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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release March 13, 2013

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

Borlaug artist begins residency at State Historical Museum Monday

Benjamin Victor creating statue of Norman Borlaug for U.S. Capitol

(DES MOINES) – The artist selected to create a statue of Norman Borlaug (1914-2009) for the U.S. Capitol Building begins a two-week residency at the State Historical Museum of Iowa Monday.

Benjamin Victor, commissioned last fall by the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Statue Committee, will be at the State Historical Museum March 18-28, 2013, to interact with Iowans and work on the statue. He will be located in the Museum’s “Saving Our Stuff” exhibition 10 a.m.-noon and 2-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 2-4 p.m. Sunday. The State Historical Museum is at 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Admission is free and open to the public.

“With March 25th being the 99th anniversary of Dr. Norman Borlaug’s birth, this was the perfect time to invite Benjamin here to interact with Iowans and demonstrate how he is creating the statue,” Ambassador Kenneth Quinn said. Quinn is chair of the Borlaug Statue Committee and president of the World Food Prize. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see an artist of Benjamin’s acclaim, so we encourage Iowans and others to visit the Historical Museum to meet him and learn more about Norman Borlaug.”

Victor is an internationally-recognized artist with a long list of sculpture credits. At age 26, he became the youngest artist to have a statue placed in the U.S. Capitol Building’s National Statuary Hall – the nation’s foremost collection of figurative sculpture – when he completed a 6’4” statue of Sarah Winnemucca for the state of Nevada.

He also has numerous works on display throughout the country, including his statue of Belle Babb Mansfield – the first female attorney in the United States – at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant.

The bronze statue of Borlaug will stand seven feet tall. The goal is to have it installed in the U.S. Capitol Building on March 25, 2014, the centennial observance of Borlaug’s birth. It will be one of two statues depicting notable citizens from Iowa. The Borlaug statue will replace one of U.S. Sen. James Harlan, which will be returned to Iowa. The other statue representing Iowa is of Gov. Samuel Kirkwood.

The Borlaug Statue Committee, appointed by Governor Terry Branstad, chose Victor from a field of 65 candidates after conducting a world-wide artist search that reflected the global impact of Borlaug’s life and career.

A Cresco native, Borlaug is credited for saving a billion lives through his development of new wheat varieties. His achievements earned him recognition as Father of the Green Revolution and the distinction of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal, America’s highest civilian honor.

Iowans and others interested in learning more about Borlaug may visit the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, 100 Locust Street in Des Moines. The Hall of Laureates is open to the public for tours 9 a.m.-1 p.m. free of charge on most Tuesdays and Saturdays.

In addition, the Hall of Laureates will be open 5 a.m.-3 p.m. March 25, 2013, in recognition of Borlaug’s 99th birthday and in conjunction with WHO Radio’s on-site broadcast of the Van and Bonnie In the Morning Program. Victor will speak at the Hall of Laureates from 11 a.m. to noon that day.

Visit www.worldfoodprize.org for more information.

In addition to Victor’s residency, the State Historical Museum is offering numerous activities during Spring Break, March 18-22. A list of activities follows:

Exhibit Tours, Make-and-Take Workshops and Daily Activities – March 18-22, 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. daily

Exhibits – Ongoing
The State Historical Museum opened four new exhibits during the past year with topics ranging from Iowans in the Civil War; preservation and conservation of artifacts; cultural and historical amenities in Iowa’s 99 counties; and 25 artifacts from the Museum’s permanent collection:

Iowa and the Civil War: Nothing But Victory
Saving Our Stuff
99 Counties of Iowa
25 Artifacts Spanning 120 Years of the State Historical Museum

In addition, the State Historical Museum offers tours of its permanent collection, which is held in a climate-controlled “vault” beneath the State Historical Building. To schedule a tour, contact Sarah Macht at 515-242-5193.

Youth Art Month – March
The winning entries in a statewide art competition involving Iowa students are on display this month at the State Historical Museum. Sponsored by Arts Educators of Iowa with support from the Department of Cultural Affairs, the competition showcases works by Iowa students in grades K-12.

Café Baratta’s – Open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday

The State Historical Museum and Café Baratta’s are located at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Museum hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. For more information, call 515-281-5111 or visit www.culturalaffairs.org or www.iowahistory.org.



The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state’s interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its two divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at www.culturalaffairs.org.



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