For Iowa’s 175th Anniversary, State Historical Society of Iowa Offers Pop-Up Displays and Historical Markers

    History is everywhere, often hidden under the surface of everyday life. Here in Iowa, two new statewide initiatives will make it easier to recognize.

    To commemorate Iowa’s 175th Anniversary this year, the State Historical Society of Iowa is creating 300 temporary pop-up displays as well as 15 permanent cast aluminum historical markers. Both are available, by application, for installation in communities across Iowa.

    “We encourage Iowans across the state to learn about and share Iowa’s remarkable history,” State Historical Society of Iowa Administrator Susan Kloewer said. “Iowa’s 175th Anniversary offers all of us an opportunity to consider how far our state has come and how we might influence its future.”

    Pop-Up Display: “Iowa’s People & Places”

    This temporary display traces 13,000 years of Iowa history, from the first Native peoples to call this land home, through the Louisiana Purchase and the Civil War, and right on through the 20th century to today, when Iowans are increasingly connected to a global world.

    Request a mail-order pop-up display that is free-standing, lightweight and easy to assemble. The finished display size is about 68-inches tall by 45-inches square, is made of sturdy cardboard and can be easily assembled for display in museums, historical societies, libraries, community centers or other public locations. The number of displays is limited, so only one will be sent to each participating organization starting in early August. Due to the shipment type, displays cannot be sent to a PO Box. You also will receive a digital Iowa 175 partner toolkit to help plan programming for adults, children and educators.

    State Historical Markers

    Signs and plaques already mark hundreds of historical sites across Iowa. Funding from the State Historical Society of Iowa, with support from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, is available for the creation of new signs to help tell the stories of the people and places that have played a role in Iowa’s past.

    Grants up to $2,000 are available for the manufacture of 2-by-3 foot signs in cast aluminum. Priority will be given to historical markers that share the stories of historically underrepresented groups. The grant application is available online at iowaculture.gov.

    Other Programs

    The State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, has organized an array of other statewide programs to commemorate Iowa’s 175th Anniversary, including two other versions of the “Iowa People’s & Places” exhibition – one at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, in Des Moines, and another in a mobile museum, housed in a custom-built Winnebago, which recently launched its second 99-county tour.

    Iowans can also commemorate the 175th anniversary by tuning in to an array of “Iowa History 101” and “Iowa Stories” webinars, joining the new online Iowa History Book Club, subscribing to The Annals of Iowa for in-depth articles about Iowa history, exploring curated Days of Learning cultural programming, and participating in Goldie’s Kids Club, a program that offers online and in-person learning activities for children and families.

    Details about all of these programs and more are available at iowaculture.gov.

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    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. 

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