Renovations Underway at State Historical Building of Iowa

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Representatives from the Historical Museum of Iowa say there were problems with the building’s infrastructure from the get-go. Now after 32 years, the museum is getting an upgrade.

“There are all kinds of stories you can learn here at the hub of Iowa history,” the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Communications Manager Michael Morain said.

There are thousands of stories all protected by a leaky, glass roof, so the building is making some changes.

“We’re going to build out the roof and then build a window wall, so instead of horizontal glass skylights, it will be a more traditional roof and vertical windows which will help prevent some of the leaks that have been plaguing the building for years,” Morain said.

The first step is gently landing the three historic planes in the atrium.

“Specialized movers from Chicago are coming in to help us lower those planes and disassemble them and tuck them away in temporary storage to make way for the renovations,” Morain said. “We are also moving the famous globe that’s in the atrium. This is the big globe that used to be in the lobby of the Des Moines Register building.”

Another part of the project is upgrading the research center.

“With new digital tools and new accessibility to really make it useful for the folks who come in,” Morain said.

The project is being funded through the Iowa Legislature.

“The legislature has appropriated about $6.6 million from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund, the RIF Fund, and then kicked in an additional $1 million for this project so this phase will cost about $7.5 million,” Morain said.

Renovations are already underway, and even though the project will not be complete until the summer of 2020, the museum will stay open and free to the public the entire time.


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