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.


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.

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!


Who Was Maya Angelou – A Virtual Story Time

In place of our planned April Who Was program, we have created this virtual story time that you can watch at home! Listen to Ava Challenger read Who Was Maya Angelou?, explore one of Angelou’s famous poems, and follow along with a guide to make your own poetry collage at home!