Des Moines

Phone: (515) 327-8860
Email: AskRosaSnyder@gmail.com

Rosa Snyder is a graduate of Iowa State University with degrees in child development, art education, and interior design with additional history courses from Drake University and Iowa Wesleyan College.  She taught art in Ames, Iowa and worked as a design consultant and artist for the Meredith and Hearst Publishing Companies. In addition, she did design work for several area churches, commercial enterprises, and at private residences.  After receiving an apprenticeship grant from the Iowa Arts Council, Rosa was hired as a state restoration painter—scaled 20-foot scaffold in white bib overalls—and helped re-create the intricate designs hidden under layers of paint on the ceilings and walls of Iowa's State Capitol. Rosa is the only woman in the history of the building hired for this position.  After retirement, she gave tours of the building to thousands of visitors, and later engaged as a “history detective” for the state and architectural firms who were restoring the building to its original grandeur. IPTV employed her as a researcher for their production of the video/DVD This Old Statehouse, which covers many aspects of its history and restoration.  Rosa is the author and publisher of the unique souvenir book Glimpses of Iowa's Capitol (2005). For the past several years Rosa has been researching old towns, traveling around Iowa to explore these old sites, taking photographs, and interviewing some of the people who still live in the area.  

Glimpses of Iowa’s Capitol: Its History, Art, Architecture and Restoration

Join former state restoration painter, Rosa Snyder, as she divulges untold stories and reveals hidden treasures of Iowa’s most recognized landmark. When the building was constructed back in the 1870s-1880s almost every one of the 120 rooms was decorated with intricate designs on the ceilings and walls. Over time many of the motifs were covered with paint and audiences are amazed this happened and ask why. Starting in the 1980s it was decided to uncover and recreate these elaborate designs. During this presentation, several aspects of restoration will be explained in detail: the discovery process, necessary tools, varieties of paints, types of gold leaf, and different step-by-step application techniques. Additionally, a number of before and after photos of several rooms will be revealed and photos of one-of-a-kind artwork created by well-known artists and placed throughout the building shared. The audience will learn about little known historical facts and view photographs of areas not normally seen by visitors.

Equipment Required: screen, darkened room, 6 ft. table and microphone.

Off the Map: Stories of Abandoned and Disappearing Towns Around Iowa

Thousands of towns and communities were established during Iowa’s pioneer and railroad era. In some instances, they were small towns built around the time of the height of a coal industry that just could not thrive while others supplemented the needs of the countless farmers, and still others were established for very different reasons. Many existed for a few years, some slowly faded away over time, and a few never existed except as “paper” towns. Regardless of why they originated or why they diminished, each community has its own unique story…Towns are truly windows to our past and have helped form the history of our state. Discovering and learning about them helps to keep their names and memories from oblivion…Take a tour around Iowa exploring a sampling of these idiosyncratic communities in photographs and stories. 
Directions and a brief description of each town will be made available.

Presentation # 1—Towns include:  Dale City, woolen mill town—Guthrie County, Indiantown, Mormon settlement—Cass County, Liberty Center, pioneer town—Warren County, Marietta, former county seat—Marshall County, Monroe City, state capital candidate—Jasper County, Ortonville, circus village—Dallas County, and Zook Spur, coal mining town—Dallas County.

Presentation # 2—Angus, coal mining town—Boone/Greene County—Mahaska County, Cooper, railroad town—Greene County, Herndon, railroad town—Guthrie County, Iowa Center, state capital hopeful—Story County, Mitchell, railroad town hopeful—Mitchell County, Monti religious/ethnic village—Buchanan County.

Equipment required: screen, projector, and computer or (use presenter’s projector and computer), darkened room and microphone.