The Center for the History of Rural Iowa Education and Culture houses, collects, and maintains primary and secondary Rural School Collections documenting Iowa's rural education system from the late 19th Century to the mid-20th Century.
The Rural School Collections are:
- Rural School Records - Official records documenting Iowa's rural school system from the mid-19th through the mid-20th century as well as artifacts, ephemera, and other items relating to the history of rural education in the state. A database containing finding aids to the Rural School Records, organized by county name and keyword searchable, is available.
- History of Education Collections - The History of Education Collections at the Center for the History of Rural Iowa Education and Culture (CHRIEC) document and detail rural culture and education in the United States with particular emphasis on Iowa and the Midwest. The collections are wide in the breadth of subjects cover and include many examples of rural school student work, official school records, photographs, plays, realia, school souvenirs, teaching aids, certificates, personal papers, correspondence, and educational trade publications. A majority of the materials date from the late nineteenth century on up into the late twentieth century.
- Oral History Collection - The University of Northern Iowa's Museums has keeps an ongoing collection of oral history interviews with citizens who were involved in Iowa's rural school system. These recordings, which include the remembrances of pupils, teachers, and administrators, further develop the unique story of the country school in Iowa. The interviews are now part of the Center's collections, and transcripts of many of them are available in the reading room. Through the efforts of volunteers, we continue to record oral histories and make them available here.
- Historic Textbook Collection - over 500 textbooks dating from the early 19th century up through the mid 20th century that were used in the rural schools of Iowa.
- Realia Collection - includes chalkboards, metal lunch boxes and buckets, phonographs records, hand-held bells, charts, maps, pencil cases, Christmas and Valentine cards, and other ephemera.