State Launches Virtual Primary Source Collection Of Iowa, US History

Aug 7, 2017

A new online collection of primary source materials from Iowa and U.S. history is up and running as of today. The Primary Source Sets contain 174 items, including photographs, maps, audio recordings and documents.

The online collection was created for K-12 educators who are now required to teach Iowa history as part of their curriculums, though anyone can access the materials.

People gather in downtown Des Moines in Sept. 23, 1959 to greet Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. This photo is part of a new online collection of primary source documents about Iowa history.
Credit Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Jennifer Cooley, from the State Historical Museum of Iowa, says primary sources help students to be more active in their learning.

"Whether it’s looking more closely at photograph and noticing all the small details, and then relating that back to what they already know about that time period. Or a teacher can use that to introduce what he or she is going to be talking about in the classroom," she explains. "[It] kind of brings history home, so to speak, for the students. Makes it more personal for them." 

The virtual collection was created through a $100,000 grant from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program. Pending congressional action, the project will eventually receive a total of $300,000. 

As more funding comes in, Cooley says the project will expand.