Dedicated at the Iowa Centennial State Fair in 1939 to commemorate the Iowa Territory’s organization as a separate government unit in 1839, the spacious 4-H Exhibits Building was originally built as the Poultry Industries Building. Constructed as part of a post-Depression Public Works Administration program at a cost of $125,000, the 49,000-square-foot masonry and steel building features extensive clerestory windows and elaborate stone carvings on its exterior.
In 2012, a west entrance was added to the building. It has been a showcase for outstanding 4-H member achievements since the mid-1960s and is also used year-round for a variety of off-season events
In 2018, the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation received the single-largest individual gift in the organization’s history, a $10 million donation from the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation. Six million was used to renovate the 4-H Building, while $4 million supported the Foundation’s endowment, Our Fair’s Future.
The 4-H Building was renovated from top to bottom with new lighting, floors and updated restrooms. A portion of the south exterior wall was removed, creating space for a new kitchen facility, storage area and loading bays. An expansion to the west added classroom space.