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From the Director

Local and state history help create identity and build community, connecting us through shared stories and experiences.  This history is now more important than ever, but in our fast-paced society, it is often overlooked.  Unless this history is presented in an interesting manner, its significance often is lost.

We believe one the best ways to get Iowa’s elementary age students thinking about our shared past is through field trips to the state’s many museums, which bring this history alive though one-of-a-kind artifacts, exhibits, and displays.

Over the past decade, we have sent nearly 10,000 children from all over the state to these Iowa history venues through our field trip grant program.  The program is even more important now that Iowa history has been incorporated across the state’s K-12 curriculum.  Demand always exceeds the funds we have available, so if you’re interested  in using the program next year, see our website and apply early.  Or, if you would like to help fund this program, see donation information at the end of this newsletter.

One of the favorite field trip destinations is Living History Farms in Urbandale.   The interactive, outdoor museum does a terrific job in portraying the changes in Midwestern agriculture and rural life over the past few hundred years.

We’re so happy with Living History Farms, in fact, that we’re partnering with them in their Teacher of the Year Award, which annually recognizes an Iowa teacher “who brings history to life.”  For more on the award, past winners, or to nominate a teacher, see https://www.lhf.org/educators/teacher-of-the-year/.

Speaker Series: “The Art of Conservation: A Visit With Ding Darling”

Tom Milligan, a professional actor from Des Moines, brings his one man play about J.N. “Ding” Darling to Simpson College.  Darling was a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist at the Des Moines Register, an acclaimed artist, and a nationally recognized conservationist.

The performance will be held here at Simpson in the Black Box Theater, Kent Campus Center on March 22 at 7 p.m.  It will be preceded by a reception from 6-7 p.m. upstairs in the Kent Campus Center in Hubbell Hall.  Both the program and reception are free and open to the public.

Iowa History Scholar: Mallory Hanson

The Iowa History Center is pleased to announce the graduation of one of our scholars, Mallory Hanson.  Mallory encourages high school seniors to apply for the scholarship: "I thought I was unqualified because I did not have a strong grasp on Iowa history. Don't be afraid to apply. As long as you are passionate about history and interested in learning more about the great state of Iowa, the IHC is a great place for you."

Mallory recently accepted a position as the education registrar and finance associate at Living History Farms and has future plans for graduate studies.  She attributes much of her success to serving as an IHC Scholar.  "Whether it was improving my research skills by studying maps of Iowa or helping write articles for the IHC newsletters, being a part of the Center helped me grow professionally, academically, and personally."

Featured Intern: Brittany Leinen

The Iowa History Center works with area museums to provide internships for history majors and minors at Simpson College.

"My internship at the Warren County Historical Museum was a good learning experience.  I left with a broader understanding of how museums function. Throughout my internship, I helped catalog artifacts, learned to use Past Perfect, a collections management software, and put an exhibit together." For more information on the Warren County Historical Society, see http://warrencountyhistory.org/.

Iowa Jeopardy

The Iowa History Center is hosting our fourth annual Iowa Jeopardy contest, on February 22, 7 p.m., in the Black Box Theater, Kent Campus Center. Teams of three to five people will be quizzed on their knowledge of Iowa history and pop culture. There will be over $300 in prizes for the winners. Register your team by Tuesday, February 20, and receive 50 bonus points toward your team’s score. To register early, please email us with your team's information.  All interested, including faculty and community members, are encouraged to field teams. Even if you do not want to participate, we hope to see you there to enjoy the competition.