Current Feature ExhiBit:

Exploring Historic Ames: Unique Selections from the Farwell T. Brown Photographic Archive

This exhibit features photos collected by Farwell Brown, Ames historian and founder of the historical society. The photos on display were chosen from the collection based on their ability to place visitors in the past. Featured photos include early interiors of Ames businesses, stereoscope images taken by Martin Morrison, and a life-sized replica of the H-tree, which serves as a photo op for visitors. The exhibit is presented in partnership with tOKhe Ames Public Library, which hosts the full photo collection on its website.

Open December 2018 - August 2019

Current Smaller Exhibits:

Fly With Banning

James Herman Banning was the first African American pilot to fly across the Continental United States. He learned to fly while living in Ames.

Artifacts from the Attic: Dolls

This exhibit tells the story of a family doll found in an Ames attic, and features other dolls from our collection.

Ames Bottlers

This exhibit provides information about two bottling companies in Ames and features several bottles from our collection.

Younkers Little Shop

This exhibit tells the story of Ames Younkers. The Ames store on Main Street, known as "Younkers Little Shop," was the first branch store, opening in 1941.

Permanent exhibits include a timeline of Ames history, aerial views, and our player piano.

Past Exhibits:

Hometown Teams: How Sports Shaped Ames

The exhibit told the local story of sports in Ames - from town teams to Iowa State to Ames High - in conjunction with a Smithsonian traveling exhibit about hometown sports on display at the Octagon Center for the Arts across the street.

Cathedrals of the Plains: A Photo Series of Midwest Grain Elevators

This exhibit featured photography by Judith Eastburn along with the Ames elevator story. Judith Eastburn holds an MFA in Photography from The University of Iowa. She has taught photography courses at levels ranging from children to university students for the past twenty years. Her work has appeared in twenty four juried shows, and she has presented eight one-person shows. The Froning & Deppe grain elevator and its predecessors were a feature of the downtown Ames skyline for a hundred years, from the late 1870s until 1979.

Ames Hi Aiming High Through the Years

This exhibit featured the four Ames High School locations and included stories about academics, athletics, clubs & activities, social life & events, and performing arts during the era students attended each school building. The exhibit also included a wall with names of all Ames High graduates.

In Trunks, Hands, and Hearts: What Immigrants Bring to Iowa

Through six traveling banners created by the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa, this exhibit told stories of immigrants to Iowa from a variety of places and times. The stories showed the commonality of experience, while also sharing the many unique examples. The exhibit focused on telling stories through the things that were brought (objects, skills, traditions, customs, etc.). Several supplementary panels were created to tell Ames immigrant stories. More information here.

World War II: Ames Doing Its Part

This exhibit commemorated the 75th anniversary of the start of World War II. The exhibit featured stories about day-to-day life in Ames for those at home who supported the war effort in countless ways. It included engaging photos, information, and artifacts that told the story of Ames' involvement in the war.

A Time of Expansion: The Ames Building Boom of 1915-1916

The years 1915 and 1916 brought great expansion to the city of Ames. In that short time Ames saw the building of the Sheldon-Munn Hotel, a new City Hall, the Masonic Building, and Mary Greeley Hospital. This exhibit focused on the history of each of these iconic buildings and how they impacted the community at the time. The exhibit included photos from the buildings' pasts, historical objects representing each building, and fun interactive activities for the whole family. Exhibit sponsored by Mary Greeley Medical Center.