Principia School / Flickr

There's more than a century between the candidacies of William Jennings Bryan and Bernie Sanders, but history is still repeating itself when it comes to the elections of 1900 and 2016.

"The Industrial Revolution was creating that same gap that the technological revolution has expanded. There was a sense of dizzying inventions that were being made, that the pace of life was speeding up. People were moving from the farm to the city, so it was a disorienting age much like our own. So that was really the spur for the populist movement."

Daniel Hartwig / Flickr

In Iowa, state-specific history is taught in fourth grade. For most Iowans, that's the last they'll learn about their state's past. Tom Morain, Director of Government Relations at Graceland University and former head of State Historical Society of Iowa, is working to change that. He's developed a curriculum, an online course he's dubbed Iowa 101, that anyone, anywhere in or out of state, can access and participate in.

What makes Iowa, Iowa?  How did we get to be ‘us?’ These are questions that Michael Luick-Thrams, of the TRACES Center for History and Culture based in Mason City, set out to answer. 

"I grew up in a very different Iowa. Iowa has changed," he says. "Moving forward, there will be more changes, and the questions is 'how thoughtful will it be?'" 

Fourth Wall Films

U.S. Highway 6 runs from California to Massachusetts, the longest of all highways.  It has traversed Iowa in one form or another since about 1910, when parts of it were made from wooden planks.  We don't sing songs about Route 6 and it doesn't carry the historical mystique of the Lincoln Highway, but it's a road with a fascinating history and many associated stories from over the decades.

Photo by John Pemble

Small science fiction booklets created by amateurs in the 1930s gave birth to the independent publication known as zines or fanzines. The University of Iowa special collections department is storing thousands of rare zines, which are now are in the process of being digitized for the first time.  They are stored in a secure area of the University of Iowa libraries where the ceiling lights have special filters to prevent damage to priceless documents.

John Pemble

Forty years ago, the U.S. withdrew its last troops from Vietnam, marking the end of what was then America’s longest and most wrenching war.

On this edition of River to River, four Iowa veterans reflect on their time in Vietnam.

Dan Gannon, Roger Elliott, Ron Langel, and Caesar Smith join the program to share their experiences as medics, repairmen, career soldiers, and draftees. Host Ben Kieffer talks with them about post-traumatic stress disorder, what it was like to come home to those not in support of the war, and how they have viewed military conflicts since.

PaulAdamsPhotography / flickr

The history of Iowa isn't flashy, but the state is home to many fascinating stories and hidden treasures.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with Jessica Rundlett of the Iowa State Historical Society to learn about some of Iowa's most interesting hidden gems. Rundlett helped create the new Iowa Culture Mobile App, that can act as your guide on a road trip or reveal some of the historical treasures around at any given time.

Iowa Public Radio / Clay Masters

CLAY MASTERS: Last October we brought you the story of $3 million worth of illegal construction productions at one of the nation’s most sacred Native American burial grounds. And it happened under the watch of the National Park Service.

Now this we’re talking about is Effigy Mounds. It’s up in northeast Iowa. And new evidence shows that the National Park Service has covered up a report on the Effigy Mounds scandal.

Ryan Foley is with me. He’s a reporter with the Associated Press here in Iowa. Hello Ryan.

RYAN FOLEY: Hello Clay.

Jasperdo / Flickr

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government incarcerated 110,000 Japanese Americans in interment camps. When the war ended and those Americans were allowed to go home, the thousands of barracks that they called home were left behind. The government sold them to any one who could move them, often for just a dollar a piece.

Guimir / Wikimedia Commons

There's more to Madison County than covered bridges, and some significant historical preservation work will be on display at the Preserve Iowa Summit later this month.

Photo by Christopher Gannon

When Iowa history is taught the focus is usually on settlement and early statehood, but interesting things have happened since 1846.

A new summer course at Iowa State University is designed to fill in some of the gaps.

This summer, a first of its kind online history course focusing on civil rights in Iowa is being offered to ISU students, teachers, and the general public.

manhhai / flickr / Jim Stanitz Collection

Thirteen years, four months and one week after the death of the first American killed in open combat with the enemy, American troops withdrew completely from Vietnam on April 30th, 1975.

On this archive edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Bob Drury, author of a book about the final hours of the withdrawal. Also joining the conversation, former Marine platoon commander in Vietnam Dan Gannon. Gannon is now a Vietnam of America representative to the Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs. 

