Bring African American history to your school, library, museum, or business with classroom resource such as a traveling exhibit from the African American Museum of Iowa.

What are Traveling Exhibits?

Our traveling exhibits are sets of free-standing, informational banners that relate to a specific topic in Iowa’s African American history. The exhibits are light, portable, and easy to install.

Available Exhibits

Find a traveling exhibit to fit your needs and interests.

Suspended: Systemic Oppression in Our Schools

Examine the role public schools play in funneling students into the prison system in Suspended: Systemic Oppression in our Schools, an original exhibition developed by the African American Museum of Iowa. Elements of the criminal justice system have entered public schools around the country, resulting in zero tolerance policies and student policing that disproportionately effect children of color.

This expo-grade traveling exhibit features three 8’x8′ double sided panels.

NEW! Mapping Exclusion: Redlining in Iowa

One of our most popular and impactful exhibits is coming soon to traveling form! Mapping Exclusion: Redlining in Iowa explores the impact of housing discrimination and segregation in the state. Redlining – the systematic denial of services by government agencies and the private sector to residents of specific neighborhoods – impacted black populations in seven Iowa cities: Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Dubuque, Davenport, Des Moines, and Waterloo. This practice led to urban segregated neighborhoods and poor housing conditions. The lasting impacts of these practices are evident in the racial wealth gap and police violence seen today.

Behind the Beat

Explore the development of African American music from its roots in Africa to modern-day hip-hop. This exhibit is based on the AAMI’s 2014-2015 temporary exhibit.

Iowa Civil Rights

Explore the struggles and triumphs of the fight for equal rights. Featured individuals include Alexander Clark, the man who helped desegregate Iowa schools in 1868, and Edna Griffin, the woman who led sit-ins at the Katz Drugstore in Des Moines in 1948.

Iowa Roots, Global Impact: The Life and Legacy of George Washington Carver

Gain insight into the life of acclaimed scientist George Washington Carver. Follow along from his days as a student at Simpson College and Iowa State University to his groundbreaking work with soybeans, sweet potatoes, peanuts, and other crops at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

No Roads Lead to Buxton

Step back in time to Buxton, an early 20th century coal-mining town once referred to as “the black man’s utopia in Iowa.” Buxton, which existed for only two decades at the turn of the century, was one of the few communities in Iowa’s history with a majority African American population.

The Only One

Uncover what it’s like to be an African American in Iowa through stories and photographs from everyday Iowans and famous residents. This traveling exhibit is based on a 2012 exhibit presented by the AAMI and the Johnson County Historical Society.

Products of a Creative Mind

Get to know African American inventors and innovators who have impacted the ways we eat, move, live, and stay healthy. This exhibit is based on the AAMI’s 2015-2016 temporary exhibit.

Riding the Freedom Train: The Underground Railroad in Iowa

Follow Iowa’s Underground Railroad routes and read stories about the safe houses, communities, and brave individuals who took their lives in their hands on a journey to freedom.

Unconditional Loyalty: The Military Service of African Americans

Learn about African American military heroes and heroines from the Revolutionary War to today. Topics include Iowa’s 60th U.S. Colored Troops from the Civil War, the Buffalo Soldiers, women in the military, World War I training camps in Iowa, and the Tuskegee Airmen.

Western Africa: Before the Boats

Investigate climate and agriculture, craftsmanship, and culture in 1500s and 1600s Western Africa through a traveling exhibit that answers the question “What was Africa like before the transatlantic slave trade?”

How Do Traveling Exhibits Work?

Traveling exhibits are available to schools, libraries, museums, organizations and businesses across Iowa.

Leasing Period

Traveling exhibits may be requested for a maximum of 2 weeks (14 consecutive days, Suspended for up to 6 months) including pickup, return, and/or shipping unless otherwise stated by the AAMI. This period may be shortened due to availability, prior requests, and availability of transport/delivery. All reservations are on a first come, first served basis.


Traditional exhibits can be reserved for $50.00. Suspended can be reserved for $250.00. This fee is required to support the repair and upkeep of the exhibits. As the borrower, you will also be responsible for picking up and returning the traveling exhibit or for all shipping costs, materials, and insurance. In the event that neither pick up and return nor shipping are possible, an AAMI staff member or affiliate can deliver and pick up the exhibit at a cost of $0.50 per mile, round-trip, pending availability.


Normal wear and tear of traveling exhibits is expected. However, if damages beyond expected wear and tear occur during the leasing period, the borrower is liable for all costs related to those damages.


Instructions are provided in the rental contract. Exhibits consists of 3-5 banners depending on topic with each banner standing about 72″ tall and about 33.5″ wide. Suspended consists of three 8’x8′ double sided panels.

    Request a Traveling Exhibit

    Address of Institution Where Exhibit Will be Displayed

    Method of Transportation

    I or a representative will personally pick up and personally return the exhibit to the AAMI.I or a representative will personally pick up the exhibit and I will ship it back to the AAMI.I would like the AAMI to ship me the Exhibit and I or a representative will personally return it.I would like the AAMI to ship me the exhibit and I will ship it back to the AAMI.

    Billing Address (If Different than Display Info)