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Arts | History | Culture: Evoke by Dale Merrill

COVID-19 Policies

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs understands that your first priority is keeping people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help, we have compiled a list of information and resources specifically designed for Iowa’s creative professionals and those who lead arts, culture, film and history organizations across the state.

While the State Historical Museum of Iowa is open to the public, the offices of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs that are housed within that building remain closed to visitors. Even so, our team continues to serve the public in numerous ways, so please feel free to contact our staff. As always, we’re here to help.

Grants and Emergency Funding

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs recently adapted its annual grant programs for the upcoming fiscal year (starting July 1, 2021) to help Iowans adapt to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. The department announced the grants on Feb. 11, 2021, and encourages to learn more about these funding opportunities.  


All Iowans may benefit from the State of Iowa’s comprehensive list of COVID-19 resources, including unemployment assistance from Iowa Workforce Development and financial assistance for small businesses from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

See also:
 + Independent Sector tips to apply for nonprofit relief funds

Artists, filmmakers, media professionals and others are encouraged to apply for an array of grants, including the Iowa Arts & Culture Resilience Grants, which will be awarded for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2021. (Note to filmmakers: Please see the “filmmakers” section below.)

See also:
 + CERF+ the Artists Safety Net resources
 + Creative Capital resources
 + Grantmakers in the Arts emergency grants to help with medical expenses

Art teachers may appreciate free lesson plans, podcasts and more from the Art of Education University, as well as additional resources from the Arts Education Partnership.

Arts, history and cultural organizations may access the Iowa Arts Council’s online resources, as well as our Local History Network’s online toolkits to help plan for all kinds of contingencies. 

See also:
 + American Alliance of Museums guidance on financial relief, educating the public about Covid-19, reviewing staff policies, cleaning and caring for collections, preparing for 
, preventing the spread of the virus at public events and using digital platforms to stay connected.

 + American Association of State and Local History webinars
 + American Institute for Conservation tips for collections care
 + Americans for the Arts resource and response center
 + Common Field crowdsourced list of resources
 + Institute of Museum and Library Services resources + Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative resources

Educators and families are encouraged to explore an array of online materials about Iowa history, including Goldie at Home activities for young children and Primary Source Sets, with K-12 lesson plans that focus on primary sources from the State Historical Society of Iowa’s collection and Library of Congress.

See also:
 + Goldie's History Kits

 + Read Iowa History
 + History Alive Videos

Filmmakers are encouraged to submit applications for Greenlight Grants by May 3, 2021. They also may continue to access Produce Iowa’s MediaMasters professional development webinars about a range of media-production topics.

The production unions and guilds released a joint safety report as a follow-up to an Industry White Paper that was released on June 1, 2020. "The Safe Way Forward" is a 36-page report detailing safety guidelines for film and television productions that we encourage you to review. Good luck and stay safe! 

See also:
 + Independent Filmmaker Project resources
 + Sundance Institute free webinars, classes and forums, plus other resources

History researchers may submit reference questions online or email them to, as usual. Even though the State Historical Society of Iowa Research Centers in Des Moines and Iowa City are closed to the public, our staff can still access the collections and will respond as soon as possible. 

Historic preservationists should continue to work with the State Historic Preservation Office, as usual.

For Section 106 and similar projects: Our staff has provided special guidance to all local, state and federal partners and will notify any them if we expect any delays to our usual 30-day deadlines for review and compliance.

For Federal Historic Tax Incentives and National Register projects: Our staff will continue to process these projects as usual in coordination with the National Park Service.

For State Historic Tax Credit projects: Please submit these projects, as usual, via CACTAS and Iowa Grants, and email amendments to

All public meetings will be held online via Google Hangouts as long as our offices are closed to the public.

See also:
 + National Trust for Historic Preservation resources + Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative resources