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

The University of Iowa’s museum on wheels is gearing up for another summer on the road, this year with new exhibits.  

2014 exhibits focused on the natural history of Iowa and the human body. This year visitors will find exhibits about Iowans in space, World War II and water.

JC Gillett travels with the 38-foot converted RV.

Battle Buddies

Apr 8, 2015
Cory Smith Photography

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, Eric and Leonard Myszka of Cedar Falls will be sharing their 650 square foot diorama of the Appomattox courthouse and battlefield. The display features more than 7,600 hand painted toy soldiers in elaborate detailed terrain with imbedded sound and special effects.  The Myszkas will host an open house this weekend. The diorama can also be seen by appointment.  

William Whittaker

Did you know that Iowa is home to approximately 27,000 recorded archaeological sites? All over the state there are records of Iowans who came before us.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with William Whittaker and Mary De La Garza, authors of “The Archaeological Guide to Iowa”.

Whittaker and De La Garza touched on some of their favorite sites across the state, from the Blood Run site outside of Sioux Falls to the Palace site outside of Des Moines.

screen shot

In 1956, female students at Iowa State College had to be back in the freshman dorms by 8:45 p.m. on weeknights with lights out at 11:00 p.m. 

Gracia Willis graduated from ISC, now Iowa State University, in 1959. She says, in those days, there were strict standards for how co-eds were to behave.

“There were rules on nearly every aspect of our life. Groups of 12-15 ladies shared a telephone. The telephone was not to be used during study time. We were not allowed to wear slacks to class.”

Wikimedia Commons

Author and historian Jon Lauck is on a mission to revive an interest in the history of the country’s heartland.

Couresty of Robin Lillie

In July of 2007 construction was beginning for a new housing development in Dubuque. That's when someone found human remains.  

J. Stephen Conn

While many see the Ten Commandments as a simple and powerful set of laws to live by; they are also a lightning rod for controversy in this country.

courtesy of Clark Kidder

Thousands of orphan came to Iowa and other Midwestern states by train. A documentary premiering on Iowa Public Television tonight chronicles their stories.

Örlygur Hnefill / Flickr

35 years ago this month, we were in the first few weeks of the Iran hostage crisis. The crisis would last 444 days, and one Iowan was there for all of them.

Courtesy of Charles Notis

Charles Notis created one of the most prominent commercial weather forecasting groups in the state with Harvey Freese.

C Zellmer / Wikimedia Commons

Chief Flight Attendant Jan Brown remembers the approximately 40 minutes between engine failure and crash-landing with crystal clarity.

Not many of us are aware of an event that occurred in 1840 in Bellevue, Iowa, a town along the Mississippi River in Jackson County, south of Dubuque.  It was there on main street that a massive frontier gunfight took place, between outlaws and vigilantes.   The shoot-out was between a posse led by sheriff W.A. Warren and a group of men led by W.W.

Rev. Superinteressante / Wikimedia Commons

Science often runs in the family. And while the Albert Einstein we all know studied particle physics, his first son, Hans Albert Einstein, studied rivers.

Emily Woodbury / Iowa Public Radio

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald lived hard and died young. But while their wild lifestyle did not endure, the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald continue to captivate modern readers.  Today on Talk of Iowa we'll talk with R. Clifton Spargo, author of "Beautiful Fools: The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald."

Iowa National Guard cameramen

Iowa's worst air disaster is being commemorated this coming weekend. It was 25 years ago when United Flight 232 wobbled into Sioux City for a crash landing that killed 112 passengers. Our historic sound project remembers that tragic day with audio recordings going back to July 19, 1989. Reporter Durrie Bouscaren contributed to this story.

C Zellmer / Wikimedia Commons

Chief Flight Attendant Jan Brown remembers the approximately forty minutes between engine failure and crash-landing with crystal clarity.

Library of Congress

During prohibition, there were people all over the United States making and selling spirits, but the people in Templeton, Iowa who were making fine whiskey were not your run of the mill bootleggers.  Host Charity Nebbe digs in to the remarkable history of Templeton Rye with Bryce Bauer, author of Gentlemen Bootleggers: The True Story of Templeton Rye, Prohibition, and a Small Town in Cahoots and historian Tim Walch.  They talk about why Iowa went dry five years before the rest of the country and how this small town set

Cecil Stoughton / John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Do you believe the moon landing was faked? Do you think the “Great Recession” was orchestrated by a small group of Wall Street bankers?