News & Information

American Gothic House Center is ready for the holidays!

December 1st, 2015

Christmas in Eldon by Jessi 022The snow from last week has melted, but holiday excitement is still in the air. This weekend is filled with holiday events for “Christmas in Eldon.” Saturday, December 5 hosts a day jam-packed with activities, including the Christmas Tree Wanderland at the McHaffey Opera House, the Rock Island Depot, Christmas Dinner, a visit from Santa, Boy Scout Soup Supper, and Gingerbread House Decorating at the American Gothic House Center.

Bring the kids by the Center on Saturday, between 12-4 pm to decorate their very own graham cracker “Gingerbread” House. Graham crackers, candy decorations and gooey frosting will be provided (while supplies last) for participants to make their sugary creations.

While shopping this holiday season please be sure to keep the American Gothic House Center gift shop in mind! The shop has many unique gifts for all ages—coloring books, candles, and calendars just to name a few. Plus, proceeds from gift shop sales support the Center’s educational programming and operations. A selection of gift shop items can also be found online at


Quilt workshops and more coming up at AGHC

October 2nd, 2015

Summer might be winding down, but excitement is growing for the many great upcoming events at the American Gothic House Center!

FullSizeRender (5)To accompany the “American Gothic in Stitches” exhibit, the Center is hosting a pair of workshops in the fabric arts. The classes will be lead by AGHC volunteer Teresa Chickering and participants will create their own “Gothic Window” wall hanging. The children’s workshop will be held on Saturday, October 17 at 1 p.m. The class is open to children ages 9 and above and has a supply fee of $10.00.

The “grown up” quilting workshop will take place on Saturday, October 24 at 1 p.m. The class has a supply fee of $15.00. Participants are asked to bring their own sewing machine as well as black and gray thread. A dual feed foot is also recommended. Both workshops require pre-registration and each class is limited to 15 participants.

The annual American Gothic Halloween Party will be held Saturday, October 31 from 2-4 p.m. on the grounds of the American Gothic House. The event offers free admission and is open to children in Preschool through 5th grade. Attendees will have a ghoulishly great time making crafts, playing games, and eating delicious treats. Remember to come in costume and make your own spooky American Gothic parody!

A reminder the last American Gothic House tour of the season will take place Saturday, October 10 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Also, don’t miss your chance to see “American Gothic in Stitches: Quilts Inspired By the Famous Painting” before the exhibit closes October 24th!

For more information on any of the Center’s upcoming events please contact Holly Berg at 641-652-3352 or email

Join us for “Brews and Brushes” July 31st

July 6th, 2015

image1We are very excited to announce our upcoming “Brews and Brushes” FUNdraiser! Spend an evening painting “American Gothic Flowers” alongside local artist Chris Abigt. This stunning Grant Wood-inspired original painting by Chris will make a lovely souvenir from your evening.

The event will take place Friday, July 31 from 6-9 pm (doors open at 5 pm) in the Hotel Ottumwa ballroom. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at the Hotel Ottumwa front desk or the American Gothic House Center. Proceeds from the event will go to the American Gothic House Center Endowment Fund. A special thank you to the Hotel Ottumwa and Chris Abigt for their amazing support.

Seating is limited so be sure to get your tickets soon!

American Gothic Days June 12-14

June 4th, 2015

DSC08558It is almost time again for Eldon’s annual American Gothic Days! The American Gothic House Center is hosting several events in conjunction with American Gothic Days. The American Gothic 5K Run/Walk will be held Saturday, June 13 at 7:30 a.m. Registration is $20 and 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 Kremer Funeral Home.


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 9 and entries will be on display at the Center during American Gothic Days.


The American Gothic House will also be open for tours on Saturday, June 13 from 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. Your tour of the house will also include a special exhibit of photographs of the American Gothic House by Hans Marx. Born in 1950 in Cologne, Germany, art has accompanied Hans throughout his life. He started with painting, had exhibitions in Germany and France, and picked up photography in 2000 with his first exhibition on Algiers, Algeria in 2013. Hans Marx was the first foreign exchange student of his home town Witten, Germany, to visit the US for more than a year. He lived with the Cummings family in Agency, Iowa, and attended Cardinal High School in Eldon, class of ’68. Hans will be exhibiting his works of the American Gothic House in Germany, France, and Algeria.


