Current Exhibit

Explore the history of African American migration to Iowa from the end of the Civil War to the Great Depression. Immerse yourself in the history of Iowa and the stories and events that brought African Americans to the state. “Driven By Hope” provides a deeper understanding of the economic, social, and political issues of the American South that pushed African Americans North and the issues migrants faced when establishing themselves in Iowa. You’ll also hear stories from modern migrants and immigrants to Iowa and learn how the struggles they’ve faced can be traced to post-Civil War America.

Open September 8, 2018 through August 2, 2019.


Coming Soon

Opening September 7

Explore the cultural and historical roots of beauty ideals surrounding African American hair, from the historical effects of slavery and colonialism, to modern issues of cultural appropriation and backlash against natural hairstyles in the workplace. Visitors will have the opportunity to engage with Iowa’s African American history through oral histories from local hairstylists, hands on interactives, and curated objects from beauty schools and salons across the state.