About the State Historical Society > News > 2011

State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release March 2, 2011

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

State Historical Society of Iowa sets Spring Break event schedule

March 17: “Irish Fest”
March 18-19: “Sing-A-Long Sound of Music”
March 19: “Historical Discovery Discussions”

(DES MOINES) – The State Historical Society of Iowa today announced a 2011 Spring Break event schedule that includes everything from shamrocks and leprechauns to edelweiss and lederhosen… and green beverages and a discussion about Iowa’s favorite stories, songs and memories, too.

The schedule includes the third annual “Irish Fest” March 17, the campy “Sing-A-Long Sound of Music” March 18-19, and “Voices from Iowa’s Past: Story, Memory & Songs” March 19. The events will be at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. More information is available at www.iowahistory.org or 515-281-5111.

In addition, the State Historical Museum will be open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday, March 14, 2011. The museum’s regular hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and Noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday.

The State Historical Society of Iowa’s 2011 Spring Break event schedule follows:

Irish Fest
March 17, 2011 – 1-4 p.m.
The third annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival, “Irish Fest,” is free and open to the public. Presented by the State Historical Museum, the event is sponsored by Downtown Community Alliance, Café Baratta’s, Metro Arts Alliance, Irish Clan of Des Moines and A Celtic Tradition Shop. Contact Maureen Korte at maureen.korte@iowa.gov or 515-281-4132 for more information. Location: Multiple areas in the State Historical Building.


Audiences will hear traditional and original Irish and Scottish music from Four Shillings Short, and see the MacKenzie Highlanders Pipes and Drums and students from the Foy School of Traditional Irish Dance perform. They can also learn Ceili dancing with dancer and choreographer Janice Baker.

Bev Ellis will offer Irish crafts and arts for children; Leanne Otting of Airbrush Creations will do body art; and the Weavers and Spinners Guild of Des Moines will spin and talk about the fabrics of Ireland and weaving.

Lynn Alex of the Office of the State Archaeologist will present a virtual tour of Viking and Medieval Dublin, Ireland, archaeological sites, and Theresa Liewer of the Iowa Genealogical Society will present “Researching Your Irish Roots” for people interested in tracing Irish heritage.

In addition, Devin van Hosteijn and harp and vocal duo Aran’s Daughters will perform in Café Baratta’s, which will serve Irish fare – Reuben wraps, corned beef and cabbage, Irish Stew, green beer and more – at multiple locations throughout the Historical Building.

More information about activity times and locations is available at www.iowahistory.org.


The “Iowa & the Irish” exhibit will be on display at the State Historical Museum throughout March, inspired by the thousands of Irish who left their birthplace to seek new homes in Iowa in the 1800s. The largest number of Irish immigrants arrived in 1851 during Ireland’s potato famine. Those who settled in Iowa helped found many towns, including Dubuque and Clinton.

The exhibit includes a James II gun money coin, melted from a cannon; a beautiful glass bottle from the famous Waterford Crystal company; a collection of postcards dating to the early 1900s that express the Irish-Americans’ Irish pride; a 37-star American flag with a green silk Irish harp symbol sewn in the center; commemorative coins; a poster from Dublin’s sister city, Emmetsburg, Iowa; and much more.

Sing-A-Long Sound of Music
March 18, 2011 – 7 p.m.
March 19, 2011 – 1 p.m.
Participants are invited and encouraged to sing along with Maria and the Trapp Family Singers during two screenings of the Oscar-winning film based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical, “The Sound of Music.”

Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children 12 and younger, seniors 65 and older, and State Historical Society of Iowa members. Tickets will be available at the door one hour prior to show time. Bil Baird’s marionettes that were featured in the film will be on display. Contact Sarah Oltrogge at sarah.oltrogge@iowa.gov or 515-281-4011 for more information. Location: State Historical Building’s Cowles-Kruidenier Auditorium.


Adored by fans around the world and winner of five Academy Awards® including Best Picture, “The Sound of Music” (1965) is the most popular movie musical of all time.

Directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, it is that rare and perfect combination of story, songs and setting, filmed in the breathtaking Austrian Alps and fairy tale city of Salzburg. With a score by Rodgers and Hammerstein, “The Sound of Music” itself is inspired by the true-life story of Maria von Trapp and the Trapp Family Singers.

“Sing-A-Long Sound of Music” includes subtitles during song selections in the sing-a-long version of the fully restored feature with classic songs that have delighted fans for decades, such as “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things,” “The Sound of Music,” “Edelweiss,” and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”


The Museum will also have on display March 12-24, 2011, a selection of Bil Baird marionettes featured in the film. On loan from their permanent home at the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum in Mason City, the marionettes were produced and performed by Baird in the famous puppetry sequence, “The Lonely Goatherd,” in the film version of “The Sound of Music.”

Baird (1904-1987) lived in Mason City as a teenager and graduated from the University of Iowa and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.

During a career spanning 60 years, Baird and his “little friends,” as he called them, touched the lives of millions of people as they worked the nightclubs, city streets, Broadway stages, World’s Fairs, television, Hollywood films, his own New York City puppet theater and other venues.

His creative legacy and accomplishments are recognized and preserved at the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum where the largest holdings of the artist/performer’s work, to be found anywhere, are on display in the “Bil Baird: World of Puppets” exhibit.

Historical Discovery Discussions
March 19, 2011 – 10:30 a.m.
The State Historical Library presents “Voices from Iowa’s Past: Story, Memory & Songs” as part of its Historical Discovery Discussions series. The event is free, and participants are encouraged to share information about their favorite Iowa-related songs, stories and memories. Location: State Historical Library & Archives Reading Room.

Librarian Susan Jellinger will lead the discussion, and sheet music, audio tapes, photographs, scrapbooks, storybooks, diaries and journals from the State Historical Library and Special Collections will be on display.

Contact Jellinger at susan.jellinger@iowa.gov or 515-281-6897 for more information.


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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