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Hoyt Sherman Place is available for self-guided tours at no charge. Paid tours led by Hoyt Sherman Place docents are available.


Sign up for a tour curated for students during the school year or in the summer. Please register at least 2 weeks in advance for tours.


Tours and classes are available for Scouts with badge-earning opportunities. See the registration link for more details. Please register at least 3 weeks in advance for classes.


Hoyt Sherman Place is available for guided tours on select Mondays at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Register alone, or bring a group!

For any tour questions, including requests for alternate days of the week, please contact Janet Mootz at 515.452.0610 or by email using our contact form.


Hoyt Sherman Place is a historic location dating back to its creation in 1877. Not only was it the home to Hoyt Sherman, one of Des Moines’ founding fathers, but it also comprises the first art gallery in Des Moines (1907) and a historic theater (1923), both added by the Des Moines Women’s Club.

Find educational resources below to help your students discover the significance of this historic treasure.


PowerPoint and Study Guide
Lesson Overview

This lesson will explain why Hoyt Sherman decided to take a chance and leave his home to venture West to explore unknown lands in hopes of opportunity and prosperity.

When Hoyt Sherman arrived in 1848, the population of Des Moines was only 127. He took on many jobs and roles that helped Des Moines become a business and cultural center. He studied law and passed the Iowa Bar in 1849. He worked with other community leaders to establish post offices, schools, waterworks, banks, and railways. This gave Des Moines a strong infrastructure for increasing the population rapidly. The population increased to 22,000 in 1880 and 50,000 in 1890. His business and law background gave him the knowledge to create Equitable Life Insurance Company. This was a huge boost to the economy of Des Moines and helped to establish it as one of the insurance capitals of the world, which it remains to be to this day.

The Sherman family had a big impact on the United States during the mid-1800s. Other family members include Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, John Sherman, writer of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, Ohio Senator, and Secretary of Treasury, and Lampson Sherman, newspaper owner and mayor of Des Moines.


SS.2.20: History (Analyze)
SS.3.2: Supporting questions
SS.3.5: Conclusions
SS.3.16: Financial Literacy
SS.3.27: History (Immigration and Migration)

Venturing Into the Unknown PDF (slideshow)
Student Study Guide
Teacher Study Guide Companion


Samuel Hawkins Marshall (S.H.M.) and Margaret Byers donated a large collection of art, furniture, and artifacts to Des Moines Women’s Club in 1912. S.H.M. Byers was a Civil War Veteran, United States Consul-General to Switzerland and Italy, writer, and poet. This education piece will explore the man who contributed so much to Iowa and to the history of the United States.

Student Study Guide SHM Byers
Teacher Study Guide Companion SHM Byers


Des Moines Women’s Club started collecting art in 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair. Once they secured a meeting place at Hoyt Sherman Place in 1907, they built the first public art gallery in Des Moines. The women were true supporters of art and artists in the community.

Some of the artists in the collection include:

  • Otto Van Veen (Flemish artist and the teacher of Paul Peter Rubens)
  • Robert Reid
  • Thomas Moran
  • George Inness
  • Edwin Lord Weeks
  • Robert Schultze
  • Elihu Vedder
  • Charles A. Cumming
  • Clarence Baldwin
  • David John Gue

For best results, use this study guide while touring the Hoyt Sherman Place gallery.

Pick a Painting Student Study Guide
Pick a Painting Teacher Companion Guide


Hoyt Sherman Place includes an intimate theater, a historic mansion, and a majestic art gallery. The first structure was Hoyt Sherman’s family home. It was built in 1877. After his death in 1904, it was sold to the city of Des Moines, and in 1907, it became the “clubhouse” for Des Moines Women’s Club. They added the art gallery in 1907 and the theater in 1923.

The Mansion Study Guide will help explain some of the differences between Victorian architecture and the architecture of today.

Victorian Mansion Student Study Guide
Mansion Study Guide Teacher Companion

Schedule A Tour

Select Your Type of Tour Below

Members: Hoyt Sherman Place Members are eligible for one free tour per year. To redeem this offer and register for a tour, contact Janet Mootz at 515.452.0610 or by email using our contact form.

Guided tours are available on select Mondays at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Tours include Hoyt Sherman Place Mansion, Art Gallery, and Historic Theater. The tour duration is 60-90 minutes, and the charge is $5 per person. Please bring payment with you on the day of your tour.

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Contact Person*

School tours can be accommodated with at least two weeks notice. We can customize your visit for general history of Hoyt Sherman Place (1877 to today) or Hoyt Sherman Place Art Gallery (1907 to today). Tours can be scheduled Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM, and the duration is 60-90 minutes. $3.00 per person.

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Please have parent or Troop Leader fill out this form. We will send you a follow-up email with payment information.

First option: Art Classes are $200 for 8 Scouts and a Troop Leader. Each additional Scout is $25.
Second option: $30 per Scout, minimum 5 Scouts.

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Contact Person*
Would you like a tour of the gallery/​museum? ($5 per Scout)
If students bring a bag lunch, they can eat here. Would you like us to include space and time for lunch?**