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Gingerbread house decorating tomorrow at AGHC

December 5th, 2014

snowinghouseWinter has definitely come quickly to the American Gothic House this year!  Though the house is beautiful when in snows (which has happened a few times already), we think it could have waited at least a few weeks.  The one benefit of this weather is that it has definitely put us in the holiday spirit!

Some of that holiday fun awaits tomorrow, Saturday, December 6 when we host our annual gingerbread house decorating activity.  Children of all ages are invited to this free event from 1:00-4:00 p.m.  Graham crackers, candy decorations and gooey frosting will be provided for participants to make their sugary creations. For more information please contact the American Gothic House Center at 641-652-3352 or email TheAmericanGothicHouse@gmail.com.

Though this will be our last event of 2014, we are very excited to share our 2015 Calendar of Events with you soon!  You will find more programs, workshops, and a new amazing exhibit unlike anything we have hosted before.  We hope to have a few final programs confirmed shortly and the calendar shared in the coming weeks.


Thanksgiving holiday hours

November 24th, 2014


The American Gothic House Center will be closed Thanksgiving Day, but will be open 10am-4pm Friday and Saturday (and regular hours thereon).

If you are shopping on Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, be sure to check out our gift shop. Friday and Saturday we will offer a free American Gothic House tote bag with all purchases over $30! We have many new items in the store and all proceeds support the American Gothic House Center.

American Gothic Halloween Party takes place October 25th!

October 15th, 2014

The American Gothic House Center will hold its annual Halloween Party on Saturday, October 25 from 2-4 p.m. Children from preschool through fifth grade are invited to attend and admission is free. Participants will play Boo Bowling, make creepy crafts, decorate monster cookies, and much more. A Mad Scientist will also perform fun experiments and the Eldon Public Library will feature a Spooky Story Walk on the trail. Children are encouraged to come in costume for a fun photo-op in front of the house. For more information call the American Gothic House Center at 641-652-3352 or email TheAmericanGothicHouse@gmail.com.

Celebrate Iowa Museum Week by attending the Southeast Iowa Museum Crawl

June 12th, 2014

Museums across Iowa are participating in Iowa Museum Week, which runs from June 9-15.  Iowa Museum Week was created to highlight the importance of museums in Iowa.  To celebrate this event, the American Gothic House Center has teamed up with other area museums for the inaugural Southeast Iowa Museum Crawl.

The event will take place Saturday, June 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are four museums being featured on this year’s Museum Crawl: Davis County Historical Complex (Bloomfield), Maasdam Barns (Fairfield), Pearson House (Keosauqua) and the AmericaGothicHouseCenter (Eldon). As a part of this Museum Crawl, “Star Passports” will be available.  People having their “passport” punched at all four locations will be eligible to win a Southeast Iowa Museum Crawl gift basket.

Highlights at each of the locations include:

American Gothic House Center, Eldon

  • Exhibit of Grant Wood original works on loan from IndianHillsCommunity College
  • Art station to sketch your own version of the iconic house
  • Tour the AmericanGothicHouseCenter
  • Strike a pose for your own “American Gothic photo” (costumes, pitchforks and glasses available)


Davis County Historical Complex, Bloomfield

  • Rededication of Civil War Medal of Honor at 11 a.m.
  • Activities throughout the day: spinning wheel, quilting, blacksmithing, dutch oven cooking, butter making, cream separating, and more


Maasdam Barns, Fairfield

  • Youth activities from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. – egg gathering, tug of war, hay stacking, wheelbarrow races, egg toss
  • Demonstrations – putting up hay at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., milk separating


Pearson House, Keosauqua

  • Quilting demonstrations showing technique and revealing the hidden meaning of some blocks
  • Old Time Revival Sing with performances at the top of every hour
  • Guided tours of the complex
  • School-in-Session at the one-room schoolhouse
  • Free refreshments- sorghum and molasses cookies, butter cookies, and glasses of Ginger Switchell


Whether you attend the museum crawl, or stop by your hometown favorite, we hope you take the time this week to visit and celebrate Iowa museums!



American Gothic Days Approaching!

May 15th, 2014

It is almost time again for Eldon’s annual American Gothic Days!  The Center is hosting three events in conjunction with American Gothic Days, which take place June 13-15.

The American Gothic 5K Run/Walk will be held Saturday, June 14 at 7:30 a.m.  Early bird registration is $15 if paid by May 23, or $18 after.  Registration includes a t-shirt, map of the route, and awards for winners in different age/gender categories.  This event is sponsored by Libertyville Savings Bank and Crossroad Graphics.

The American Gothic Bike Ride 18 mile bike ride takes place Sunday, June 15 at 7:30 a.m.  Early bird registration is $15 if paid by May 23, or $18 after.  Registration for the 18-mile ride includes a t-shirt, map, and post-ride pizza.  This event is sponsored by Libertyville Savings Bank, Riverside Cyclery, and AJ’s Bicycle Shop.

Amateur and professional artists are invited to enter the American Gothic House Art Contest.  There will be cash awards for first and second place winners in each division, and registration is free.  This event sponsored by GATE.  Entries must be received by June 10 and entries will be on display at the Center during American Gothic Days.

