Humanities Festival

An all-star cast of 19 arts and cultural leaders from across the state will participate in the inaugural Iowa Humanities Festival March 9 at Salisbury House & Gardens. Inspired by the Chicago Humanities Festival, the public event will focus on importance of art, literature, libraries and museums.

Iowa-based scholars, museum directors, librarians and collectors will present the daylong series of panel discussions, presentations and lectures related to museum work and collections. Presenters include Jim Leach, longtime Iowa congressman who now is chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities; Jeff Fleming, director of the Des Moines Art Center; J. Eric Smith, executive director of the Salisbury House; and Chris Rossi, executive director of Humanities Iowa.

Carl and Edith Weeks, who built the Salisbury House in the 1920s, “amassed an extraordinary collection of rare books and documents, very few of which have been studied, researched, interpreted or discussed with any sort of academic rigor,” Smith notes. “I see the inaugural Iowa Humanities Festival as a first step toward correcting this situation, since it will allow us to shine a light on some of our hidden treasures with the general public and with some of our state’s finest scholars.”

The event will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $10, which includes a box lunch and light refreshments at a reception at the end of the day.

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