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Lot of things planned to celebrates Iowa’s 175th birthday

DES MOINES — Iowa will celebrate the 175th anniversary of becoming a state in December of this year and the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs has several things planned to celebrate on the way to that date.

Department spokesman Michael Morain says they looked back on what  President James Polk wrote in his diary the day he signed the bill making Iowa a state.

“President Polk wrote in his journal ‘nothing much happened today.’ Which is not great,” Morain says. ” But I can tell you that Iowans have been proving him wrong for the last 175 years.” He says they hope to give everyone a look at some of the key events and people in the state’s history.

He says they have a whole catalog of online history presentations offered by the State Historical Society of Iowa that start on Thursdays.  This Thursday, January 14th is the first presentation and they will continue with a variety of topics. There is also a history book club.

“We’ll take a look at a book called…’Iowa: The Middle Land’ by Dorothy Schwieder, the late great historian from Iowa State. And that is really if you read one book about Iowa history, this gives a broad overview of history with a lot of interesting stories that even life-long Iowans might not know,” according to Morain.  He says they have tried to provide activities that people of all ages can do.

He says there’s a collection of things people can download and do at home — and he says the State Historical Museum is still open and you can visit.  A special 175th-anniversary exhibition called “Iowa’s People & Places” will open on March 5th at the State Historical Museum.

“Iowa History Month always rolls around in March — so we’ll be ramping up extra programs during March — including a special exhibit that’ll take a broad look at the people and places of Iowa over the last 175 years. So, that is a pretty broad scene,” Morain says.   Morain says it’s amazing the impact Iowa has had since becoming a state.

“There are remarkable stories of Iowans who have shaped not only our state and our country, but the world. There’s an Iowa connection to almost everything if you dig under the surface a little bit,” he says.

To learn more about the programs celebrating Iowa becoming a state — go to

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