Bring Iowa’s African American history to life with a wide variety of programs for preschool, elementary and middle school-age children.

Traveling Trunks

Supplement your classroom or home school curriculum with a traveling trunk from the African American Museum of Iowa. See our list of traveling trunks.

Hands-On Workshops

Schedule a hands-on workshop with our museum educator at your school, child care center, church, library or other community location. Count on us for an engaging, age-appropriate lesson covering local African American history and/or culture.

The Museum offers off-site workshops for groups of 30 at a basic cost of $100 (activities with additional supplies will increase the cost).  Mileage is also charged at $0.39 per mile.

On-site workshops MUST be part of an exhibit tour (guided or self-guided) and is an additional $1 per student.

Review our list of programs below to request a workshop.

Learning Safari (PreK–Grade 2)

Each Learning Safari program is 30 minutes. It includes a book or story and hands-on activity.

  • Celebrating Kwanzaa — Learn about the African American celebration of family and togetherness, Kwanzaa!  Learn a bit of Swahili, practice counting and colors, and create decorative items.
  • Eat Your Way Through Africa — Learn about all kinds of foods grown in Africa that we enjoy on a regular basis here in Iowa.
  • Fun with Gourds —Talk about the many ways people in Western Africa used gourds, and then decorate your own gourd.
  • Martin’s Big Words —Who was Dr. King? Why do people today still think his words are so important? Work together to create a project to keep Dr. King’s dream alive while learning cooperation and service.
  • Rainbow of Faces — Discuss multiculturalism and diversity through food. Our story compares children’s skin colors to caramel, peaches and espresso to prepare us for making a self-portrait of our own.
  • Spring Planting with Carver — George Washington Carver loved plants! Learn about Carver and plant seeds to grow at home!
  • Superheroes of Science —Learn about three African American scientists who made life better for everyone, and then create a hero’s collage that shows what makes a superhero.

Student Workshops (Grades 3–8)

Dig into African American history and culture with workshops that can be adapted for students in grades three through eight. Students will have opportunities to write, think, answer questions, and make connections.

  • Behind the Beat —Explore African American history through music, from the African beats brought to the colonies during slavery, to spirituals used to communicate on the plantation, to the jazz of the Harlem Renaissance, to the popular music of the Civil Rights movement.
  • Dr. Carver’s Lab — George Washington Carver considered himself a “cookstove chemist,” using household materials to complete most of his experiments. Hear about Dr. Carver’s accomplishments, and then assist with some cookstove experiments of your own.
  • Iowa’s Underground Railroad — You won’t find Harriet Tubman in this workshop. It’s all about Iowa’s Underground Railroad. Learn common Underground Railroad codes and discover how to navigate using the stars as you learn about those that made a daring escape from slavery.
  • Painting Like a Pro — Art and science are two sides of the same coin. Learn about scientists like George Washington Carver and Percy Julian who dabbled in paint manufacturing, check out various African American painters and sculptors, and make a small artistic creation of your own.
  • Superheros of Science — African Americans have been inventing and innovating in a variety of fields, including science and medicine. Get to know three amazing inventors, innovators and scientists and the impact of their work.

Request a Youth Program