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Living History Farms receives prestigious AASLH award

Posted July 26, 2013 in Community Web Exclusives, Web Exclusives, Urbandale, West Des Moines

Living History Farms is proud to announce they are the recipient of an AASLH (American Association for State and Local History) Leadership in History Award for the exterior shell restoration of the Flynn Mansion.

The AASLH Leadership in History Award is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. 

For many visitors to Living History Farms, the 1870 Flynn Mansion is at the heart of their visitor experience.  The Flynn Mansion is one of only two buildings original to the Living History Farms property (the other is the Flynn Barn), and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It offers visitors a unique perspective on how life in the late 1800s helped shape the future of Iowa and the nation.

A March 2008 architectural study of the Flynn Mansion revealed serious structural concerns that needed to be addressed in order to ensure its preservation.  Those physical repairs and improvements were completed during the first phase of the Flynn Mansion restoration project.

The remainder of the project focused on restoration of the original north kitchen (torn down when the site was part of a state prison farm) and renovations that will preserve the building and improve the visitor experience at the Farms.

Now that this renovation project is complete, more than 40 different interpretive programs are available to the general public at the Flynn Mansion, including Railroad Crossings, a series of hands-on activities centered on railroading, funded by the Union Pacific Foundation.  “This home, with its stunning evidence of one immigrant’s success story, remains a centerpiece of our interpretive programs.  The Flynn Mansion is consistently cited in visitor and teacher surveys as one of the most popular attractions at the Farms,” added Ruth Haus, President of Living History Farms.

More than 45 different donors contributed to the Flynn restoration project, led by Prairie Meadows, the State of Iowa (through the Historic Site Preservation Grant, Historical Resource Development and Historic Tax Credits programs), Polk County and Alice Murray-widow of LHF Founder Bill Murray.

Ruth Haus, President of Living History Farms, will accept the award at a special banquet during the 2013 AASLH Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, on Friday, September 20. The banquet is supported by a generous contribution from the History Channel.
About The American Association for State and Local History:  AASLH is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH works to advance knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of local history in America. AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, and monthly newsletter. The association also sponsors regional and national training workshops and an annual meeting. For more information on the awards program and AASLH, please visit

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