An entire schedule of events for American Gothic Days can be found here.  For more information, or for registration forms, please call 641-652-3352 or visit www.AmericanGothicHouse.net.

A new connection to the Wood family

April 2nd, 2014


I recently had the privilege of talking to Debbie Beilstein, the great niece of Frank Wood, Grant Wood’s brother.  Frank served very much as a grandfather figure to Debbie and she also shared a close relationship with Nan Wood Graham as Nan resided nearby in Riverside, California.  As none of the Wood siblings had any immediate descendants, it has been a joy to speak to Debbie about her memories.  To the right is a photograph from 1960 of Debbie and Frank when she was 3 in his backyard in San Diego.

Debbie has started a Facebook page where she is sharing photographs and stories about Frank and Nan.  I welcome you to visit and follow her page to learn more:  www.facebook.com/nanwoodgrahamandfrankmwood

One of my favorite things Debbie shared with me is a recipe for cheese bread that Nan Wood Graham would bring to every family gathering.  Debbie’s family has kept the tradition alive and still makes “American Gothic cheese bread” today.  To join in the tradition, I plan to make Nan’s recipe this weekend to serve at our lecture series event on Sunday.  Be sure to join us Sunday at 2:00pm for a great presentation by Mark McWhorter on “Regionalist Art During the Great Depression” and try some of Nan’s cheese bread for yourself!

Holly Berg, Administrator

American Gothic House Center

Celebrate Grant Wood on February 8

January 29th, 2014

agbdayThe chill in the air must mean it’s almost time again for our annual Grant Wood Birthday Soup Smorgasbord.  The celebration will take place Saturday, February 8 from 11:00 am-1:00 pm at the KD Center in Eldon. You can enjoy an amazing array of soups, homemade bread, and birthday desserts.   Read the rest of this entry »

American Gothic House Center Acquires Grant Wood Lithograph

November 18th, 2013

FruitsThe American Gothic House Center announced today the acquisition of their first original Grant Wood work.  The lithograph, titled Fruits (1939), is an important piece of Grant Wood history as it highlights his use of the print medium, which was a result of the difficult financial times of the 1930s. The work holds an important connection to the Center as Nan Wood Graham, Grant Wood’s sister, was instrumental in hand-coloring this lithograph series.  Nan served as the female model for American Gothic (1930) and visited Eldon several times over the course of her life.

“We are extremely pleased to bring this work to the Wapello County community.  We hope this work will enhance visitors’ experiences and further connect local residents to the museum” said Holly Berg, American Gothic House Center administrator.

The work was purchased with funds contributed by the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, City of Eldon, and John Deere Ottumwa Works.

The work will be previewed from Nov. 22 until Dec. 31.  The Center will host a public reception on Friday, Nov. 22 from 4-6 p.m.  The lithograph will be placed on permanent display beginning in April.

For more information contact Holly Berg, American Gothic House Center Administrator, at 641-652-3352 or email TheAmericanGothicHouse@gmail.com.

All aboard for an Iowa rail adventure!

November 4th, 2013

Please join us for a special presentation by “Iowa’s Super Conductor” Rudolph Daniels on Sunday, November 10 at 1:00pm at the Eldon Library Hall.  Daniels will describe the past, present and future of the Hawkeye State’s railroads. Read the rest of this entry »

Volunteers an important “piece” of the museum

October 4th, 2013
photo (5)The American Gothic House Center hosted its annual Volunteer Appreciation Potluck this past Saturday.  This year’s potluck theme was “Volunteers are an important piece of our museum.”  It was a very fitting theme as the Center would not be able to operate without the help of our dedicated volunteer staff.
Though the weather did not cooperate to have it outside, we hope everyone had an enjoyable time! As not everyone could attend, I would like to take this time to thank all of the volunteers at the Center for their hard work and dedication and we greatly appreciate your continued efforts.
Upcoming events:
October 26: Children’s Gothic Halloween Party
2:00-4:00pm at the American Gothic House Center
Ages: Preschool – 5th grade. Small children should be accompanied by an adult.
Free admission
Celebrate Halloween in front of the American Gothic House! Arrive dressed in your costume, make your own spooky American Gothic Parody, make fun crafts, play games and enjoy delicious treats.
November 10: Humanities Iowa Lecture by Rudolph Daniels: “Trains Across Iowa”
All ages welcome
Free admission
1:00pm at the Eldon Library Hall
Eldon, Iowa is known for being the home of the American Gothic House, but it also is home to the historic Eldon Depot, which boasts a rich history of railroad life. Join us as Rudolph Daniels describes the past, present and future of the Hawkeye State’s railroads. The program explores Iowa’s unique position in the construction of the first transcontinental railroad and Iowa’s great contribution to railroad safety. The talk also describes the famous steamliners that rode Iowa’s rails. All aboard for an Iowa rail adventure!
After the presentation the Eldon Depot Museum will be open for viewing.
This event held in partnership with the Eldon Depot Museum.
December 7: Gingerbread House Building
1:00-4:00pm at the American Gothic House Center
Open to children
Free admission
Join in a great holiday tradition for the family! Arrive early to create your own gingerbread house made out of graham crackers, frosting and candy while supplies last!