The History Center has a new (old) home and visitors will be surprised not only by the Linn County facts and memorabilia they find inside, but also by the stunning grandeur of the building itself.
The History Center has a rich history in the Cedar Rapids community, having started in 1969 as the Linn County Historical Museum Association. Executive Director Jason Wright said the organization is thrilled to be reopened in a new space for residents and visitors alike to discover.
Tickets to The History Center grant access to the second floor exhibits spaces. In the permanent gallery, visitors explore the history of Linn County through the lenses of immigrants, education, transportation and more. They can learn fun and quirky facts at several “did you know?” stations and even snap a historic selfie. Two other galleries on the second floor feature temporary, changing exhibitions, covering Linn County stories related to quilting, entrepreneurship and community disasters, among others. And don’t miss the lovely spot to rest at the top of the stairs in the “Round Room” where even the doors and windows are curved. Here visitors can view a video that shares the rich history of the home itself.
During renovations of the Douglas Mansion, some of the distinctive features of the space were revealed and the home was made fully accessible for all visitors. There are fireplaces, arched entrances and unique light fixtures to admire. If visitors pay close attention, they will notice characteristics that reveal the home’s many years serving as a funeral home, including extra nails hammered into the wood flooring (to muffle the footsteps of late arrivals to funerals) and notches purposely taken out of the finish work to accommodate moving coffins throughout the second floor.
The large program room on the first floor — where visitors can admire a large stained glass window, a recommended addition to the house by famed artist Grant Wood — is where visitors can enjoy a variety of programs throughout the year, including the “Oral Histories Live” series. There’s also a small gift shop for purchasing Linn County mementos, such as hand-carved wooden toys. The working library is available to those looking to research their own family history or some aspect of the county’s history.
For more information visit: historycenter.org