History Adventures Online – Underground Railroad

Join Abby and Sophie this week to learn about the Underground Railroad! Explore the lives of Harriet Tubman and Charlotta Pyles, who helped people escape slavery while living in Iowa. Click the image below to download a printable worksheet with activities that will let you dive deeper into this important history.

Underground Railroad Worksheet image

History Adventures Online – Eyes on the Sky

African American pilot Bessie Coleman said, “The air is the only place free from prejudice.” At the dawn of the 20th century, aviation was new to the world and pilots Bessie Coleman and William J. Powell used flying to dispel discrimination. Learn about these two pioneering aviators and explore the ideas of flight with a craft and testing paper airplanes.

Download this week’s lesson plan for instructions on folding paper airplanes.


Reopening Survey

History Adventures Online – Chemistry Connections

In this week’s History Adventures program you’ll get to learn about George Washington Carver and his contributions to science. After the history lesson, Sophie and Abby will lead you through a hands-on chemistry activity: making homemade ice cream!

Homemade Ice Cream Ingredients & Materials:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (heavy cream)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla flavoring (vanillin)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sodium chloride (NaCl) as table salt or rock salt
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1-quart ZiplocTM bag
  • 1-gallon ZiplocTM bag
  • thermometer (Optional if you don’t have one)
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • dish towel
  • cups and spoons for eating your treat!


  1. Add 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup whipping cream, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla to the quart ziplocTM bag. Seal the bag securely. 
  2. Put 2 cups of ice into the gallon ziplocTM bag. 
  3. Use a thermometer to measure and record the temperature of the ice in the gallon bag. (Optional?)
  4. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup salt (sodium chloride) to the bag of ice. 
  5. Place the sealed quart bag inside the gallon bag of ice and salt. Seal the gallon bag securely. 
  6. Gently rock the gallon bag from side to side. It’s best to hold it by the top seal or to have gloves or a dish cloth between the bag and your hands because the bag will be cold enough to damage your skin. 
  7. Continue to rock the bag for 10-15 minutes or until the contents of the quart bag have solidified into ice cream. *Voice over explanation here*
  8. Open the gallon bag and use the thermometer to measure and record the temperature of the ice/salt mixture. (Optional?)
  9. Remove the quart bag, open it, serve the contents into cups with spoons and ENJOY!

History Adventures Online – Super Soaked

Learn about Lonnie Johnson, inventor of the Super Soaker! After AAMI education interns Sophie and Abby lead a history lesson, they’ll show you how to make your own simple water sprayer using a plastic water bottle and a thumbtack*. After you learn about the science behind the Super Soaker, you’ll have a chance to have your own water fight outside!

*Adult supervision is recommended for this activity.

Reopening Announcement

The African American Museum of Iowa is excited to announce that our doors will reopen to the public on July 10. At the time of our reopening, we will be hosting the Smithsonian traveling exhibit Voices and Votes in partnership with the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District and the National Czech and Slovak Museum. As we prepare for reopening, we would like to make visitors aware of details that will help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Information for Planning Your Visit

  • All visitors over the age of two will be required to wear a mask when inside the Museum. If you do not comply with this guideline, you will be asked to leave. This requirement does not apply to individuals who are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition.
  • The Museum will be open with limited hours until further notice:
    • Fridays from 12 PM to 6 PM
    • Saturdays from 10 AM to 4 PM
  • Capacities will be limited in all areas of the AAMI building. Please be aware that you may have to wait outside or in our lobby before entering the exhibits.
  • Visitors are encouraged to set up a contactless pay method on their smart phones, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay. If you are unable to use one of these options, please use a card payment or use exact change when paying with cash.
  • Group size will be limited to six visitors and all visitors will be required to maintain a distance of six feet from those not in their group when inside the Museum building.
  • Some of our hands-on activities have been removed or modified. Please enjoy the rest of our exhibits at your own discretion, and thank you for your understanding.

Full visitor details can be found here.

Additional Information

If you have any questions about visiting the Museum during this initial phase of reopening, please use our contact form or call 319-862-2101 during our open hours. For more more details about our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please read our response page.

Our regular admission fees will continue to be in place during this time. Discount admission for SNAP benefit recipients is available through our Museums for All partnership, and limited free passes will be available through the Adventure Pass program for card holders of select Iowa public libraries.

History Adventures Online – Expressions of Black Art

This year we are taking our History Adventures program virtual! This annual summer program provides opportunities for students to keep learning over the summer by engaging with topics from Black history. Each Wednesday through August 12 we will post a video made by AAMI education interns Abigail Kraft and Sophie Pionek featuring stories from history and activities that families can do at home.

This week’s History Adventures Online video is all about Black art! Watch to learn the stories of a few important Black artists and make some art of your own. Share photos of the art you make while watching this video by tagging our Facebook page or @BlackIowa on Twitter and Instagram.

Easy Craft: Juneteenth Flag

Did you know that there is a special flag to celebrate the holiday Juneteenth? This holiday marks the day that the last enslaved people in the United States learned of their freedom after the Civil War. The design of the flag was first drafted in 1997. It includes the colors red, white, and blue of the US flag and star representing the star of Texas with a border representing the star “bursting with new freedom” in honor of the June 19, 1865 proclamation of freedom that was made in Galveston, Texas. You can celebrate Juneteenth at home by making your own Juneteenth flag using paper and glue!

Parents, get started by downloading and printing the craft template.

To get started you will need three pieces of paper (red, white, and blue), scissors, and glue. After printing out the template, cut it out so that you have the waving flag piece, the star, and the star outline.

Using the template, trace and cut out one piece of blue paper and one piece of red paper to resemble a waving flag.

After the pieces are cut out, glue them together so that they overlap slightly. The blue piece is the top of the flag.


After gluing together the red and blue pieces, glue on the star and the star outline.

You now have a waving Juneteenth flag that you can display at home!

Parents, we would love to see the final craft! Share your photo on social media and tag the African American Museum of Iowa (@BlackIowa) and use #JuneteenthAtHome. Happy crafting!


Unwavering Virtual Writing Project