Explore Iowa History

Discover the people, places, events, and ideas of Iowa history. Explore hundreds of articles, images, videos and websites. Create your own story of Iowa as you go to unexpected places and search the past and present. Travel down side trails and uncover artifacts as you explore your Iowa pathway.
Iowa Pathways is an online learning environment that challenges students to create their own story of the state as they explore the people, places, events and ideas of Iowa. This award-winning Web site helps students choose topics that interest them, build research questions and examine relationships among Iowa concepts—past to present.
What is your Iowa story? Find your Iowa pathway
1881 Railroad Map of Iowa
The story of Iowa started long before people ever lived on the land. Earthquakes, volcanoes, floods and ice helped form the landscape of this area for over 1 billion years. Nomadic people roamed what...
Combine harvesting an Iowa farm field
People all over the world depend on Iowa’s farm products and innovative ideas. Explore the rich story of agriculture in Iowa.
Exterior of J.W. Witmer & Company Insurance with personnel posing in front. Insurance has been a major industry In Iowa since the early 1800s. Des Moines, Iowa. ca.1885.
From grist mills and button factories to data centers and insurance services, discover how Iowa workers have adapted to new ideas.
An 1880 view of the construction of the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines.
Explore how the laws and government services we have today developed over time. In what ways does government in Iowa impact your life?
Farm family picking tomatoes. Warren County, 1945.
For thousands of years, people have brought unique cultures and traditions to the area now known as Iowa. Discover how their experiences tell the story of who we are as Iowans.
An Iowa soldier, part of the 34th Division, looking through binoculars in North Africa in 1943.
Learn about the wars in which Iowans have participated. Explore how war has affected the lives of Iowans—both on the battlefield and at home.
Car stuck in muddy road. ca. 1920.
From moving goods and people by foot—to steamboats, railroads, modern highways and air travel—discover how Iowa’s transportation systems have changed the way we move around.
Interior view of the Bear Creek Township School showing class in session. Brooklyn, Iowa. ca. 1893.
Learning new ideas has always been important to Iowans. Explore how schools have changed over time.
Main street in Forest City in the early 1900s.
Discover how changes in communities tell the story of the people, ideas and industries of the state.
Keokuk's annual bald eagle appreciation days
Explore Iowa’s natural history and how the environment continues to be part of our Iowa story.
Grant Wood paints while two people look over his shoulder.
Examine the cultural traditions and artifacts of Iowa that make us "Iowans."

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State Historical Society of Iowa