Apr 3, 2024 - News

Living History Farms launches $6.2 million expansion

A rendering of a new building at Living History Farms.

The Cultivation Center will be completed next year. The overall project's grand opening will occur in conjunction with the United States' 250th anniversary in 2026. Rendering: FEH Design, courtesy of Living History Farms

Living History Farms is launching a $6.2 million building and improvement project in July, Jim Dietz-Kilen, the group's capital campaign director, tells Axios.

Why it matters: The project will add a new 8,700 square-foot "Cultivation Center" to the site and help attract visitors year-round.

Catch up fast: LHF is a 500-acre "interactive museum" site in Urbandale that demonstrates centuries of agricultural practices, including those of Native Americans and early settlers.

  • Its post-Civil War town has shops, a schoolhouse and a general store that's open during warmer months for visitors to go back in time.

State of play: Half of the project's costs are raised. The group is seeking grants and donations for the rest, spokesperson Elizabeth Keest Sedrel tells Axios.

  • The modern indoor space near the museum's entrance will more than double when it's finished.

Zoom in: The Cultivation Center will include meeting rooms, offices and gallery space for things like traveling exhibits.

  • The existing visitor center will be converted to a learning center for classrooms and additional meeting space.
  • A new picnic pavilion and courtyard will connect the buildings.

The intrigue: LHF has been open for more than 50 years.

  • Pope John Paul II held an outdoor mass there in 1979 with around 350,000 people in attendance.

What's next: The "Cultivating Our Future" campaign kickoff is Wednesday, April 3, at the LHF Visitor's Center, 4-5:30pm.


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