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Amana Heritage Society Museums

upl_amana-heritageThe Amana Heritage Society Museums is a Strategic Investment Partner of Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area. The Amana Colonies is a group of seven quaint German villages. Their story is told by historic buildings that include a barn, schoolhouse, church, wash house/woodshed, and a communal kitchen preserved as it appeared in 1932.

The Amana Heritage Society, received a grant from Silos & Smokestacks to give a new look to the exhibits in the Communal Agriculture Museum in South Amana. The grant also provided funds to help preserve and restore the historical barn housing the museum as well as repairing some of the artifacts.

New exhibits include sections on barn architecture, fires, and hired hands. The floor plan was changed so that visitors exit from the same door they enter. All the photographs and much of the text were replaced, and exhibit panels were repainted.

Before receiving the grant, the barn was subject to bats, ocassionally alarming an unsuspecting visitor. Now the cracks and holes have been sealed, preserving the historical building.

The Communal Agriculture Museum provides a cultural and educational opportunity to area residents and tourist visitors to learn more about the agricultural heritage of the area through tools and implements. The South Amana oxen barn is an important cultural resource, an excellent example of an early German-American barn, and a symbol of 19th century agriculture in the Midwest.

The Communal Agriculture Museum had the lowest visitation of all of the Amana sites, averaging about 6,000 people annually. With the help from the Silos grant, the museum has been able to add a marketing component by attracting visitors through on-site signage to assist the traveler, the purchase of paid advertising in regional and national publications and outlets, and printing and distributing promotional materials.

In addition, Silos has also sponsored a grant to help interpret the Amana Homestead General Store by installing interpretive exhibits that tell the store’s story. The Homestead Store Museum interprets village life, agriculture, and commerce in the region.

For more information visit http://www.amanaheritage.org/ or call 319-622-3567.

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