About the State Historical Society > News > 2010

State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release May 12, 2010

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

Historical Museum opens “Going Places” exhibit Saturday

Exhibit explores horse-and-carriage history and transition to automobiles

(DES MOINES) – The State Historical Museum will be “Going Places” Saturday when it opens a National Endowment for the Humanities exhibit that explores society’s transition from horse-drawn carriages to automobiles.

“Going Places” opens Saturday, May 15, 2010, through Aug. 11, 2010, at the State Historical Museum, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free and open to the public. More information is available at www.iowahistory.org.

“This exhibit takes visitors back to a time when carriages – not cars – ruled the road,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Cyndi Pederson said. “I encourage all Iowans with an interest in the history of transportation to see this wonderful exhibit.”

Carriages – the forerunners of automobiles and trucks – were essential to American life in the 1800s. Carriages came in an assortment of sizes, shapes, and finishes, from the buckboard phaeton to the sidebar buggy to the booby hut.

Visitors to the Historical Museum will experience diverse artifacts – including a full-sized carriage, children’s carriages, and assorted harnesses and tack – that speak about society’s desire for travel, speed and new technology.

The exhibit also covers a broad range of questions: How were carriages made and repaired? Where were they sold, and who could afford them? The answers are surprising, and frequent parallels to today’s car culture make “Going Places” a fascinating journey.

“Going Places” explores the culture, evolution and eventual demise of horse-drawn transportation from the early 19th century, through the industrial revolution, and into the 1900s and the dawn of the automobile age.

“Going Places” was curated by William F. Ayres, director of collections and interpretation at the Long Island Museum of American Art, History, and Carriages. The exhibition has been made possible by NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance. Founded in 1972, Mid America is a nonprofit regional arts organization based in Kansas City, Missouri. For more information, visit www.maaa.org and www.nehontheroad.org.


The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa's historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa's past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa's historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.


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