Foundation supports Historical Society

Dyersville Area Historical Society uses grant to preserve 170-year-old building

Maintenance of a historic property can be costly and time consuming. Thanks to a grant from the Dyersville Area Community Foundation, the Dyersville Area Historical Society receives an annual boost they can count on to help.

The grant will help make a great first impression for visitors to the Dyer-Botsford Historical & Doll Museum. The museum is in a 170-year-old house with an intricately detailed front porch handmade 30 years ago by volunteer Gib Nesler and many others.

“The porch is the first thing visitors see as they stop to tour our beautiful museum,” says manager Christy Deutmeyer. The house was built by Dyersville founder James Dyer Jr., and houses vintage items from the Dyer family as well as items from the Abel Botsford family, who owned or lived in the house for around 105 years. It also houses over 2,500 dolls. “Maintaining the building is a huge responsibility, and our endowment helps defray those costs.”

The Dula Scherrman Memorial Endowment for Dyersville Area Historical Society, a fund held by the Community Foundation, provides an annual payout that will support the nonprofit for generations to come. 

“We have plans to continue painting inside the house, as well as wrap outdoor windows and doors so we won't have to paint them every 6-8 years,” says Deutmeyer. “We have a collection of over 36,000 obituaries in binders that need attention, and will soon need to update our website and office technology.”  

Donors who make a gift of $50 or more to endowed funds at the Community Foundation are eligible for the generous Endow Iowa 25% state tax credit in addition to the federal deduction. 

“Our community is very supportive of our organization and has contributed to the endowment and our current projects,” says Deutmeyer, noting the generosity of local individuals, businesses and city government. “We appreciate all the support we receive to continue our mission of preserving the history of our area.”

To make a gift to the Dyersville Area Historical Society endowment, visit To learn more or volunteer, visit or contact Deutmeyer at 563-875-2504 or The museum is located at 331 1st Ave E in Dyersville. 

The Community Foundation works to ensure a strong future for the Dyersville Area, bringing people together to strengthen communities and improve quality of life in Dyersville, Earlville, Farley, Luxemburg, New Vienna, Petersburg, and Worthington. The Foundation hosts more than 20 nonprofit endowment funds, like the Historical Society’s, that provide a sustainable source of income to support organizations’ missions forever.  

“Building endowments creates permanent, locally controlled assets that support the work of local organizations and build their capacity to improve our region,” says Michelle Grover, the Foundation’s executive director. “We strengthen Dyersville area nonprofits—through funding, capacity-building and more—so they can make essential resources accessible to our entire community.”