Get ready to learn more about local history with the Iowa City Public Library’s Weber Days.

Our annual celebration of local history is held every May in honor of Iowa City’s unofficial historian, the late Irving B. Weber. May also is National Historical Preservation Month. This year’s lineup of programming is perfect for anyone interested in learning more about the community they call home.

Preschool Storytime with Ellen Buchanan – Celebrate Children’s Book Week

Wednesday, May 3, 10:30 to 11 a.m. in the Storytime Room

Celebrate Weber Days and Children's Book Week enjoy this storytime with local native and legend Ellen Buchanan!

Music on Wednesdays @ICPL – Old Post Office Brass

Wednesday, May 3, noon to 1 p.m. in the Lobby

"Old Post Office Brass" reflects the home base in the Senior Center, formerly the Iowa City Post Office, and is a part of the New Horizons Band. This traditional brass quintet (two trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba) performs a large variety of music, including classical, ragtime, Dixieland and popular (show tunes, etc.) for audiences in different venues.

University Town, Union Town – An Introduction to Iowa City and Johnson County Labor

Wednesday, May 3, 7 to 8 p.m. in Meeting Room A

John W. McKerley, oral and public historian at the University of Iowa Labor Center's Iowa Labor History Oral Project, will give an introduction to the labor history of Iowa City and Johnson County.

Voxman and Eble – Iowa City’s Music Men

Wednesday, May 10, 7 to 9 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Himie Voxman and Charlie Eble travelled throughout the United States and Europe, collecting sheet music for arrangement, study, and sale in Iowa City. Voxman collected copies of neglected music manuscripts from European archives, while Eble made important contacts with dealers to bring the latest musical repertoire to the University of Iowa School of Music and local musicians. This talk by Katie Buehner, head of the Rita Benton Music Library, will examine their work. The Voxman 5, a woodwind quintet of UI staff members, will perform.

The Plain and Colorful Story of Feed Sacks

Monday, May 15, 7 to 8 p.m. in Meeting Room A

For nearly 100 years, cotton bags (also known as feed sacks) were used to transport products that ranged from agricultural feed and seed to ballots, auto parts, and hams. Their evolution from white, strictly utilitarian textiles to stylish dress-print fabrics parallels recognition by manufacturers of women's influence on their family's purchases. Linzee Kull McCray will share stories and images from her book “Feed Sacks: The Colourful History of a Frugal Fabric,” which brings together tales of hardship, resilience, and social and economic forces with more than 850 historic photos and images of vintage fabrics, advertising, and more.

Why Save an Old Barn?

Wednesday, May 17, 7 to 8 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Secrest 1883 Octagonal Barn in rural Johnson County is one of the oldest and largest round barns in the United States. In the process of restoring the barn, current owner Rich Tyler, a professor in the Departments of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and Speech Pathology and Audiology at the University of Iowa, has researched the history behind the property, including the golden age of farming, the Great Depression, and the architecture of barns. He'll share the story of the barn's preservation, thanks in part to the individuals and organizations that rallied around the barn. He'll also discuss how you can save your own barn, and what old barns may mean to future generations who grow up without them.


Thursday, May 18, 3 to 4 p.m. in the Storytime Room

Don't just learn science- DO science with the Iowa City Science Booster Club. In honor of Irving B. Weber, we’ll learn about the science of ice cream and make some to share.

The Jefferson Hotel and Murals of Mildred Pelzer

Wednesday, May 24, 7 to 9 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Sean Ulmer, Executive Director of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, will present a lecture on Mildred Pelzer's Jefferson Hotel murals. Two of the murals are on loan to the Iowa City Public Library and the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center during the renovation of Longfellow Elementary School. J Patrick White, who organized the loan and Chris Pisarik, Longfellow Elementary School Principal, will also speak.

Irving B. Weber Storytime

Thursday, May 25, 10:30 to 11 a.m. in the Storytime Room

Come learn about Irving B. Weber’s fascinating historical connections to Iowa City, including his local history bus tours, his swimming career at the University of Iowa and his days as an ice cream maker!

History Walks – The Pest House in Hickory Hill Park

Saturday, May 27, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Hickory Hill Park

Join us for a nature walk in Hickory Hill Park, where we will visit the spot where the Pest House was located. Pest Houses were used to house patients suffering from small pox; this house was used in the early 1900s. We will meet at the Conklin Lane parking lot (800 Conklin Lane) at 11 a.m., and then proceed to the site. The walking portion will be at least 30 minutes round trip, it includes some hills, and is of a moderate difficulty.

Little Village, Big Progress

Wednesday, May 31, 7 to 9 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Celebrate more than 15 years of independent publishing with Little Village. The twice monthly publication has been in print since July 2001.

In addition to these programs, the Library’s May classes for adults will focus on personal history, from genealogy and military records research, to exploring local history resources at ICPL. Visit for more information and to register for classes.

For more information about Weber Days, call the Library at 319-356-5200.

Date of publication

Thursday, April 27, 2017