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. 


Des Moines Historical Society

Contact Us


Des Moines Historical Society

P.O. Box 8038

Des Moines, IA  50301


Photos courtesy Lost Des Moines

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

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. 



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. 

NEW! Shirts and Calendars are now available for purchase at:

AMERIPRISE FINANCIAL SERVICES, 2716 Grand Avenue, Des Moines from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

*cash or make checks payable to Des Moines Historical Society...


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

Membership Cost (New Members and Renewals)
$5 Student

$15 Individual
$20 Household
$30 Not-for-profit organization
$50 Governmental organization

Business Memberships

1-50 employees $30

51-99 employees $60

100+ employees $125

Get your DMHS Shirts & Calendars Now!!!

Des Moines Historical Society Polo Shirts available for $22.00

2015 Calendars on Sale - Now just $2.00!


Join us Friday, 8-28-15 from 7 to 9 pm - for an engaging discussion on the role of historic preservation in neighborhood revitalization with historian Michael Allen.
+ This event is free and open to the public.
- Allen’s work emphasizes the social, economic and political dimensions of preservation planning in legacy cities.  (see events page for more info)