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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 26, 2007

UI, Public Library to host discussion on Johnson County Historical Society

The University of Iowa's Iowa Project on Place Studies and the Iowa City Public Library will present a free talk and public discussion, "40 Years of Collecting the Past: Stories from the Johnson County Historical Society," at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3 in Meeting Room A at the library as part of the Irving B. Weber Chautauqua Series.

Shaner Magalhães, executive director of the Johnson County Historical Society, will present a multimedia sampling of unique stories and anecdotes of the organization's collecting and educational efforts over the years. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the society.

The society was initially formed to recognize and educate the community about the Mormon Handcart Expeditions of 1856 and 1857, but the founders soon decided to broaden the organization's mission to focus on preserving manifestations of Johnson County's rich history.

Prior to working with the society, Magalhães was a bureau chief and division administrator with the State Historical Society of Iowa. In addition to his work with the two organizations, he has been very active in the community, serving on numerous boards, including the Iowa City Public Library Board of Trustees; engaging in many community service activities; and staying active with several Chamber of Commerce committees.

The Irving B. Weber Chautauqua Series was started as a way to honor Iowa City's celebrated historian year-round. The series includes three events each year, one in December near Weber's birthday, one during the annual spring Irving B. Weber Days festival, and one in the summer or early fall.

Thomas Dean, director of the Iowa Project on Place Studies, adjunct assistant professor of literature, science and the arts, and special assistant to UI President Sally Mason, said Weber was not only Iowa City's official historian but an indelible part of the city's history.

The Iowa Project on Place Studies is an interdisciplinary group of UI faculty and staff that studies the concept of place and its manifestations worldwide and fosters collaborative projects with local, state and regional communities. More information is available online at

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to participate in this program, contact 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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Thomas Dean, 319-335-1995,; Stephen Pradarelli, University News Services, 319-384-0007,