About Us

Our Past

Fifty years ago, on the 30th of November 1964, over fifty Shelby County citizens met at Gaillard Heflin's home to discuss the organization of a county historical society in order to preserve and share Shelby County's history for future generations. The group met again on the 25th of January 1965 and officially founded the Shelby County Historical Society. Since our founding the Shelby County Historical Society has grown to include two exhibit buildings and two historic log cabins.

Our Mission

Preserve and share the history of rural Iowa.

Our Values


We will make history accessible to everyone: economically, physically, and intellectually.


We will be transparent and careful stewards of our recourses because they are vital to the continuation of our museum.


We will support audiences while they learn, contemplate, and discuss history and its relevance to current events.


We will ensure that all voices and experiences are represented within the staff, board of directors, and museum.


We will purposefully engage with local organizations because we believe in the power of working together.

Board of Directors

President: Tim Palmer

Vice-President: Mary Petersen

Secretary: Elaine Baughman

Treasurer: Dallas Klindt

Board Members:

Rich Ohlinger

David Gaul

Kathy Goede

Ted Johnson

Cathy Sidman

Reid Mosher


Executive Director: Sarah McDonald

Collections Assistant: Alex Ellis


Joe Buman

Melissa Dinesen

Julienne Ferry

Jan Goeser

About Shelby County

Shelby County Parks

Prairie Rose State Park

Dinesen Prairie Wildlife Area

Elk Horn Recreation Area

Manteno Park

Nishna Bend Recreation Area

Oak Ridge Wildlife Area

Reining River Access

Rosman Glendale Farm Recreation Area

Schimerowski Recreation Area

Upper 'Nish' Habitat Area

Rosenow Timber

Shelby County Museums

Museum of Danish America

Panama One Room Schoolhouse

Danish Windmill

The Shelby County Historical Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1964. This four building complex is located at 1805 Morse Avenue Harlan, Iowa 51537.

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