Press Releases

This project is made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, exploring the human endeavor.
This project is supported in part by the State Historical Society of Iowa, Historical Resource Development Program. 

 

"Relevant or Irrelevant" on KALA Radio. Broadcast May 29, 2020. Cyndi Sweet, Executive Director of the Iowa Museum Association, talks with the "ROI" panelists about the Teaching Iowa History project.

Soundcloud

 

Supplementary Podcast

September 21, 2020.  The Teaching Iowa History website has been redesigned for user-friendliness and has a new URL - it is now a ".org" instead of a ".com" - https://teachingiowahistory.org

The homepage features primary sources with a rotating display of objects from Iowa museums, instructions for navigation, and three buttons for more information on specific topics - the Iowa Museum Association, the project's object database, and Iowa's Social Studies Standards.

Clicking on "View Lesson Plans" will display a list of nearly 80 lesson plans.  Lesson plans will continue to be written each semester that project partners at UNI and Simpson College use this program with their pre-service teachers.  Filters on the left side of the page and the redesigned template provide finding aids.  Clicking on a lesson plan provides a print-ready lesson. Drop down menu items provide other search filters.

On the Educator Resource menu may be found many resources as well as historical essays to provide context for lessons.  Click on Historical Essays to see a filter system on the left side of the page, and icons that indicate the type of article. To search by author, click into the heading of an essay, and use the tagging framework for the essays that allows you access to author's biographies.

See the Object Listing under "About TIH" for additional filters and all objects currently incorporated into lesson plans.

For more information contact the Iowa Museum Association at Director@iowamuseums.org

Teaching Iowa History program Recognized Nationally

Since 2014, the Iowa Museum Association, an educational membership association serving all Iowa collecting and educational organizations, has been developing, piloting and implementing a program that combines the power of authentic artifacts held in museum collections with Iowa history lessons, to support Iowa educators as they implement new Iowa Social Studies Standards.

Teaching Iowa History harnesses the stewardship and educational power of museums, which care for, preserve, and document the art, history, and culture of Iowa and combines the objects in museum collections with grade-specific standard based lessons.  The project has grown to include a database of historical objects for use in illustrating lessons, as well as an ever-growing collection of lesson plans, historical essays, and links to additional instructional resource supports.

Perhaps even more impactful, is the strong partnership between Teaching Iowa History key partners that include all Iowa museums, the University of Northern Iowa, Geographic Alliance of Iowa, Iowa History Center at Simpson College, Graceland University, Iowa PBS, Iowa Department of Education, and University of Iowa Museum Studies program. 

Although the Iowa Museum Association considers Teaching Iowa History to be in its first phase of development, Teaching Iowa History resources are accessible to all at TeachingIowaHistory.com, a site hosted by Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa. The program has become a model for the museum industry and garnered national attention when it was featured in the American Alliance of Museum’s Education & Interpretation blog on September 9, 2019, in Meeting Educator Needs, Serving Museums: A Model for state museum associations.  https://www.aam-us.org/2019/09/09/meeting-educator-needs-serving-museums-a-model-for-state-museum-associations/

Teaching Iowa History Receives Award

On Tuesday, February 25, Teaching Iowa History was recognized at a ceremony during the American Alliance of Museums Advocacy Day in Washington D.C.

American Alliance of Museums President Laura Lott presented an Advocacy Leadership award to Cynthia Sweet, Director of the Iowa Museum Association, in recognition of her work as the Executive Director of the Iowa Museum Association to launch and implement the Teaching Iowa History program.

During the presentation, Lott said, "We know that museums are uniquely positioned to partner with schools and other community organizations on student learning.” Lott went on to recognize the project as a “model program in the field” calling it a “valuable educational partnership” that spotlights the “essential role of museums as core K-12 educational partners.”