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

“American Gothic in Stitches” exhibit opening June 1st

April 20th, 2015

ms_macdonaldThe American Gothic House Center has many great events scheduled for the coming months, but we are most excited to announce our upcoming exhibit: American Gothic in Stitches: Quilts inspired by the famous painting. The exhibition will feature nine works by skilled quilters from around the world who have created their own masterpieces influenced by the famous painting. The quilts will be on view at the American Gothic House Center from June 1-October 18 during regular hours.

An opening reception will take place Friday, June 5 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. As a special addition for the opening, Grant Wood’s baby quilt will be on display with thanks to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. Jacqueline Falco-Smith, Registrar of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, will be present during the opening to answer questions regarding the quilt.
Admission to the exhibit is free and is sponsored by APQS-American Professional Quilting Systems and the Ottumwa Area Arts Council. For information regarding the exhibit, or any other upcoming events, please call 641-652-3352, or email
Upcoming events:
Tours of the American Gothic House
April 11, May 9, June 13, July 11, August 8, September 12, and October 10 from 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Lecture series: Joni Kinsey, Professor, School of Art and Art History “Grant Wood at the University of Iowa: Community and Controversy”
Sunday, May 3, 2:00 pm at the American Gothic House
New exhibit:  American Gothic in Stitches:  Quilts inspired by the famous painting
Exhibit open June 1-October 18
“American Gothic in Stitches” Exhibit Opening
Friday, June 5, 4:30-6:30 pm
American Gothic 5K Walk/Run
Saturday, June 13, 7:30 am (Registration begins at 6:45 am)
American Gothic House Art Contest
Saturday and Sunday, June 13-14; Submissions due with entry forms by 5 pm on Tuesday, June 9
American Gothic House Quilt/Fabric Art Challenge
On display July 1-October 18; Entries due by June 26

American Gothic House Tours

March 4th, 2015

Tours of the American Gothic House will take place April 11, May 9, June 13, July 11, August 8, September 12, and October 10 from 10:00 am-4:00 pm. Admission to the house and American Gothic House Center is free.

Please note: Tours of the house will only feature the downstairs portion of the house. The steep stairs, short ceilings, and lack of handrails prohibit safe access to the upstairs.

Due to the historic features of the house and grounds, accessibility for visitors with limited mobility can be challenging. Guests with wheelchairs and walkers may find the terrain to the house difficult to maneuver. In addition, the entrance has two steps (one step to the rear porch, one step to enter the house). We will make every effort to respond and accommodate visitors’ needs. If you have additional questions about accessibility, please call 641-652-3352 or email

The adjacent American Gothic House Center, “photo-op” area, and parking lot are all accessible.

Grant Wood always liked a good party

January 29th, 2015

agbdayIt is almost time again for our Grant Wood Birthday Soup Smorgasbord! Every now and then someone asks if I think Grant Wood would like us having a party in his name. I always respond that I think so…Grant Wood always liked a good party.

In My Brother, Grant Wood, Nan Wood Graham shares several stories about the enjoyment Wood had from gatherings of friends. She writes, “Grant constantly threw parties on the spur of the moment. He would come home with a load of steaks and buns and Brie and say, ‘Mom, a gang is coming. Put the coffee pot on.’ The conversation always was lively—about what everyone was doing and the latest plays they’d seen. I never knew of any of Grant’s parties to be a failure.”

We’ll be sure to have the coffee pot on at our celebration Saturday, February 7 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, made by our wonderful volunteers (who are also great cooks!). Door prizes will be awarded throughout the event. Free-will donations will support educational programs at the American Gothic House Center. Come celebrate what would be Grant Wood’s 124th birthday, have a wonderful meal, and support a great cause at the same time.

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

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