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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release August 4, 2011

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

Historical Museum to receive Iowa Tartan Stone Friday

California biologist and stone carver Frank Maurer talks Scottish-American heritage

(DES MOINES) – A California biologist and stone carver will discuss Scottish-American heritage and present an Iowa Tartan Stone to the State Historical Museum Friday.

Frank Maurer will discuss his Scottish genealogy research and the intermingled history of Scotland and the United States during a presentation ceremony at noon Friday at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. As part of the program, Maurer will present to the State Historical Museum an Iowa Tartan Stone that celebrates the accomplishments of Scottish-Americans while depicting symbols related to Iowa history and culture.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Iowans to learn more about our historical connections to Scottish heritage,” Department of Cultural Affairs Director Mary Tiffany Cownie said. “Frank Maurer is traveling the country giving similar presentations and we are very pleased to welcome him to Iowa to discuss this fascinating topic.”

Dressed in a traditional Scottish kilt, Maurer will discuss the contributions of Scots throughout Iowa history and present the Iowa Tartan Stone, which he hand-carved using a mallet and chisel. He will also discuss the historical connections between Scotland and the United States, and the history and future development of National Tartan Day, which is celebrated April 6 annually.

Maurer holds a doctorate in vertebrate zoology and ecology from Cornell University and has been carving stones for several decades, after tracing his ancestral connections to the Picts of Scotland, the master Celtic stone carvers. He has donated Tartan Stones to South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, California, Idaho and Utah, with a goal of making one for each of the 50 states.

Maurer’s program is being offered in conjunction with the State Historical Museum’s “Friday Fest,” which is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and targeted to children ages 3-12. Activities include a scavenger hunt, Legos, Lincoln Logs and other games tied to the Museum’s “Swing & Sway: Iowa’s Electric Railways” exhibit.

Friday Fest and Maurer’s presentation are free and open to the public. Guests are welcome to bring their own lunch or order from Café Baratta’s in the Historical Building. Call 515-281-5111 or visit www.iowahistory.org for more information.

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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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