University of Iowa Museum Studies student intern Kristin Beisler, working with Faculty Advisor/Supervisor: Dr. Heidi Lung, has created an informational video about the Teaching Iowa History project.

To learn more about the Teaching Iowa History Project, click here.

August 31, 2018

Update on Teaching Iowa History Project

Two key components of the project, both of which will continue to grow and develop over the next four semesters, are now live.

Component 1 - database of primary sources
Over 60 museums, historical societies, and archives have contributed images of objects, art, documents, etc., from their collection, to build a database of over 650 primary sources associated with Iowa history. 

These objects are being cataloged and tagged in multiple ways, and augmented with additional research, for suggested use in lesson plans.

The database is here

We will continue to accept images of Iowa related items from public collections for the next four semesters.  You may send images and descriptive information or your questions to

Component 2 - lesson plan repository
The primary sources submitted for Component 1 will be used as the basis for lessons for grades K-12 that meet the new Iowa Social Studies Standards.  Lessons will begin to be developed this semester, and as completed will be posted at Teaching Iowa History - (

While we wait for lesson plans to be written, the site is being developed with information about the project, Educator Resources, and other information.

Of particular interest to participating museums will be the map of repository participants under "About the project".  Also of interest to participating collecting organizations will be, when posted, the lesson plans, which will embed images of your objects and a link to your organization for teacher ease in contacting you.

Teaching Iowa History will create a community of practice around teaching Iowa history with primary sources, raising awareness of the collections held in Iowa's museums and their importance to preserving the historical identity and fabric of our state.

Teaching Iowa History Project Background

Building a community of practice around teaching Iowa history with primary sources held in public collections in support of Iowa Social Studies Standards.
New Iowa Social Studies Standards provide the opportunity to embed the teaching of Iowa history in grades K-12 for the first time in over a decade.  The Iowa Museum Association is working with partners statewide to provide Iowa history content and instructional resources to support Iowa's teachers in meeting the new standards.    For background on the need for this project, see the Iowa History Advisory Council report below.

Education is a core activity for all museums.  To meet identified educator needs and bring museum's into a closer working relationship with educators, the Iowa Museum Association applied for and received a National Endowment for the Humanities "Creating Humanities Communities" matching grant in the amount of $60,000 to support Teaching Iowa History

Teaching Iowa History will:

~identify a broad range of Iowa historians - local, academic, subject matter experts, and more, creating a database of experts to aid in the creation of instructional resources;
~curate a digital collection of Iowa history content and primary sources;
~create instructional resources for K-12 teachers;
~create a professional development template for teaching to the new standards;
~test and model both instructional resources and professional development.

The new Iowa Social Studies Standards are posted here.