Altoona 2030

Altoona 2030

A historical society for the future

We are looking to the future. New ideas, projects, and exhibits! In 2020 we started thinking about where our organization was headed in the future.

The Altoona Area Historical Society is nearly 20 years old, and a lot has changed. But, where will Altoona be in 2030? How will our organization be serving the city and its residents in 2030 and beyond?

This is where we need your help! We want your ideas of what you would like to see from us, and how we can better serve you. What would you like to see in our city’s museum? It is a perfect time to start this discussion as the revitalization effort in Olde Town gets underway.

We kicked off the initiative on February 8, 2021, with a brainstorming meeting. This meeting helped us get ideas from our members, and residents of Altoona to help better shape the organization for the future, and determine the next steps. We then worked with the Iowa Museum Association to conduct a community survey and implement a strategic plan for the future of the organization. New bylaws were created and voted on in January 2022, and a newly expanded Board of Directors was elected.

Next steps


To help plan and execute the ideas brought forward in the program, and to address areas of the organization and our facilities that need attention, three committees will be set up. More committees will be created as needed to help execute the mission of the Altoona 2030 program.

Programming – This committee will come up with programs and events for the organization. While we navigate life during the COVID-19 pandemic, this will be our most visible change. Ideas include virtual tours of the museum, programs on topics related to history, or Zoom panels. As we emerge from the pandemic, more events and in-person programs will be added.

Bylaws – The current bylaws of the Altoona Area Historical Society have not been updated in more than a decade. This committee will draft and recommend suggestions for amending the current bylaws to better align with how the organization operates now, and to prepare the organization for the future.

Facilities – This committee will identify issues currently facing the organization’s facilities, and find ways to address those, while also preparing for the future. The current museum facility is about 150 years old, and renovations are needed. Some issues and potential resolutions are listed below. To make this happen, the organization would like to find a way to use the facilities to help raise money to sustain itself. These ideas include event rental space or the addition of a coffee shop or retail space.

Issues currently facing the society’s facilities:

    • Current Facility Issues
      • Sinking upstairs floor
      • Front of building deteriorating
      • Upstairs wall plaster deteriorating
      • Outdated bathroom (not handicap accessible)
      • Limited access to the second floor (not handicap accessible)
      • The entrance to the building is difficult to find
      • Not enough space for storage, events, and rental space
    • Potential changes
      • Add a coffee shop or retail to the main floor
        • This could bring additional income for the organization for future additions, programs, or renovations. 
        • This would allow for the museum to be open on a daily basis, bringing more exposure to the historical society and museum. 
      • Interior renovation
        • Repair section of the floor sinking on the second floor.
        • Repair deteriorating plaster on the second floor.
      • Restore the front of the museum
        • Addresses the deterioration of the front of the building.
        • Provides a clear entryway into the museum.
        • Historically accurate look to the front of the building, restoring the building to how it looked when it was built. 
      • Rear addition
        • Add handicap accessible/updated restrooms (the current restroom could be removed for more room in the current building).
        • Elevator for handicap access to the second floor.
        • Safer stairway to the second floor.
        • Additional storage space.
      • Second location
        • Additional space for the collection, including items that are a better fit for a house museum. 
        • Provides multiple inside and outside event rental spaces.
        • Provides room for educational classes.
        • Could serve as the home of arts and culture for the city as a museum that not only features history, but also art and gardening, while preserving a historically significant building in Altoona.