Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

The heavily agricultural Iowa lies in the American Midwest. Siouan-speaking indigenous peoples formerly predominated but by the 17th century were being pushed out of eastern areas by incoming Algonquian-speaking groups. European explorers entered Iowa in the late 17th century, with France claiming ownership before selling the area to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. European Americans began to establish permanent settlements in the 1830s, driving out the indigenous peoples largely through treaties and land purchases. In 1846, Iowa became the 29th state of the Union. Today, the state has over 2000 listings on the National Register of Historic Places and 27 National Historic Landmarks.

Archaeology & History Sites in Iowa

Effigy Mounds National Monument

Located along the Upper Mississippi River Valley, the Effigy Mounds National Monument comprises over 200 earthen tumuli erected by indigenous populations of the area. Many of these mounds are shaped like animals, such as bears and birds; the largest is the Great Bear Mound. Various Native communities living in Iowa regard the mounds as sacred. A visitor’s centre explains more about the heritage of the site and the people who built them.

Museums & Art Galleries in Iowa

African American Museum of Iowa

The African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids showcases the heritage of black Americans living in the Hawkeye State. The museum was established in 1994 and opened at its purpose-built premises in 2003, although was heavily damaged in a 2008 flood. Topics covered include the period of enslavement, the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement. Various special events and temporary exhibits take place throughout the year.