The Iowa Jewish Historical Society is Temporarily Closed
To keep our visitors and staff safe during this public health emergency, the Iowa Jewish Historical Society will be closed until further notice.
You may want to use this unexpected time at home to learn about the history of the Jewish people in Iowa through the resources on these web pages. You can:
- Browse through thousands of artifacts in our collection
- Listen to new virtual programs: Yom HaShoah and Beyond and a new series Iowa Liberators Witness the Holocaust
- Watch presentations by Celina Karp Biniaz, one of the last living survivors from Schindler’s list and the only one who graduated from North High School and Grinnell College
- Send us information on how you and your family celebrated Passover in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic
And our staff is available to help with research questions or questions about possible artifacts that you may wish to donate. Stay tuned to this web page for further updates.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.