Frequently Asked Questions
UPCOMING GUEST IMPACT:
Now-Summer 2023 - View building and parking map for directions. The main entrance under the portico on Locust Street continues to be open. The Grand Avenue entrance on the east side of the building is now open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday to service the Iowa History Research Center and the west side entrance on Grand Avenue continues to be closed during the duration of renovation. Free parking is still available at the parking garage at the corner of Grand and Pennsylvania avenues; please use the east side of the sidewalk on Pennsylvania Avenue to Locust Street on days when the Grand Avenue entrance is closed.
Renovations at the State Historical Building of Iowa are taking place now through summer 2023. The remaining work will focus on completing additional projects to protect and preserve the State’s historical collection including bringing our exhibit entrances up to fire code and updating the wood floor which has been warped with water over time.
The building will remain open to the public during regular hours throughout the project, but visitors may notice some temporary changes. If you're planning a visit, please check this website for updates, as some entrances and portions of museum exhibits may close temporarily. The museum's three historic planes also have been placed into temporary storage, and staff is working with Anna Weiss-Pfau from the American Institute for Conservation to assess the planes and complete a conservation report.
We will post news about our progress, along with information to help you visit the State Historical Museum, Library & Archives Iowa History Research Center, plan a field trip or group visit or rent the facility. If you have any questions, please call us at 515-281-5111.
We appreciate your patience as we make necessary repairs to protect and preserve the state's vast collection for years to come.
Although the building will remain open during regular hours throughout the renovation, visitors may notice some temporary changes. If you're planning a visit, please check this website for updates, as some entrances and portions of exhibits may close temporarily. If you have any questions, please call us at 515-281-5111.
The Library and Archives Iowa History Research Center in Des Moines is open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday.
Field Trips & Group Visits
The museum will remain open during regular hours, but space in the atrium will be limited. To inquire about scheduling school or group visits, please email email@example.com.
Temporary Exhibit Closures
Museum exhibits will remain open to the public during renovations, but portions of some exhibits will close from time to time. We will closely manage these closures to minimize the impact to visitors, and we thank you for your patience.
Some event locations in the building are available to rent. Please contact us for availability and pricing.
Built in 1987 as a center for history and culture, the State Historical Building of Iowa is where you’ll find the state's flagship history museum, historical library and state archives Iowa History Research Center, and the offices of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, which oversees the State Historical Society of Iowa, State Historic Preservation Office, Iowa Arts Council and Produce Iowa, the State Office of Media Production.
The renovation follows several years of careful planning and preparation to help the building provide better protection from the elements and, ultimately, preserve the historic collection for years to come. The structural changes should put an end to weather-related water leaks that have threatened to damage historical materials and caused problems for visitors and staff.
Some changes have already taken place, including the replacement pipes and skylight replacement with a new roof and window wall – all designed to safeguard the building’s interior and make the most of natural light.
The renovated research center is now open and serving the public, including students, genealogists and other researchers in the 21st century.
"These necessary renovations will ensure a safe and secure facility to house the collections that are vital to tell our state's stories," according to an open letter from the State Historical Society of Iowa Board of Trustees. “Our history is important. It unites us as Iowans, explains our past, provides understanding of the present and informs our future.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Will the building stay open?
Yes. The museum, research center and administrative offices will remain open during regular hours.
Where should I park?
Free parking is still available in the ramp just north of the building, on the northwest corner of Grand and Pennsylvania avenues. Otherwise, metered parking is available throughout the neighborhood.
How do I get in the building?
If you are visiting the State Historical Museum, please use the Locust Street entrance. The Grand Avenue entrance on the east side of the building is now open Wednesday – Friday, 9am-4:30pm for visitors of the Iowa History Research Center. The west side entrance on Grand Avenue will be closed for the duration of renovations.
Will the building be ADA accessible?
Yes. All visitors, including those with limited mobility, can enter on Locust Street and use the building's elevators. Several wheelchairs are available for check-out at the front desk.
Will the exhibits stay open?
Yes. Portions of certain exhibits may close from time to time, but most galleries will remain open. We will post updates about temporary closures on this website. Bonus: A new exhibit about Iowa's 175th anniversary called "Iowa's People and Places" is now open.
What about that mammoth?
Don't worry. The replica skeleton and woolly model of an Ice Age mammoth will remain on display in the atrium.
How does this affect the research center?
The newly renovated research center is now open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday. Please enter on Grand Avenue. To learn more please visit our website.
Can school groups still visit?
Yes. As always, we encourage schools and other groups to visit. We are happy to help you plan and schedule a field trip.