans of action with more than 60 artifacts, including a Ding Darling political cartoon, election tickets from the 1860s and '70s, Iowa caucus artifacts – banners, buttons, ribbons and more – and the pen Ambassador Terry Branstad used when he was governor to sign legislation for the construction of the State Historical Building.

Family-friendly programs include museum collection storage tours, Goldie’s Kids Club activities, information about the museum’s Benoist Biplane, an Object Station that will transport artifacts through several exhibitions, storytelling in the “Iowa and Civil War” exhibition, and more. Times and more details are available online at

New Hours
Beginning Oct. 14:

  • The State Historical Museum of Iowa will be open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
  • The Iowa History Research Centers in Des Moines and Iowa City will be open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday.

Renovation Details
The State Historical Building renovation followed several years of careful planning and preparation to put an end to weather-related water leaks that threatened to damage historic materials and caused problems for visitors and staff. Construction also yielded a beautiful new atrium space with views of the Iowa State Capitol, a dynamic renovation in the Iowa History Research Center and brand new flooring in the atrium. Plus, the skylight replacement with a new roof and window-wall was designed to safeguard the building’s interior and make the most of natural light. Funding for the project came from the State Legislature’s Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund along with private funding.

Built in 1987 as a center for Iowa history, the State Historical Building of Iowa houses the State Historical Society of Iowa, which oversees the State Historical Museum of Iowa, the State Historical Library & Archives, two Iowa History Research Centers (Des Moines and Iowa City) and seven Historic Sites located throughout the state.

More information 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.