Addressing an audience of almost 400 museum advocates from across the nation, Lott went on to emphasize her passion for  museums' role in formal PreK-12 education - and their unique contributions to, especially, students' learning, saying, “That's why I'm such a staunch supporter of Iowa Museum Association's Teaching Iowa History program, a super-smart, statewide project that equips K-12 educators to teach Iowa history using primary sources from the state's museums and historical societies. Teaching Iowa History raises awareness of the collections held in Iowa's museums and the important role of museums in preserving and making available primary sources of information about Iowa's people, communities, and role in the nation and in the world.  It's an exemplar of the role museums can play as core K-12 educational partners.  I am truly over-joyed to present this 2020 Advocacy Leadership Award to Cyndi Sweet, Executive Director of Iowa Museum Association for this ground-breaking work."

Sweet noted the success of the program to date is due to the support of a broad coalition of individuals and organizations, noting in particular the early contributions of Iowa Museum Association board members, then-University of Northern Iowa Public Historian Dr. Leisl Carr-Childers, and Iowa Department of Education Social Studies Consultant Stefanie Wager, in helping hone the vision for the project, and the support of Heartland Area Education Agency, which understood and supported the vision.

Sweet also noted the importance of participation by historian Dr. Thomas Morain, Graceland University, Chad Christopher, University of Northern Iowa, Dr. Chad Timm, Simpson College, Dr. Heidi Lung, University of Iowa, and Rob Green, University of Northern Iowa Web Developer III & Practicum Instructor, noting that each plays an essential role in creating the instructional resources being developed.

Sweet highlighted the participation to date by over 100 Iowa museums who have shared objects from their collections and their historical context.  As Teaching Iowa History continues to grow and develop, Sweet hopes to see museums in every Iowa county participating in the project, providing educators with easy access to information and objects to illustrate their lessons.  https://iowamuseums.pastperfectonline.com

The Teaching Iowa History program was made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, and supported in part by the State Historical Society of Iowa Historical Resource Development Program.  The program was made possible by matching funds provided by forty individuals and organizations, without whose support grant funding would not have been available.

 

The mission of the Iowa Museum Association is to work in the interests of Iowa museums to build organizational capacity, advocate to heighten awareness of the field, and foster community.

Iowa’s museums include art centers and art museums, botanical gardens, children's museums, historic sites, history museums, historical societies, living history sites, nature centers, natural history museums, planetariums, science and technology centers, and zoos.

For more information about the Iowa Museum Association, visit:

www.iowamuseums.org

https://teachingiowahistory.com

https://iowamuseums.pastperfectonline.com

August 2019 Update

 

As we begin our third and final full year of the Teaching Iowa History project we are grateful for the participation of so many Iowa museums.  With your help, we have created a database of over 750 objects that are being used to illustrate classroom lessons that meet Iowa standards.  (The database is here:  https://iowamuseums.pastperfectonline.com/ )

During this third year, our goal is for the database to grow substantially, expanding awareness of all Iowa collecting organizations and the importance of their collection to telling the story of Iowa.  When we began, my hope was that the database would contain significant artifacts, documents, and photographs from every county in Iowa.  I envisioned a database in which every Iowa teacher could find historical artifacts from a museum near them.  We're not there yet, but with your help, we can show that there are significant Iowa stories in every county in Iowa.  If your museum has not yet participated in Teaching Iowa History, you are invited to do so now.   Please contact me at Director@iowamuseums.org or call 319-239-2236.

We have a first generation website, where over 45 lesson plans are already posted.  More will be added in the coming year.  (The lesson plans and other resources are here: https://teachingiowahistory.com ) Many of the pre-service teachers who wrote the posted lessons are either student teaching or already graduated and seeking teaching positions.  Our hope is that as teachers they will remember this project and utilize museum resources  both in the classroom and as enrichment activities, as well as incorporating primary source-based lessons into their everyday teaching to meet new Social Studies standards.

In September, with the support of the Social Studies Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Education, we will begin sending a monthly newsletter to all social studies teachers.  It will raise awareness of the new standards and the support the museum community can provide as partners in education.

