ia: The best of Iowa arts and culture
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Produced in partnership with the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
Located near Rathbun Lake in south-central Iowa, this private chapel is featured on the cover of our latest ia magazine. Photo: Cameron Campbell.


Yes, you read that right. The newest edition of ia magazine is out both in print and online. We're excited for you to read all the stories and view the beautiful photos. One of our favorite pieces is this feature on Iowa's plein air artists. You'll also find stories on this stunning home on West Okoboji Lake, one of the Iowa's first Black-owned bookstores, and five new restaurants around the state worth the drive. Enjoy!
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A new database from the State Historical Society of Iowa features historic records, photos, documents and more.
Photo: State Historical Society of Iowa.


Writer: Michael Morain
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

Say, now, where did your great-great-grandmother grow up? And why did her sister move to Waterloo? And wasn’t she the one who made that rhubarb jam?

Every family has its mysteries. But now, some clues are easier to find.

Just in time for October, which is Family History Month, the State Historical Society of Iowa has unveiled a unified, user-friendly online catalog that provides greater access to more than 200 million pieces of Iowa history. That includes genealogical records, historical documents and artifacts, newspapers and images—available to anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world.

The new Iowa History Collections Catalog culminates a multiyear effort to increase public access to materials from the society’s museum, historical libraries, state archives and special collections.

"This is a breakthrough moment for public accessibility," State Historical Society of Iowa Administrator Susan Kloewer says. "Thanks to the dedication of our staff, Iowans can now follow their curiosity and explore our state’s fascinating history more easily than ever before."

By the way, a keyword search for "rhubarb" turns up eight results, including three tiny bottles of rhubarb extract and a memoir called "Growing Up With Pid, Bud, Boo, Rhubarb and Dump Nose: Life in a Small Midwestern Town."

The possibilities are endless.
Get out on the water even when the temps start to dip. You’ll need to bring your own boat after Labor Day.
Photo: Vacation Okoboji.


Writer: Lisa Holderness Brown

If summer’s the life of the party in Okoboji, then fall is the candlelight dinner—serene, relaxing and intimate. The full-throttle bustle is gone, the daylight’s more fleeting, and the chain of five interconnected, glacier-carved lakes reflects the glowing autumnal colors in the lulled waters. Locals admit these days are a best-kept secret. The playing is far from over and the sunsets are some of the year’s most dramatic.

While some of the shops, restaurants and attractions close after the summer season, including Arnolds Park Amusement Park, there’s still plenty of shopping, dining and outdoor adventures to discover. Now’s the time to put a getaway on the calendar. We’ve done the planning for you, with a Boji-bests fall weekend itinerary that will appeal to both families and adults-only travelers.

Read our weekend guide to Okoboji here.
Take in fall colors on a cruise along the Mississippi River. Photo: Travel Iowa


We're right in the middle of peak fall color, so there's not a better time to take off on a Fall Foliage Cruise from Celebration Belle in eastern Iowa. Tours, which take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on various days throughout the next few weeks, begin in Moline, Illinois, Clinton and Muscatine, depending on your selection.

Along the way, you can enjoy music and a lunch buffet and take in the picturesque views of orange and yellow leaves. Ticket prices begin at $65.95. Find more information here.
Flip through The Annals of Iowa publication in this video from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.


You already know you can find the latest news about Iowa right here in ia.

For the long view, though, there’s no better source than The Annals of Iowa. The State Historical Society of Iowa’s flagship journal first rolled off the press in 1863 and has chronicled Iowans’ various deeds and misdeeds ever since.

The current issue, which was released this month, celebrates Iowa’s 175th statehood anniversary with a mix of thought-provoking essays by leading historians, plus 17 original works of Iowa-inspired art by creators from across the state.

The cover photo, for example, features wild roses, oak leaves and a geode–all state symbols. (Read our profile of the photographer, Molly Wood of Des Moines.) Inside, the essays explore agriculture, race, education, gender and more, from Iowa’s pre-state history through the present.

"We’re taking this moment, this 175th anniversary, as a milestone moment to take a breath and see where we’ve gone and to chart a course for the future," the journal’s editor, Andrew Klumpp, said.

To subscribe, order the current or previous editions in print or read digitized issues, visit
Ila Plasencia (left), Henry Vargas and Mary Campos were the first inductees into the Iowa Latino Hall of Fame in 2017. The 2021 celebration this weekend will induct the fifth class. Photo: Iowa Latino Hall of Fame.


Six people will be inducted into the Iowa Latino Hall of Fame at a virtual event at 6 p.m. Saturday. The ceremony, which will be broadcast via the Iowa Department of Human Rights Facebook page, recognizes contributions in social and racial justice, communications, fair wages, journalism, and human rights.

Honorees include:

  • Elizabeth Bernal, Iowa City, involved in several organizations assisting immigrants.
  • Marcela Hurtado, Iowa City, co-founder of the Center for Workers Justice of Eastern Iowa.
  • Dr. Lorenzo Jasso, Des Moines (posthumous), one of the first Latino school principals in the Des Moines School District.
  • Nixson Benitz, Des Moines, journalist and student.
  • Itzel Padron Zuniga, Des Moines, researcher and program facilitator at Al Éxito and mental health advocate.
  • Juan Manuel Galvez, North Liberty, owner of the El Trueque Iowa magazine and founder of the Iowa City Latino Festival.
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