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Collections Database

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Welcome to Living History Farms' Online Collections Database!

Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa is an interactive, 500-acre outdoor history museum that tells the amazing 300+ year story of how Iowans transformed the fertile prairies of the Midwest into the most productive farmland in the world. During their visit, museum guests travel at their own pace through historical time periods as they visit three working farms and the 1875 Town of Walnut Hill. Museum buildings are authentically furnished with a combination of historic artifacts and period correct reproduction items. The museum collection includes over 18,000 artifacts, including tools, machinery, furniture, household items, books, textiles and more. Historic interpreters utilize many of these objects to recreate farming, crafts, and other life processes from the past. Some of these objects, however, are too fragile for regular display or program use. These artifacts receive special behind the scenes collection care and are an excellent study resource for museum staff and scholars.

You can visit many of these special treasures here through our online collection database! Museum collections staff will showcase textiles, tractors, and other special collections here, on a rotating basis. Enjoy this peek into our special collection vault!

Tips for Searching

Keyword Search

The Keyword Search button allows you to perform a general search across multiple fields for any catalog records online. Keyword searches use OR as the default connector between words (e.g. a search for Hanley Ranch will return records associated with Hanley OR Ranch). If you want to find records where both keywords are found, type in AND between the two words. To search for a specific phrase, be sure to put the phrase within quotes (e.g. "Rocky Pine Ranch"). You can also use the asterisk (*) as a wildcard (e.g. a search for histor* would come up with records containing history, histories, historical, etc.). Searches are not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

The Advanced Search button can help you be more specific with your search. You can search for a word or phrase within a particular search category or use multiple categories to further narrow down your search results. For example, searching White in the People field will bring up any records associated with a member of the White family, without having to sift through black & white photographs. You can also search People and Creator records through Advanced Search. Phrase searching with quotes and use of wildcards (*) are available in Advanced Search.

Random Images

The Random Images button is a great way to just browse the collection. Each Random Images page displays a random assortment of images from the records online. If something piques your interest, click the thumbnail to view a larger version of the image.

Catalog Searches (Objects)

The Objects catalog button can also help narrow down your search, by only searching with that catalog. If you only want to search for Objects, click the Objects button and type in your keyword(s) or phrase. You can also browse records within that catalog without performing a search. Phrase searching, wildcards (*) as well as AND/OR statements are available when performing catalog searches.