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Wells Fargo and Community Leaders Announce Plans for New History Museum in Downtown Des Moines (DSM)

November 10, 2015

Wells Fargo, the Downtown Community Alliance, the Greater Des Moines Partnership and City of Des Moines today announced plans for a new historical museum in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). The Wells Fargo History Museum will be the 12th of its kind nationwide and will be located in the Wells Fargo bank lobby in the Financial Center building at 666 Walnut St.

Admission to the museum will be free. The 5,500-square-foot museum is expected to open in fall 2016 and attract more than 25,000 visitors annually. Exhibits will include a full-size Wells Fargo stagecoach, historical and interactive new-media displays.

“Wells Fargo and its predecessor companies have a long and rich history in Des Moines and Iowa,” said Don Pearson, Wells Fargo regional president. “We’re happy to announce that history is going to come to life next year in Iowa’s first Wells Fargo History Museum.”

The museum will be built to tell the story of both Wells Fargo and local history. Upon its anticipated opening sometime in the fall of 2016, the museum is expected to be a popular destination for school groups and other organizations. Wells Fargo’s 11 museums nationwide welcomed a record number of 600,000 visitors in 2014, which included 1,000 school groups and 25,000 students.

“It is our great pleasure to welcome the Wells Fargo History Museum to downtown Des Moines,” said Jay Byers, Greater Des Moines Partnership CEO. “It is a significant attraction that showcases our vibrant region on the national stage. Wells Fargo is central Iowa’s largest employer, and this museum will honor the deep tradition and history that unites the company and the central Iowa region.”

The capital investment Wells Fargo is making in the construction and development of the museum is seen as another example of the company’s commitment to metropolitan Des Moines. Wells Fargo has 14,000 team members in the region, its third-highest concentration of team members in any market throughout the country.

“The museum is a capstone of our Walnut Street revitalization plans, which include parallel on-street parking spaces, LED lighting, benches, and planters and new landscaping along with shopping, restaurants, and apartment living,” said Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie. “Walnut Street will become a major lifestyle destination, and this museum is a significant part of that.”

The museum will be the first one Wells Fargo has opened since 2011, when it added history museums in Philadelphia and Charlotte.  An architect is expected to be named in the coming weeks and construction is expected to begin in early 2016.

Wells Fargo’s San Francisco-based Historical Services team has already been to Iowa to begin collecting artifacts and to meet with several sources to learn about the company’s history here as well as the history of the community.  That team will work for the next several months to determine what stories and displays to include in the museum, all while the physical design and construction is happening simultaneously in the Financial Center building.

“With Wells Fargo Home Mortgage located in West Des Moines and several other business lines having a large presence here, our company has a rich history in Iowa spanning nearly 150 years,” Pearson said.  “We can’t wait to share the history of our company and our community through the artifacts and interactive displays that will be part of this new museum.” 

Read more about the Des Moines museum on Wells Fargo Stories, and learn more about other Wells Fargo History Museums around the country.

Contacts: Sophia S. Ahmadsahmad@DSMpartnership.com; (515) 286-4919
                   Steve Carlson; steven.r.carlson@wellsfargo.com; (515) 245-8289

About Wells Fargo 

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.8 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through 8,700 locations, 12,800 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2015 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.

About the Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,100 Regional Business Members and more than 330 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.