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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release June 17, 2009

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

Iowa Heritage license plate sales support student history program

National History Day program serves 10,000 Iowa students and teachers annually

(DES MOINES) – While 58 Iowa students visit Maryland this week to compete in the 2009 National History Day national contest, Iowans now have a new way to show their support for the educational program.

The State Historical Society of Iowa is encouraging Iowans to buy Iowa Heritage license plates to support the program. Proceeds will be directed to the Iowa Heritage Fund, which supplements SHSI’s educational programs.

“We are encouraging every Iowan, teacher and parent who believes in the value of a strong education to purchase an Iowa Heritage license plate in support of National History Day in Iowa,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Cyndi Pederson said.

National History Day is a unique, year-long academic-enrichment program that extends learning opportunities beyond the classroom and helps students research and study historical issues, ideas, people and events. SHSI is a division of DCA and has organized NHD in Iowa since 1994.

Each year, nearly 10,000 Iowa students and teachers utilize NHD programs and services in the classroom, while approximately 4,000 students choose to enter the competition phase of the program.

Working individually or collaboratively in groups of two to five, students conduct research using primary, secondary, community and statewide resources on a subject of their choice related to an annual theme.

They compete in several categories – papers, Web sites, and individual and group exhibits, documentaries and performances – at school, district and state contests to earn the opportunity to represent Iowa at the annual NHD national contest at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. This year’s national contest is June 14-18, 2009.

Iowa students have a strong track record at past national contests, earning top rankings, cash prizes and scholarships, including:

  • In 2007, when Matt Wolf of North Scott High School of Eldridge received a scholarship to the University of Maryland
  • In 2006, when Stephen Frese of Marshalltown High School won the NHD Grand Prize – a four-year, full scholarship to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, valued at $100,000

Overall, about 600,000 students across the country and U.S. territories participate in the program annually, and more than 5 million students have pursued careers in business, law, medicine and countless other disciplines where they are putting into practice what they learned through NHD.

To support NHD in Iowa, Iowans can apply for an Iowa Heritage license plate anytime – they do not have to wait until their plates expire – by filling out an application form available online at http://www.iowadot.gov/Mvd/ovs/plates/heritage.htm.

Applications may also be obtained from a county treasurer’s office or the following address:

Office of Vehicle Services
P.O. Box 9278
Des Moines, IA  50306-9278

Telephone:  515-237-3110
E-Mail:  vehser@dot.state.ia.us

Iowans will receive their Iowa Heritage license plates from their county treasurer’s office, which will notify them when the plates are ready to pick up.

Iowa Heritage license plates have the same basic design and color of regular license plates; display five characters – the letter “H” followed by four numbers; and are distinguished by the charming American Gothic House in Eldon and the words “Iowa Heritage.”

The initial cost is $35 in addition to the regular registration fee. In following years, there is a $10 annual renewal cost in addition to the regular registration fee. Individuals may purchase gift certificates for Iowa Heritage license plates from a county treasurer for $35. Thereafter the renewal fee is $10 per year.

Personalized Iowa Heritage license plates or gift certificates for them cost $60 and can be ordered from the Iowa Department of Transportation. The renewal fee in following years for personalized Iowa Heritage license plates is $15 per year.

More information about National History Day is available at www.nhd.org and www.iowahistory.org. NHD in Iowa is sponsored by National History Day, the State Historical Society of Iowa, State Historical Society, Inc., Iowa Historical Foundation, Obermann-Beck Foundation, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Alexander Clark House Foundation and the Polk County Historical Society.


The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa's historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa's past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa's historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.


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