Researching the State of Iowa’s vast collection of historic documents and artifacts, genealogical records, newspapers and images is now easier than ever, with just a few clicks of a button. The State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, recently unveiled a unified, user-friendly online catalog that provides greater access to the state’s collection of more than 200 million pieces of Iowa history, available to anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world.
The Iowa History Collections Catalog culminates a major multi-year effort to increase public access to materials from the society’s museum, historical libraries, state archives and special collections. Today’s announcement coincides with the start of October, which is American Archives Month and Family History Month.
“This is a breakthrough moment for public accessibility to the state’s collection,” State Historical Society of Iowa Administrator Susan Kloewer said. “Thanks to the dedication and expertise of our staff, Iowans can follow their curiosity and explore our state’s fascinating history more easily than ever before.”
The online catalog received support from the Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer as well as the Iowa Legislature, through its annual appropriations to the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.
The project aligns with the department’s ongoing efforts to increase access to historical research materials, both online and at the State Historical Society of Iowa Research Centers in Des Moines and Iowa City. The society recently expanded visiting hours at both research centers to 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday by appointment.
Iowans can learn about Iowa history in other ways, too – especially this year, when the State of Iowa marks its 175th Anniversary. Iowans can tune into a popular series of “Iowa History 101” and “Iowa Stories” webinars, join a new online Iowa History Book Club, and participate in Goldie’s Kids Club, a program that offers online and in-person learning activities for children and families.
This month, the historical society is publishing a special 175th anniversary edition of its flagship journal, The Annals of Iowa, which features contributions from historians and artists from across the state. Plus, a new curated collection of cultural resources, known as the Days of Learning, will be posted on Oct. 19 in anticipation of Statehood Day on Dec. 28.
Details about all of these programs and resources can be found at iowaculture.gov.
The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the State Historical Society of Iowa, including the State Historic Preservation Office; the Iowa Arts Council; the interim Iowa Humanities Council; and Produce Iowa, the state office of media production – empower Iowans to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department promotes creativity as a catalyst for innovation, empowers Iowans to preserve history, and shares the stories of Iowa through humanities and culture to connect past, present and future generations