Iowa History Month
The State Historical Society of Iowa invites Iowans of all ages to learn more about our state’s past throughout Iowa History Month in March. Every year, this statewide tradition offers new opportunities to learn more about Iowa’s past and the remarkable Iowans from all walks of life who have influenced their communities, their state, their country and, in many cases, the entire world.
The month features an array of in-person and online programs organized by the State Historical Society of Iowa. Iowans and others can tune in to online presentations, take part in activities designed for families with children, discover materials in the Iowa History Collection Catalog and take guided tours at the State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines.
Iowans are encouraged to post their own #IowaHistory stories, discoveries and events throughout the month on social media. Here are ways you can learn more.
Visit the State Historical Museum of Iowa
Discover the stories of Iowa’s growth and development through exhibits displaying a rich collection of artifacts and documents. Visit the State Historical Museum of Iowa, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. The museum is free to visit for all ages.
If you can’t visit the museum in person, tour the museum’s exhibit Iowa’s People & Places from your home or attend an upcoming virtual program such as the Iowa History 101 series or the Iowa History Book Club.
Research the Past at the Historical Library & Archives Research Center
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.
Join an Iowa History 101 Webinar
Sign up to watch an Iowa History 101 webinar, presented on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at noon, to learn more about Iowa’s history from pre-statehood to current day. Explore the archives of past program recordings.
- March 7 - "Respect for the fallen, duty for the survivors: Robert T. Smith’s search for World War II servicemen lost in the South Pacific" with Jerome Thompson
- March 21 - “Victorian Woman and Pella, Iowan Sarah Rousseau: On Music, Travel and the Earps" with Janelle Molony
Read about Iowa's Past with the Iowa History Book Club
Join the Annals of Iowa editor, Andrew Klumpp, to explore Iowa’s past through the online Iowa History Book Club.
This new story of Iowa provides a brisk, readable narrative written for a broad audience, from high school and college students to teachers and scholars to general readers. It tells the story of ordinary and extraordinary people of all backgrounds and greatly improves our knowledge of a state whose history has been neglected. A New History of Iowa is for everyone who wants to learn about Iowa’s surprising, complex, and remarkable past.
Spring Break Programs for All Ages
Adventure into the past with special programs and events with the State Historical Museum of Iowa. Engage young historians with spring break activities and programs, March 12-16.
Drop-in Activity Stations, March 12-16 , 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Family Exhibit Tours
Join State Curator Leo Landis at the State Historical Museum of Iowa this spring break for two guided tours of selected museum exhibits. (register in advance)
- "Iowa's People and Places", March 12, 10 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
- "Civics in Action", March 12, 2 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Family Museum Collection Tour
The Family Museum Collections Tours takes young historians (ages 9 and up) and their families on a 30 minute guided tour through the museum collection vault as we explore a small sample of the museum’s 80,000 objects. This tour is recommended for younger learners and their families. (register in advance)
Museum Collection Tours
Looking for a more in-depth tour? The Museum Collections Tour (ages 12 and up) is a 60 minute comprehensive guided tour through the museum collection vault. This tour is recommended for older learners and historians. (register in advance)
Sign Up for Goldie's Family Day Camp
Young historians, ages 6-10 years old, alongside their adults will explore the museum vault, listen to a story, search for historic objects in the museum exhibits and create a fun hands-on craft all while learning about Iowa history during the two-hour long engaging program.
March 14, 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Join Goldie's Kids Club
Participate in Goldie’s Kids Club to introduce children aged 12 and under to Iowa history – starting with Goldie the eastern goldfinch, the state bird. Delve into the online library of past activities and find fun ways to learn about Iowa history from your own home.
- Innovative Iowans highlights an Iowan through interactive activities that connect history with STEAM education – science, technology, engineering, art and math. Learn about the historic Iowans and try a hands-on activity connected to the historical topic.
- Storytime presents a book recommendation and hands-on activity with an Iowa connection. Iowa's past has many exciting stories to tell.
- With At-Home Collections historians of all ages can learn more about State Historic Sites, National Historic Landmarks and Iowa history topics through Innovative Iowans activities, crosswords, coloring sheets and more!
Interested in Goldie’s Kids Club? Join Today!
Explore Iowa with the Iowa Culture App
Download the Iowa Culture app to discover historic sites in your neighborhood and around the state. Highlights from all 99 counties are included in a new tour designed by the State Curator, including: the Estherville Meteorite Site near Estherville, the French Icarian Village near Corning, the Meskwaki Tribal Museum in Tama and many more!