Wells Fargo History Museum in Des Moines
Greater Des Moines Partnership CEO Jay Byers; Great Plains Lead Region President Don Pearson; Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan; Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds; Franklin Codel, head of Wells Fargo Consumer Lending; Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad; and Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie.

Iowa leaders welcome new Wells Fargo History Museum

State and local officials joined Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan in Des Moines, Iowa, to dedicate the company’s 12th history museum in the U.S.

November 15, 2016

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad joined Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan — and more than 100 other Wells Fargo team members and business and community leaders — Nov. 10 to officially dedicate the Wells Fargo History Museum in Des Moines, Iowa.

“We want Iowa kids to know about the wonderful history and heritage of our state — to come, get in a stagecoach, and see what it was like to travel back then,” Branstad said. “This museum offers them a great opportunity to learn more about Iowa through its exhibits.”

This is the 12th in a national network of museums that showcase Wells Fargo and U.S. history. The bank’s history with Iowa dates back to 1863.

Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan
Sloan celebrates Wells Fargo’s volunteerism and local investments at the Des Moines Wells Fargo History Museum’s grand opening.

Sloan said Wells Fargo is proud to celebrate Des Moines’ role as a crossroads of culture and commerce — and to invest in the city’s redevelopment.

“We believe that Wells Fargo is very much a main street bank,” Sloan said, “and when you’re a main street bank, you have to be very focused on the communities that you do business with.”

The museum’s downtown location makes it one of the future stops along the city’s new Art Route — a 6.6-mile painted connector path that will wind through Des Moines from the Iowa Capitol to Meredith Corporation. The free museum is expected to attract more than 25,000 visitors each year.

The 5,500-square-foot attraction includes an original Wells Fargo stagecoach, interactive displays chronicling Iowa’s roles in personal and mortgage lending, a rotating art gallery (a first for Wells Fargo museums), and the first “Wells Fargo wagon” — a tribute to Iowan Meredith Willson and his Broadway hit “The Music Man.” Other prominent Iowans featured include Jacob Levitt, who helped popularize personal lending, and Williard Beal, whose Iowa Securities Company eventually became Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. It’s still headquartered in West Des Moines.

Among the state and local dignitaries joining Branstad at the opening were Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Greater Des Moines Partnership CEO Jay Byers, and Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, who traced his own family’s ties with Wells Fargo to a business making harnesses for horses in the late 1800s.

Cownie said he will never forget a call he received at his office in 1993. It was his Wells Fargo banker, who wanted to touch base after hearing that flooding had put his company’s factory under water.

“I wouldn’t put my money anywhere but Wells Fargo,” Cownie said.

Museumgoers use a touchscreen exhibit to learn more about the Des Moines history museum
Tony Dickinson and his son Madden admire the Wells Fargo stagecoach
The “Wells Fargo wagon” on display in Des Moines in Des Moines
A $5 bill that’s part of the Des Moines Wells Fargo History Museum currency display
Laura and Riley Young admire the Wells Fargo History Museum’s scale
Child uses antique phone
A digital map experience exhibit — which includes a touchscreen and an interactive timeline — showcases Wells Fargo’s long history with Iowa.
Tony Dickinson, a Wells Fargo marketing manager, introduces his son Madden to the Wells Fargo stagecoach.
The museum features a Wells Fargo wagon like the one Iowan Meredith Willson made famous in “The Music Man.”
A national bank note produced after Wells Fargo and Nevada National Bank merged in 1905 to form Wells Fargo Nevada National Bank.
Wells Fargo Administrative Assistant Laura Young and her daughter, Riley, admire a scale like Wells Fargo used during the Gold Rush.
A Morse Code machine and several old phones show how much banking has changed.