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A private, non-profit group committed to serving the public by furthering an appreciation of the histroical and cultural heritage of the Johnson County community through education, preservation, and interpretation.
The Johnson County Historical Society was organized in 1967 as the Mormon Trek Memorial Foundation. Its purpose was to commemorate the Mormon Handcart Expeditions, which departed Johnson County for Salt Lake City in 1856 and 1857. The Foundation identified the site of the Handcart Expedition Campground, created a park and monument and renamed a street (Mormon Trek Boulevard). The Foundation resolved to create a local history museum. To reflect this new purpose, the name was changed to the Johnson County Historical Society.
The Historical Society found a permanent home when a lease was signed for the Old Coralville Public School, a badly deteriorated two-story brick schoolhouse built in 1876. Restoration of the building began in 1977 and on July 4, 1983 the building opened to the public as the Johnson County Heritage Museum. In addition to the museum, the Historical Society manages and interprets 3 historical sites in the Johnson County area: the 1876 Coralville Schoolhouse, the Plum Grove Historic Home (home of Iowa's first territorial governor, Robert Lucas,) and the Johnson County Poor Farm and Asylum.
In 2006, the Historical Society moved to its current location at 860 Quarry Road in Coralville's new Iowa River Landing District. The Historical Society contains a changing exhibit hall, collections space with a library and extensive archives, and shares its building with the Antique Car Museum of Iowa.
- Alexandra Drehman
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