But the Teaching Iowa History project is so much more than "just" an opportunity to raise awareness that museums are educational partners.   It is an opportunity to share collections with the public, educators, scholars and others who cannot visit, but can learn from and enjoy the virtual collection we are creating associated with this project at  iowamuseums.pastperfectonline.com.  

It is an opportunity to show, through the database, the depth and breadth of the stewardship provided by Iowa’s museums. It is an opportunity to train university students in cataloging and research skills, learning Iowa’s history through their work on the project.  It is an opportunity to drive traffic to Iowa museums as the public connects with objects found in the database and seeks museums out to learn or see more.   Finally, it is an opportunity to show that without Iowa museums, we would not have access to these objects, photos, art, and documents that tell the story of Iowa’s people and the history of our state.

Please participate.  Through your collection and expertise, we will all learn YOUR county's Iowa history story.

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 90 museums, historical societies, and archives have contributed images of objects, art, documents, etc., from their collection, to build a database of over 750 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

The project will continue to accept images of Iowa related items from public collections for the next four semesters.  Contact:  Director@iowamuseums.org

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 - (https://teachingiowahistory.com/)

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.

July 13, 2018

Iowa Museum Association Receives HRDP Grant
State Historical Society of Iowa’s Historical Resource Development Program

CEDAR FALLS – The Iowa Museum Association (IMA) announced today that it has received a grant in the amount of $12,500 from the State Historical Society of Iowa’s Historical Resource Development Program.  This grant will support the IMA project, Teaching Iowa History.

Teaching Iowa History uses the historical assets held in trust for the public by Iowa’s museums, historical societies, archives, and other collecting organizations as primary sources in support of the development of lesson plans for use in classrooms grades K-12. A component of the Teaching Iowa History project is the development of workshops that model best practices for teaching with primary sources.  Teaching Iowa History will encourage collaboration between classroom teachers and museum professionals who can provide access to primary sources.  

The instructional resources developed through Teaching Iowa History will enable K-12 teachers to meet the new Social Studies Standards.

Teaching Iowa History will raise awareness in classrooms statewide of the collections held in Iowa's museums and their importance to preserving the historical identity and fabric of our state.  

A significant aspect of the Teaching Iowa History project is the broad partnership that has coalesced in support of the goals of the project.  In the Teaching Iowa History community of practice, each key partner brings content expertise and organizational resources that enhance the project.  Key partners invested in the development and facilitation of the project deliverables include the following organizations: The Iowa Museum Association, University of Northern Iowa, Iowa Geographic Alliance, Simpson College, Graceland University, Iowa Public Television, Iowa Department of Education, and University of Iowa Museum Studies Program. 

In addition, over sixty Iowa museum partners have to date contributed to the primary source database that will become the foundation for the lessons created.  All Iowa museums, historical societies, archives, and collecting organizations are invited to participate in Teaching Iowa History, they need not be a member of the Iowa Museum Association to participate.

Before receiving this award, Teaching Iowa History had garnered individual, non-profit, business, and national support, receiving a $60,000 matching grant from the National Endowment of Humanities and raising $12,000 from private individuals, non-profits, businesses, and other grants.

For more information on Teaching Iowa History and the Iowa Museum Association, visit https://www.iowamuseums.org or email Director@iowamuseums.org


Update and added opportunity July 4, 2018

Re: additional opportunity for highlighting your museum through this project.

 The website that is being created for this project (will be TeachingIowaHistory.com) is being designed by a very creative person at UNI, Rob Green.  He is going to include a mapping feature that will link the museums who  have resources related to each lesson plan to an Iowa map showing the location of the museum.  When someone clicks on the locator pin, the museum’s logo and link to the museum’s URL will pop up so teachers and the public can easily find the museum.  

Organizations participating in Teaching Iowa History that would like their logo and URL to pop up on the map, please send a jpg & URL to Director@iowamuseums.org

Organizations not yet participating may still do so by sending photographs of meaningful community, county, or Iowa history artifacts and a description of why they are important to Director@iowamuseums.org


Project Update April 20, 2018

Teaching Iowa History will use the historical assets held in trust for the public by Iowa’s museums, historical societies, archives, and other collecting organizations as primary sources in support of the development of lesson plans and text sets for use in classrooms grades K-12. In addition, the project will develop and facilitate professional development workshops that will model best practices for teaching with museum artifacts and connect classroom teachers with community museum professionals who can provide access to the primary resources.   

