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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release: June 27, 2013

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

Kick off the Fourth of July festivities Wednesday at the State Historical Museum

Experience a guided tour of Iowa’s Civil War exhibition and see a play about President Grant

DES MOINES – Kick off the Fourth of July festivities Wednesday at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, where visitors can take guided tours of a Civil War exhibition and see a play about President Ulysses S. Grant.

The “Iowa and the Civil War: Nothing But Victory” exhibition explores the stories of Iowa and those who served during America’s bloodiest conflict. With more than 300 authentic artifacts and documents, this 10,000 square-foot exhibition recounts the first-hand experiences of Iowans at war and the communities that supported them. See historic battle flags Iowa troops carried into battle and the actual weaponry – cannons, guns and swords – they used in some of the most important events and turning points of the Civil War.

  • Guided tours the “Iowa and the Civil War” will be offered at noon, 1 p.m. and 3:15 p.m., Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Admission is free and open to the public.

Visitors can also see “Unconditional Surrender – A Visit with President Grant,” written, directed and performed by Peter Grady. Created for the Marshalltown Community Theatre, the one-man show has been presented five times at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown, twice at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, and in Waukon, Riceville and Lake Park. The play is being presented in the wake of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Vicksburg, which involved Iowa units. The victory at Vicksburg solidified the North’s control of the Mississippi River and was a key turning point in the war. In his professional life, Grady is an Iowa Assistant Attorney General providing training to law enforcement officers and prosecutors across the state.

  • “Unconditional Surrender – A Visit with President Grant” will be presented at 2 p.m., Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Admission is free and open to the public.

The State Historical Museum of Iowa has also opened several new exhibits recently that explore the history of Iowa:

  • 99 Counties of Iowa – This interactive exhibit engages audiences of all ages with a touch screen to peruse historical and cultural information in all 99 Iowa counties. Information about Iowa’s historic sites and National Register of Historic Places is included, as well as information about where State Historical Museum artifacts originated.
  • 25 Artifacts Spanning 120 Years of the State Historical Museum – The State Historical Museum of Iowa is celebrating its 120th anniversary. First opened in the basement of the Capitol in 1892, the Museum housed the State of Iowa’s collection, which has grown to include nearly 100,000 artifacts. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the State Historical Building, which now houses the Museum, 25 artifacts were selected to showcase various types of donations included in the collection reflecting Iowa’s history.
  • Saving Our Stuff – Featuring nearly 100 artifacts selected from the State Historical Museum’s collection, this 2,300-square-foot exhibition showcases a wide variety of objects, including papers, metals/silver, clay pottery/stoneware, natural history specimens, wood furniture and more – in various stages of conservation treatment. Visitors can learn the differences between “restoration” and “stabilization,” and discover why some artifacts are best left untouched, including the pot used to make “Big Daddy’s” barbecue sauce.
  • A Service to Silver: Tribute to the USS Iowa – This 40-piece silver service was presented by Iowa to the U.S. Navy in 1896 for the then newly-commissioned USS Iowa battleship.

In addition, visitors can see numerous other exhibits ranging from the wildlife dioramas of Joseph Steppan and Iowa’s natural resources to Iowa’s early years before statehood and rarely seen items from the Museum’s collection.

Visitors can also enjoy panoramic views of the Capitol Building and downtown Des Moines from the State Historical Museum’s third-floor café, Café Baratta’s, which offers a seasonal menu with classic bistro fare indoors or on the outdoor patio. This cafe is open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

The State Historical Museum of Iowa is at 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday. Closed official state holidays. Admission is free and open to the public. More information is available at www.iowahistory.org or 515-281-5111.

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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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