State Historical Museum of Iowa

    Discover Iowa’s rich heritage through a variety of exhibitions, tours, collections and unique programs and events throughout the year.

    • Learn about life in Iowa before it became a state and the many changes that took place when settlers arrived.
    • Explore Iowa’s rich natural resources and the balance between using these resources and preserving them.  
    • Discover what inspired more than 76,000 Iowans to fight for the Union and the role they played in the nation’s bloodiest war.
    • Explore Iowa’s legacy with the silver screen from the early 1900s to today in this blockbuster exhibit.
    • Discover the history of bicycling in Iowa including the story of the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI®) that began in 1973.

    The Collection

    The museum has more than 80,000 objects and collects things of all shapes and sizes. About 1,500 objects are on exhibit at the museum. More objects are on display in the capitol building and other museums in Iowa. To learn more about objects in the collection, please visit the online catalog.

    Programs and Workshops

    The State Historical Society of Iowa provides a variety of educational programs for schools, groups and individuals. In addition, a variety of special programs and activities are offered during spring, summer and winter school breaks, and are open to the public.

    Donations and Questions

    If you are interested in donating an item to the museum, please fill out and submit the Museum Donation Form. The information will be reviewed and you will receive a response within 30 days.

    If you have questions about caring for objects, Collections Care Resources provides advice and recommendations for preserving your treasures. If you would like to learn more about objects in the museum collection, please search the online catalog. For more information or other questions, please contact us and you will receive a response within 30 days.