Photo: Sherman’s Chimney Swifts’ Tower



The Althea R. Sherman Project



Our Mission and Goals and GoalLegacy

To preserve, protect, and promote the ornithological and artistic legacy of Althea R. Sherman

We recognize five major areas of interest that are vital to the integrity of rehabilitating and conserving Althea Sherman’s Chimney Swifts’ Tower, her written contributions, and to interpreting the vision of her life’s work. Reaching these goals will provide uniquely valuable and sustainable educational resources in history, culture, science, ornithology, natural history, art, literature, and women’s studies.

These goals, developed in 1993 and ratified in 2001 and reratified in 2006 include:

I. Collection of Althea R. Sherman's papers, art work, memorabilia, artifacts, and oral history

A. Locate, collect, catalogue, and preserve published and unpublished Sherman papers, articles, books, journals, correspondence, art work, and memorabilia.

B. Index and microfilm all written materials.

C. Locate, gather, catalogue, and duplicate photographs, preserving the originals.

D. Interview, tape-record and/or videotape still-living friends, relatives, and neighbors to deepen the historic and cultural record of Althea Sherman, her home, family, and work.

E. Acquire artifacts relating to Althea Sherman and her time.

F. Determine repository of materials and artifacts, preferably local.

G. Selectively publish or republish materials.

II. Siting and Rehabilitation of the Chimney Swifts' Tower

A. Locate the Tower on a site where Chimney Swifts are present or likely to be present.

B. Locate the Tower on a site which is historically appropriate to Althea Sherman, nature studies, and environmental education.

C. Rehabilitate the Tower in complete accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.

D. Landscape (bird sanctuary/laboratory, heritage gardens, etc.) in the spirit of the original Sherman Tower site, and provide for parking and walkways. Landscaping and facilities will be in compliance with ADA.

E. Provide liability and other insurance as needed.

F. Provide security and fire protection.

G. Nominate theTower for National Register of Historic Places and State Preserves Status.

H. Maintain Tower after it is rehabilitated.

I. Dedicate plaques at appropriate sites in or near National, Iowa.

J. Seek partnerships and/or public ownership of the Tower for future protection.

III. Research and Educational Uses of the Sherman Swifts' Tower

A. Make the Tower available for continued study of Chimney Swifts.

B. Use the Tower as focus of scientific, historical, and environmental education (note—the Tower qualifies as a museum piece).

C. Create a museum or interpretive and educational center which includes the Tower, archives, and bird sanctuary/laboratory.

D. Provide guided tours of the Tower to school children and the public.

E. Develop educational materials as needed.

F. Through microfilm and print, make the Sherman papers and the relevant works of others available to scholars, scientific and educational institutions, and the public.

G. Invite ornithologists, naturalists, historians, scientists, nature-writers, and artists for lectures, readings, workshops, and classes.

H. Create habitats and nest boxes in the manner of Althea Sherman to attract many bird species while educating about meeting specific species' needs.

I. Establish on-going research and education in bird behavior, nesting cycles, habitat requirements of specific species, bird feeding, bird identification, migration, etc.

J. Promote public awareness of the significant and beneficial role birds play in a healthy ecosystem.

IV. Fundraising

A. Hire a director to develop and coordinate all project activities.

B. Develop a well-organized fundraising campaign that includes efforts at the local, state, and national level through:

• Foundations, corporations

• Institute of Museum Services and other granting agencies

• Historic, scientific, educational, environmental, and women's interests

• Business and cultural community

• Direct mail

• Events

• Visitors/Tourism

• Media/PR

• Merchandise/Sales—calendars, notecards, books, videos, etc.

V. Create an administrative and financial framework to support goals throughout the lifespan of the resource

A. Hire staff (if necessary) to help carry out all project activities.

B. Build an endowment fund.

C. Create and implement an endowment fundraising campaign that includes efforts at local, state, and national levels. The campaign will make use of all available public and private sources of funding.


Photo: portrait of Althea R. Sherman

Althea Rosina Sherman

© Oberlin College Archives. Oberlin, Ohio

Contact Us
1033 E. Washington St   •   Iowa City, IA 52240-5248
319.668.1838   •

updated       11.8.12
Grafic: pen and ink drawing of Sherma’s Chimney Swifts’ Tower by William J. Wagner, AIA

Sherman’s Chimney Swifts' Tower

© William J. Wagner, FAIA (1965)