Iowa trivia expert brings “Iowa Trivia Challenge” to museum on Monday

JEFFERSON, Iowa, Feb. 19, 2020 — We’ll find out how well everybody knows their Iowa history and culture on Monday, Feb. 24, when Jessica Rundlett of the State Historical Society of Iowa brings her “Iowa Culture Trivia Challenge” to Jefferson for a free program at 2 p.m. at the Greene County Historical Museum.

The program is a collaboration by the Greene County Iowa Historical Society and the Jefferson Public Library.

Rundlett is coordinator of special projects and outreach for the state historical group. She helped see that the “Iowa History 101” mobile museum brought its remarkable exhibits to Jefferson last summer during the Bell Tower Festival.

A native of Vinton in east central Iowa, Rundlett knows Iowa trivia well. She twice won the “Van & Bonnie All-Iowa Trivia Bee” held by the morning show co-hosts on WHO radio in Des Moines.

Jessica Rundlett with her two championship trophies from the Van & Bonnie trivia contests.

“I love Iowa and I love Iowa history,” said Rundlett. “I got my love of the state from my parents – so shout-out to Bill & Deb Rundlett, who are still there in the same house where I grew up in Vinton. Dad is a trucker, and so he traveled all over the state and got interested in the people and places. That led to our family – I’m the oldest of the three kids – going on lots of car trips around the state. I can remember one time we were heading from Vinton to Yankton, South Dakota, and it took us two days because there were so many things along the way we wanted to stop and see.”

She’s learned a lot traveling Iowa by bicycle, too, as she is one of the state’s most avid cyclists.

After graduating in politics, history and international business from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Rundlett earned a master’s of teaching at Simpson College. She joined the State Historical Society staff eight years ago. Five years ago, that organization developed an “Iowa Culture” app for easy-access to information about state attractions on smart phones and computers.

“When we were doing that Iowa Culture app and had all that information readily available, that’s when we put together the ‘Iowa Culture Trivia Challenge’ and started taking it around the state,” she said.
When she presents the challenge, like she will be doing in Jefferson on Monday afternoon, “usually there are one or two people in the group really know Iowa well, and everybody else learns a lot,” she said. “And we all have fun.”

The program at the museum will include free refreshments.

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How many courthouse structures have been built on the site of the current Greene County Courthouse?

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There have been three courthouses built where the Greene County Courthouse stands today.  Ground was broken on the current courthouse in November of 1915, the cornerstone was set in May 1916 and the new building was dedicated in October of 1917. The centennial celebration of the courthouse is already underway, with events being planned by the “Courthouse 100” committee, with support from the Greene County Historical Society.  You can learn more about the courthouse history and the celebration plans on the Facebook page “Courthouse 100: Greene County, Iowa.”

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