Octagon Center for the Arts

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The Octagon Center for the Arts is a non-profit community art organization located in downtown Ames Main Street Cultural District. The Octagon has been a cornerstone of the cultural scene in Ames since 1966. The Octagon serves more than 30,000 people annually through education classes and outreach programs, rotating exhibits, retail gallery shop, and special events such as the annual Octagon Art Festival. Come experience the arts at the Octagon!  Read More

Ames Public Library

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In 1902, the P.E.O. local chapter appointed a committee to investigate how a free public library might be established. Ames Mayor Parley Sheldon met with the group and then later wrote to Andrew Carnegie asking for $10,000 to erect a library building. Ames received the grant. By 1904 the city voted to accept Carnegie's gift, created a Board of Trustees, received a land gift for the building, constructed the library, and hired a librarian. October 20, 1904 was the first day of business. Read More

Design on Main

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Located in the Main Street Cultural District in downtown Ames, Design on Main is a satellite studio and gallery facility that connects Iowa State University’s College of Design with the greater Ames community. Design on Main houses the graduate studios of Graphic Design, Integrated Studio Arts, Sustainable Environments, and Urban Design, as well as a large community art gallery. Read More


Ames Historical Society

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The mission of the Ames Historical Society is to engage our diverse public and provide unique opportunities to learn about Ames history.
We carry out this mission by:

  • staffing the Ames History Center where archives, artifact collections, exhibits, and research assistance are available;
  • providing tours, programs, publications, and extensive website;
  • operating an 1860s one-room schoolhouse museum.

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