About the State Historical Society > News > 2011

State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release May 6, 2011

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

Celebrate Iowa Museum Day at State Historical Building May 14

Event features music, crafts, art/writing contests and Historical Museum vault tours

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad has proclaimed May 14 as “Iowa Museum Day” and Iowans are invited to the State Historical Building to celebrate the day.

“Museum Mayhem” will be 11 a.m.-3 p.m. May 14, 2011, at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. The event is free and open to the public, and includes vault tours of the State Historical Museum’s permanent collection. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.

“Every county in Iowa is home to historical societies and museums with art and history collections,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Mary Tiffany Cownie said. “These venues are tremendous assets to their communities because they provide education and outreach, generate tourism revenue and jobs, and contribute to the overall quality of life in our state. I encourage Iowans to visit the State Historical Building or their local museum to enjoy all they have to offer.”

A 2011 survey of 174 Iowa museums – about half of all Iowa museums – found that they maintain 5.4 million artifacts, employ 1,464 individuals and depend upon 28,416 volunteers, according to the Iowa Museum Association.

Surveyed Iowa museums served 4.2 million visitors in 2010 and provided 11,105 public programs. Those museums participating in the survey had a total operating budget of $57 million in 2010, portions of which derived from individuals, community, county, state and federal sources.

The schedule of activities for “Museum Mayhem” at the State Historical Building follows:

My State of Iowa
11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Children will take part in a craft that involves showing what they love most about Iowa. They will glue and color various pictures inside a silhouette of Iowa and display their work on museum walls. Heritage Classrooms A and B.

Museum Mayhem Mad-Lib
11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Children will write an essay and create a mad-lib about their favorite museum. Entries will be displayed in the museum. Near Heritage Classroom A.

Ambassador Tours
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Museum ambassadors will provide hands-on activities in exhibits. Includes petting animal furs, viewing artifacts and creating pictographs with stamps.

Flying Pig Fiddle and Banjo Band
11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Flying Pig Fiddle and Banjo Band will play two sets while incorporating the audience onto the stage. Atrium Grand Staircase.

Historical Museum Vault Tours
Noon and 2 p.m.
Curators will lead tours of the State Historical Museum’s permanent collection, which is kept in a subterranean, climate-controlled storage vault beneath the State Historical Building. Participants will be required to sign up on a first-come, first-serve basis and acquire a ticket. A sign-up table will be in the museum atrium near the information desk. Sign-up begins at 9 a.m. The first tour is at noon; the second tour is at 2 p.m. Each tour will last approximately 45 minutes.

Mammoth Presentation
12:30 p.m.
Museum Education staff will present information about the “Mammoth: Witness to Change” exhibit. Standing nearly 12 feet tall and just over 20 feet long, the Hebior Mammoth is considered the most complete skeleton of its kind found in the upper Midwest.

History Hunters
12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Discover the hidden treasures that can be found in the State Historical Library, Special Collections, and State Archives. This “show-and-tell” of historical and genealogical gems will be led by Librarian Shari Stelling. Meet at the Library and Archives Reading Room entrance on 2E.

In addition, the Iowa Museum Store will be open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Café Baratta’s will have snacks and other foods available for purchase.


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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