New Online Resource Brings Iowa History to Teachers/Students

Iowa history article 1

A video of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s 1959 visit to Coon Rapids at the height of the Cold War.

The neatly typed script President Herbert Hoover used during his 1929 inaugural address, slightly wrinkled by the rain that doused the ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

Sheet music and an audio recording of a 1915 song called “Don’t Bite the Hand That’s Feeding You,” which urged immigrants to stay loyal to the United States during World War I.

These eye-opening documents – and dozens more –  are now available to teachers, students and lifelong learners thanks to a new free online resource.

“We’re eager to give people a new tool to dig deeper into the past,” said State Historical Society of Iowa Administrator Susan Kloewer. “These multimedia documents bring history to life in ways that even the best textbooks simply can’t.”

The primary source sets, as they’re called, will be particularly useful for Iowa teachers, who have been asked to incorporate Iowa history at all grade levels by 2020. The requirement is part of a new set of social studies standards the Iowa State Board of Education recently adopted.

As part of a grant from the Teaching with Primary Sources Program from the Library of Congress, the State Historical Museum has launched primary source sets to support Iowa’s new social studies standards. Topics include immigration, Buxton, Iowa geography, the underground railroad in Iowa, the Cold War, and many more. More sets will be launched the next two years.

“We designed this new resource to be clear and easy to use for teachers so that they’re well-positioned to provide an engaging classroom experience for their students,” said Stefanie Wager, the social studies consultant for the Iowa Department of Education.

Iowa history article 2