Des Moines Historical Society





The Des Moines (Iowa) Historical Society is a 501c3 organization with the mission to promote the preservation and study of the history and heritage of Des Moines, Iowa. 

JOIN NOW for $5! We are a growing organization with many special tours, events and programs throughout the year. Join today!

Our success depends on the generosity of those who share our belief that Des Moines history should be preserved. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization,  your contribution may be tax-deductible. 

Sept. 14: DMHS will be at Open Streets 2014, 1-5 pm

Sept. 28: Historic bus tour and 5th Anniversary Celebration!


Contact Us


Des Moines Historical Society

P.O. Box 8038

Des Moines, IA  50301

(515) 971-4364 (call or text)

Photos courtesy Lost Des Moines

What kind of name is Des Moines anyway?


The origin of the name "Des Moines" is uncertain. The French des moines literally translates to "of the monks." Some people believe it refers to French Trappist monks who lived in huts at the mouth of the Des Moines River, while others think it could be referring to the Moingona natives of the area. Another theory is that Des Moines was corrupted from the French de moyen ("middle") because of its location between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. 

Oops! Are you looking for the Des Moines (Washington) Historical Society? Try here >>

DMHS 5 / 5 / 5 Anniversary Membership Special

We're celebrating FIVE years with a special anniversary membership special! Join the Des Moines Historical Society as a new member anytime between Monday, Sept. 29 and Friday, Oct. 3 and receive the special annual membership price of only $5. Household memberships are $10. Renewing members are not eligible for this special (see Membership page for renewal information).

Five years. Five bucks. Five days. You just ran out of excuses not to join today! 

Membership Level