Museum Interior

Iowa Jewish Historical Society

Founded in 1996 as part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, the Iowa Jewish Historical Society (IJHS) is an award-winning organization that collects, preserves and educates audiences of all ages and backgrounds about the history of the Jewish people in Iowa. Over the course of the Society’s 20-year history, we’ve shared Iowa’s Jewish heritage with thousands of students, families, community members, and researchers.


Special Project

The Iowa Jewish Historical Society is collecting videos, pictures, and statements about how Jewish Iowans are conducting Seders during this time of quarantine and self-isolation. Please consider submitting to this historical record.


Classroom at the Museum

Visit the Museum

Our museum in Waukee, Iowa features educational exhibits, programs, and special events that attract local, state, and regional audiences. Exhibits and programs focus on all aspects of Jewish life and history in Iowa. Each is designed to deepen a visitor’s understanding of Jewish history and culture for Jewish and non-Jewish audiences. Learn more about our location, hours and scheduling a visit.

Caspe Gallery

Explore the Collection

The IJHS collection is an important part of the cultural history of Iowa and the key to understanding the contributions Jewish Iowans have made across the centuries. Since the 1830s, Jews have inhabited more than 100 cities and towns across the state, running successful businesses, raising families, and leaving their mark on Iowa history. See what’s in our collection, including Jewish oral histories.

Students at the Gallery

Support the Iowa Jewish Historical Society

As we continue to celebrate our 20th anniversary, the IJHS needs your support more than ever to make our growing collection of artifacts more accessible and to ensure that they are securely preserved. You can help by becoming a member and making a donation today.