On July 30, 1958 the Grinnell Historical Museum Society was formally incorporated in the State of Iowa as a not-for-profit organization to promote the study of the history of the State of Iowa and, particularly, the City of Grinnell and Poweshiek County, to gather objects of historical interest and importance and to preserve them for cultural and educational purposes for present and future generations.
The museum was, from the beginning, a collaborative effort. In 1950, the Grinnell Herald Register sponsored a contest for community development. Four women's groups––two chapters of the DAR, the Historical and Literary Club, and the Tuesday Club, took as their project the creation of a museum. People responded enthusiastically; donations included a rope bed, a hair wreath, and the twisted bell clapper from the ruins of the first High School, which had burned.
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