A significant aspect of the Teaching Iowa History project is the incredible partnership that has coalesced in support of the goals of the project.  In the Teaching Iowa History community of practice, each key partner brings content expertise and organizational resources that enhance the project.  Key partners invested in the development and facilitation of the project deliverables include the following organizations: The Iowa Museum Association, University of Northern Iowa, Iowa Geographic Alliance, Simpson College, Graceland University, Iowa Public Television, Iowa Department of Education, and University of Iowa Museum Studies Program.  In addition, over sixty Iowa museum partners have contributed to the primary source database that will become the foundation for the lessons and text sets created.

During this first year of the project far more than just the database is being developed. 

The project has identified 120 Iowa historians, crowd sourced a 20-page bibliography of Iowa history resources, and developed templates for lesson plans, text sets, professional development, and best practices in local history projects.  See Teaching Iowa History Project / Products for more information.

Next steps will include research and writing of instructional materials, development of instructional videos on how to teach with artifacts, and a series that will focus on artifacts and the stories they tell.  Professional development offerings will begin Summer 2018, as will the design and development of a website where the products created by this project will live.  TeachingIowaHistory.com will be an exciting landing place for educators upon completion in late 2018 or early 2019.

For more information please contact Director@iowamuseums.org


February 26, 2018
Teaching Iowa History
Project Update

 

Teaching Iowa History is a statewide project led by the Iowa Museum Association (IMA).  The IMA's initial goal was to bring about a closer working relationship between museums and schools all across Iowa, through support of the new Social Studies Standards.  Iowa’s new Social Studies Standards include teaching Iowa history in grades K-12 for the first time in over a decade.  Previously, Iowa was one of only three states in the nation that did not teach its own history.

 

Teaching Iowa History will fulfill the IMA’s initial goal and more.  To support Iowa’s educators as they teach Iowa history, the Iowa Museum Association has brought together partners to create instructional resources and professional development.  Iowa’s museums, historical societies, archives and others have been asked to participate by sharing photographs of primary sources – authentic artifacts such as photographs, documents, artifacts – and their Iowa history story.  These primary sources will be used by project partners to develop instructional resources that will be available to teachers K-12 to assist them in meeting the new Social Studies standards.

 

Teaching Iowa History launched in September 2017 with a survey of Iowa historians.  Almost 120 individuals self-identified as Iowa historians and indicated their areas of expertise.  These individuals are being called upon as questions or needs arise during the creation of instructional resources.

 

The next step in the project was to invite the participation of Iowa’s museums, historical societies and archives by sharing primary sources associated with Iowa history.  Cataloging these resources began January 8, and to date over 200 objects have been cataloged and tagged with donor institution, object era, theme, county, and the social studies standards they relate to. Cataloging during Spring semester 2018 are UNI seniors Matthew Miller and Lauren Adams.  Lauren will also assist UNI’s history education students in understanding how to use the database and begin building instructional resources.

 

Working with Stefanie Wager, Iowa Department of Education, a project committee developed several templates for use by this project and by any other interested persons – professional development, lesson plan, and text set templates have been developed to date.  Products such as these created by the Teaching Iowa History project will be posted at www.iowamuseums.org until the project’s website is launched at a later date. 

 

The mission of the Iowa Museum Association is to work in the interests of Iowa museums to build organizational capacity, advocate to heighten awareness of the field, and foster community.

 

Iowa’s museums include art centers and art museums, botanical gardens, children's museums, historic sites, history museums, historical societies, living history sites, nature centers, natural history museums, planetariums, science and technology centers, and zoos.

