Celebrate Iowa History Month!
The month-long celebration, as proclaimed by Gov. Kim Reynolds, includes a new museum exhibition, a statewide book club, at-home activities for children and families, and an array of online presentations all about Iowa history.
This is “a time to learn more about the people, places and points of pride that helped define our state,” says Susan Kloewer, who leads the society. “Every Iowa family, community and county has contributed to our collective history, and Iowa History Month is a time to celebrate these connections.”
The new exhibition, “Iowa’s People & Places,” opens March 5 at the State Historical Museum of Iowa and explores more than 13,000 years of history with artifacts that cover a broad range of experiences. American Indian settlements, court rulings, legislation, immigration and elections set the course for Iowa and still affect Iowans today.
The exhibition’s statewide mix of artifacts represents a mosaic of Iowa’s cultural diversity, including stone tools made by some of Iowa’s earliest inhabitants, handcrafted Meskwaki beadwork, an embroidered story cloth made by a Hmong immigrant, and several items from the life and high-flying career of astronaut Peggy Whitson.
The State Historical Society of Iowa also has organized a new Iowa History Book Club, which kicks off March 11 with a discussion about “Iowa: The Middle Land,” by the legendary historian Dorothy Schwieder. Additional book club discussions are scheduled quarterly throughout the year.
Here are a few other ways, in the near future, to learn more about the past:
- Noon, each Tuesday and Thursday: Watch an “Iowa History 101” online program to learn about notable names from the past, including Inkpaduta, Emir Abd El-Kader and many others.
- Noon, March 17: Tune in to an “Iowa Stories” online presentation from the State Historical Society’s Research Center in Iowa City, featuring “The Cherry Sisters: The Best Worst Act in the World.”
- Noon, March 25: Log in for “100 Years of Donna Reed,” another online presentation, when Reed’s daughter, Mary Owen of Iowa City, will share rarely seen family photos from her mother’s early days in Denison. Reed’s career includes her Academy Award-winning performance in “From Her to Eternity” (1953), “The Donna Reed Show” (1958–1966) and “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), which will marks its 75th anniversary later this year.
— Jeff Morgan, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs