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University of Iowa News Release


May 11, 2010

Open House celebrates new additions to Old Capitol's 'Iowa Youth Diaries'

martinezfamilySarah Jane Kimball writes about her experiences going to school and earning her teaching certificate as the Civil War rages.

Adella Martinez's oral history tells stories of life as a migrant worker in the midst of the Great Depression. (photo, left)

Kate Martinson writes about her young marriage and life on the prairie.

The newly digitized diaries of these three women have been added to the "Iowa Youth Diaries Project," a continuing exhibit of diaries written by young Iowans growing up in the mid-1800s and early 1900s. The most recent additions to that exhibit will be celebrated with an open house from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 20, in the Discovery Center in the Old Capitol Museum. The free, public event will include refreshments.

The Old Capitol Museum collaborated with the Iowa Women's Archives at the University of Iowa Libraries, the State Historical Society and other archives to create the "Iowa Youth Diaries Project" in 2006. Through the process of digitization, the Museum offers a look at the rare and fragile primary documents, many of which are more than a century old. Each diary entry is accompanied with a history lesson and photos from the author's life.

The exhibit also includes oral transcriptions of interviews that offer both audio of the author's voice as well as a written transcription of the interview.

"The diaries give us a real insight into what life was like so many years ago," says Kathrine Moermond, education and outreach coordinator at the Old Capitol Museum. "Having an opportunity to view and discover history like this, in this format, helps bring it to life and gives insight to what life was like when the Old Capitol was being built. These new diaries are the next step in bringing history to life for Iowa students and Old Capitol Museum visitors."

For more information, visit, or call 319-335-0546.

SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Kathrine Moermond, Old Capitol Museum, 319-335-0546,; Steve Parrott, University Relations 319-384-0037,; Writer: Ryan Lindsay