Des Moines Register
Today is Iowa’s 175th birthday.
President James K. Polk signed the bill making Iowa the 29th state on Dec. 28, 1846.
At the time, Iowa’s population was estimated at 96,000 people. Now, there are nearly 3.2 million Iowans.
Here are some ways to celebrate the state’s sesquicentennial:
Tour the State Historical Museum
On the state’s anniversary day, Dec. 28, State Curator Leo Landis will lead two 45-minute tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. of the “Iowa’s People & Places” exhibition at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, 600 E. Locust St., Des Moines.
The exhibition traces Iowa’s history from its earliest settlements to today. Tours are free and open to all ages, but registration is required. Go to www.iowaculture.gov/iowa175 for more information.
Other 175th anniversary activities
Go to www.iowaculture.gov/iowa175 to learn about other programs conducted by the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. A partner toolkit is available for Iowans who want to host a 175th anniversary event in their communities. Check out the activities for children, or learn how you can submit a selfie, join a book club, participate in webinars or take in Iowa-related movies.
Test yourself on your Iowa knowledge. The Des Moines Register arranged a quiz that involves questions about horses, meteors, train heists, cheese and more. Prove yourself at DesMoinesRegister.com/HistoryQuiz.
Cook up some Iowa victuals. These Hawkeye specials may seem odd to others, but chili with cinnamon rolls, Snickers salad and pickle wraps taste like home to many Iowans. Find other Iowa foods here: https://bit.ly/Iowafoods.
Read essays by distinguished Iowans on their reflections on the state’s birthday. You can find them at https://bit.ly/Iowaessays.
“From Iowa’s tulip fields to its famous fields of dreams, covered bridges to covered wagons, there’s something for everyone here. Iowa is an amazing state, with everything from American castles to classic barns, cornfields to Quaker Oats, the National Czech and Slovak Museum to the Mother Mosque of America,” wrote Taha Tawil, imam and director of the Mother Mosque of America, in one of the essays.
Last, here’s your family debate prompt for the anniversary: Are Iowans really Iowa nice? Fifty-eight percent of Iowa adults told the Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll they thought so. Do you agree?