The mission of The History Center is to provide a unique community resource that preserves and shares the stories of our past, and connects people of all ages to the present and future of Linn County. We are dedicated to connecting the past to the present and future of Linn County and are passionate about making our history both accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

Our History

We began in 1969 as the Linn County Historical Museum Association, formed by several local residents who were interested in permanently preserving the history of Linn County. These charter members valued the diverse heritage of the land and people of Linn County and sought to preserve and celebrate its stories. At first, artifacts were stored in volunteers’ homes. We have come a long way since then! The first museum was located at Eighth Ave and First Street in Cedar Rapids. In the 1990’s we became a professionally accredited museum and named that museum “The History Center.” The organization officially became the Linn County Historical Society.


In 1997, a capital campaign began to build a new museum at the recently purchased site at First Ave and Sixth Street in downtown Cedar Rapids. The site was formerly Rapids Chevrolet. The new museum was officially opened on June 15, 1999.

The History Center became The Carl & Mary Koehler History Center in 2004, honoring the Koehler’s significant financial contributions.

After careful consideration in 2014, the board of The History Center decided to purchase the Douglas Mansion, which had been donated by the Linge family to the city of Cedar Rapids. The opening of this new location in 2018 will be a new opportunity for The History Center to provide quality programming and exhibits within a building that is a historic treasure itself.


Learn more about the Douglas Mansion