‘Iowa’s Cultural Kaleidoscope’ topic of Thursday presentation

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO This month’s History on Third Thursday presentation, sponsored by the Historical Society of Marshall County, takes attendees on a journey through Iowa history, through the prism of immigration. It it slated for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Marshalltown Public Library and entitled “Iowa’s Cultural Kaleidoscope.”

This month’s History on Third Thursday presentation, sponsored by the Historical Society of Marshall County, takes attendees on a journey through Iowa history, through the prism of immigration. It it slated for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Marshalltown Public Library and entitled “Iowa’s Cultural Kaleidoscope.”

Humanities Iowa speaker Phil Webber is Professor Emeritus of German and Linguistics at Central College in Pella. His studies focus on the patterns of ethnicity and language use in Iowa communities.

“Webber’s programs usually focus on recent waves of immigration, but for our program, we’ve asked him to also talk about the history of immigration in Iowa, so it’s a then and now type of program,” HSMC Administrator Michelle Roseburrough said.

He will discuss and show images of Iowa’s Eastern European history, including immigrants of Czech, Slovak and German descent. He will talk about today’s current wave of Latino immigration, plus refugee populations and indigenous peoples, including the Meskwaki Nation.

“We’ve had immigrants come to Iowa from Burma, Bhutan, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan,” he said. “I’ll talk about how hard it is to get U.S. citizenship, and how Hispanic immigration has changed from being mainly young men coming here alone to a lot of them now being women and children.”

Webber said Iowa has the distinction of being home to several culturally-specific museums, which are ideal places to conduct research and learn more about Iowa’s immigrant roots, including the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, Swedish Heritage Museum in Swedesburg, Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn and others.

“Iowa probably has half a dozen entities of ethnic museums, plus places (such as) the Amana Colonies,” he said.

Webber will also give attendees resources about ways in which to begin doing genealogical research.

The event is free and open to the public.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com