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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 28, 2005

UI, Public Library To Host Landscape History Workshop Dec. 3

The University of Iowa's Iowa Project on Place Studies and the Iowa City Public Library will launch the second annual Irving B. Weber Chautauqua Series with a free, public workshop, "Landscape History:  Telling the Story of Your Land," on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. in meeting room A at the library.

Presented by Chris Bair, Director of Iowa Valley Resource Conservation & Development's Land Stewardship Program, the workshop will focus on the numerous resources available to help participants discover the unique cultural and natural history found in every acre of Iowa land. These resources include the original land surveys conducted prior to settlement, population censuses, agricultural censuses, historic aerial photos and more. This presentation will offer an introduction to these resources and offer examples of stories that can evolve from landscape history research.

Thomas Dean, an adjunct assistant professor of literature, science and the arts, and special assistant to President David Skorton, said the Irving B. Weber Chautauqua Series was started last year as a way to honor Iowa City's celebrated historian year-round. The annual series includes three events -- one in December around Weber's birthday, one in the spring and the annual Weber Lecture in August as part of Irving B. Weber Days.

"The events are wide-ranging and accessible to the general public, hence our use of the term 'chautauqua'," said Dean, who is a co-founder of the Iowa Project on Place Studies. "They focus on local and regional history and culture, in the spirit of Irving Weber keeping the stories of our place alive. Some will be more traditional lectures, but the rest is limited only by our imagination."

The Weber Chautauqua series is an example of the kinds of University/community collaborations for the benefit of the general public that UI President David Skorton has called for in the Year of Public Engagement, during which the University community is intensifying its efforts and sharpening its focus on engagement with the public and public issues at the local, state, national, and international levels. More information is online,

The Iowa Project on Place Studies is an interdisciplinary group of UI faculty and staff who study the concept of place and its manifestations worldwide and who foster collaborative projects with local, state and regional communities.

Dean said Weber was not only Iowa City's official historian -- he himself is an indelible part of the city's history. In 2003, the city erected a statue of Weber, waving a greeting to passersby, at the intersection of Iowa Avenue and Linn Street.

"Anyone who has lived in Iowa City for even a short amount of time knows who Irving Weber was -- the city's official historian, a man of generous talents and long memory who has helped define our community for over a century now," Dean said. "His historical columns from the Iowa City Press-Citizen remain in circulation through the Lions Club reprint books, an elementary school is named after him, and an annual community festival honors the local heritage he preserved."

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Thomas Dean in advance at 319-335-1995.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: Thomas Dean, 319-335-1995,