Established in 1857 at what is now the University of Iowa in Iowa City, the State Historical Society of Iowa preserves and interpretts the state's history. One of two research centers, the Centennial Building of Iowa City includes archivists and millions of documents and historic photographs that can assist researchers and archivists. The state also maintains an archive in Des Moines at the State Historical Building on Locust St.
Following years of significant cuts to the State Historical Society's budget, the Iowa City research library was in danger of being eliminated altogether. The archive's small staff and many volunteers worked to prevent the archive from closing but the future of the research library and the entire Department of Cultural Affairs remains uncertain. This archive holds over 160,000 books, 30,000 reels of microfilm, thousands of maps and oral histories, and about one million photographs. The reading room is no longer open throughout the week but volunteers continue to offer support to area historians and genealogists.