 

For more information about the Iowa Museum Association, visit www.iowamuseums.org

Teaching Iowa History Project Update
October 16, 2017

Thank you to all the individuals and organizations who have already supported the Teaching Iowa History project with matching fund donations and by participating in the first step - a survey of Iowa historians.

Over 100 individuals have responded so far, indicating they can help with Iowa history stories and supporting artifacts.  Our matching fund gap has decreased from $24,000 to $19,000.  Both efforts will continue - the first survey is here and matching funds are still being sought from project supporters.

We are now kicking off the next step, collecting Iowa history stories from all four corners of Iowa - stories that are supported by primary sources (artifacts, documents, photographs) - stories that will be used as the basis for instructional resources for Iowa's teachers.

These instructional resources will be created by experts - the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa History Center at Simpson College.  When complete, they will be posted on multiple websites and available free for museum or classroom use.

This is an opportunity to raise awareness in classrooms statewide of the collections held in Iowa's museums and their importance to preserving the historical identity and fabric of our state.

We will collect stories and scans & jpgs through January 2018 through this survey or you may email responses to Director@iowamuseums.org.   Please do not U.S. mail responses to the Iowa Museum Association as we need everything in electronic format for following steps.

During Spring semester 2018 University of Northern Iowa Public History students will vet content, augment it as necessary with additional primary sources, and will curate a digital database.  They may reach out for more information or additional supporting sources.

Beginning in the Fall of 2018, classes at the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa History Center at Simpson College will begin crafting instructional resources. 

Your participation will help ensure that events and individuals from all four corners of Iowa are represented in the instructional resources to be created.  If you have any questions, please contact Director@iowamuseums.org



August 2017

Iowa Museum Association (IMA) Receives National Endowment for the Humanities Grant
IMA will be reaching out to Iowa museums to participate


The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a "Creating Humanities Communities" grant to the Iowa Museum Association (IMA), a statewide organization serving all Iowa museums.   

The grant was awarded for the IMA's project entitled "Teaching Iowa History." The project will support the recommendations made by the Iowa History Advisory Council in "Recommendations to Create a Systemic Approach to Improving the Teaching and Learning of Iowa History in Iowa’s K12 Schools" (August 2016).

Teaching Iowa History will work with Iowa's museums to collect Iowa history stories and images of artifacts and primary resources.  The project will work with the University of Northern Iowa, Iowa History Center at Simpson College, and Graceland University to transform those resources into text sets and lesson plans to support teaching to the new Iowa Social Studies Standards.

Cyndi Sweet, Executive Director of the Iowa Museum Association, said "We want Iowa teachers to have access to Iowa history content and primary resources and to know what resources are available at their local museum. We will reach out to Iowa museums, and to Iowa historians, local historians, and subject matter experts statewide to work with us on this project."

Teaching Iowa History brings into partnership the members of the Iowa Museum Association, and historians and educators at the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa History Center at Simpson College to collect and vet historical content, and create teaching resources to assist teachers K-12 in meeting the new standards.  The project includes the development of a professional development template for teacher education.

Sweet said, "The University of Northern Iowa is Iowa's leading teacher education university.  They will bring institutional resources and expertise in content development, teacher preparation, and professional development that will be invaluable to the success of this project."

In addition to the University of Northern Iowa and the Iowa History Center at Simpson College, grant partners and supporters include Graceland University, the Geographic Alliance of Iowa, Iowa Public Television, The World Food Prize, Heartland Area Education Agency, the Iowa Department of Education, and a wide array of stakeholders.

Cynthia Sweet, Executive Director of the Iowa Museum Association, said, “Teaching Iowa History” will make a difference for museums, teachers, and students, providing accessible history and professional development that connects stakeholders and supports Iowa Department of Education goals.  Creating connections between public school and museum educators will enhance lessons provided in both classrooms and active learning environments and build community across Iowa history related organizations for collaboration, partnership, and student benefits.”

For more information about “Teaching Iowa History”, visit www.iowamuseums.org or contact the Iowa Museum Association at email: Director@iowamuseums.org.  

The Iowa Museum Association's “Teaching Iowa History" project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by the project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.