State Historical Building
600 E. Locust St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
(515) 281-6200

Centennial Building
402 Iowa Ave.
Iowa City, IA 52240
(319) 335-3916


Wednesday - Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Holiday Schedule: Days Closed

  • Saturday, Jan. 14
  • Saturday, May 27
  • Saturday, Sept. 2
  • Friday, Nov. 10
  • Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 23-25
  • Saturday, Dec. 23
  • Saturday, Dec. 30

Holiday Schedule: Additional Days Open

  • Tuesday, Nov. 21

Collection Retrieval Schedule

Materials located in the closed stacks including maps, manuscripts, photographs, original newspapers and state archives collections are retrieved by filling out a call slip at the main desk. State archives materials are only available at the Des Moines center. The Research Center team will retrieve items based on the following schedule:

  • Wednesday - Friday: 9:45 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday: Requests submitted by noon on the preceding Friday will be available by 9:00 a.m. Other retrievals will not be made on Saturdays.

Materials located in the open stacks are available on a self-serve basis during regular operating hours.

Prepare for Your Visit

The State Historical Society of Iowa team will assist you in the Research Center by directing you to pertinent collection guides, recommending sources of information, retrieving requested materials and filling reproduction orders.

In preparation for your visit, here are a few tips to ensure you have a great research experience. Please contact us if you have any questions about your visit.

  • Upon arrival, sign the daily visitor registration log.
  • Store your coat, purse, briefcase, fanny pack, equipment case or other similar items in one of the lockers provided. Lockers take two quarters that are automatically refunded when you return the key. Clear plastic bags for storing personal items are provided.
  • All personal notes and equipment are subject to search when you leave the center.
  • Bring a pencil. Pens or markers of any type are not permitted in the center. Pencils are provided.
  • Food or beverages are not allowed in the Research Center and smoking is prohibited on the State Capitol Complex. A break area and vending machines are located in the lobby.
  • Collections in the closed stack area may be retrieved by filling out a call slip for each item at the main desk.
  • Photocopy service is provided for materials under the care of the State Historical Society of Iowa. Copies of maps, manuscripts, photographs and state archives materials are available unless prohibited by copyright or curatorial restrictions.
  • Maps, manuscripts, photographs and state archives materials are unavailable on Saturdays unless requested by noon on the preceding Friday.
  • You may use an audio recorder, laptop, tablet or camera. Please check with the staff to ensure your equipment doesn't inconvenience others.
  • The staff will re-shelve materials, please leave materials on the provided carts when you are finished.
  • All collections must stay in the research center and cannot be checked out or taken to another area of the building.
  • Collections from the other State Historical Society Research Center are sometimes available through loans.

Collection and Research Center Tours

The State Historical Society of Iowa welcomes archives collection tours and Research Center orientations. To schedule a tour or orientation, please contact us.