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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release: September 23, 2013

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

State Historical Museum to acquire globe from The Des Moines Register

Deed of Gift signing and transport Wednesday morning

The Des Moines Register Globe Move
715 E. Locust Street, Des Moines, Iowa
Media Event
Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013

8:45 a.m. Site Open for Interview with project rigger Roger Machin of Methods and Materials, the same company that installed the sculpture Nomade in the Pappajohn Sculpture Park.
9:00 a.m. Remarks and signing of Deed of Gift, Director for Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Mary Cownie and The Des Moines Register Publisher Rick Green.
9:20 a.m. Packing and loading process by Methods & Materials to continue. Interviews with Mary Cownie and Rick Green can continue in west section of lobby.
9:30 a.m. Media event concludes.

Des Moines, IA – The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs today announced the six-foot-tall Rand McNally Globe from the lobby of The Des Moines Register building will be acquired by the State Historical Museum of Iowa, and will travel down Locust Street to the museum the morning of October 2.

The six-foot globe of spun aluminum has been in the lobby of the now-vacant Register building in downtown Des Moines since 1950, when it was unveiled for the paper's centennial celebration. It will be a significant historical, cultural and artistic addition to the collection of the State Historical Museum of Iowa, and after refurbishment will be on prominent display in the Museum along with information about its connection to The Des Moines Register.

“When The Des Moines Register installed the globe in 1950, it was to represent the importance of cultural understanding between the people of the different countries and to remind visitors we are all part of one world,” Department of Cultural Affairs Director Mary Cownie said. “In a time of ongoing fragmentation between people and nations, the globe will inspire guests to the State Historical Museum to recognize our interdependence and share the Iowa tradition of understanding others.”

“The Des Moines Register is pleased that the Rand McNally terrestrial globe that formerly graced our public lobby will be visible at the State Historical Museum of Iowa,” Des Moines Register Publisher & Editor Rick Green said. “As media organizations evolve, our dedication to sharing information in new and compelling ways is reflected in our legacy dating to the 1950-era globe. It is important that this icon of the Register’s past will be preserved.”

The Register globe is part of a history of large-scale models manufactured for newspaper companies. Two of the better known examples were made in the 1930s for the New York Post and the Los Angeles Times. The city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, had a similar six-foot model installed in its airport in 1953, which is being relocated to Kirkwood Community College.

Facts and Figures:

  • The State Historical Museum of Iowa and The Des Moines Register will sign a Deed of Gift transferring ownership of the newspaper’s globe to the State Historical Museum.
  • The complicated and delicate process at The Register’s former building required the de-installation of glass walls surrounding the globe and the removal of part of an exterior wall.
  • Once extracted from the building, the globe will be placed on a custom pallet and loaded into an air-ride equipped truck and slowly transported to the State Historical Museum.
  • The globe will travel down Locust Street, across the Des Moines River to the State Historical Museum of Iowa at 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines.
  • Upon arrival at the Museum, the globe will be taken to the lower level where it will be assessed and accessioned into the Museum’s collection. The globe will be unveiled to the public at a later date in 2013.
  • The globe has been in the lobby of the now-vacant Register building in downtown Des Moines since 1950, when it was unveiled for the paper's centennial celebration.
  • The globe at a glance:
    • weighs 150 pounds
    • 114 square feet of surface area
    • 19 feet circumference
    • 6 feet diameter
    • scale on one inch = 110 miles
    • 3,000 hours to paint in 1949
    • 1/8-inch thick seamless surface too fragile to dismantle
    • made of spun aluminum
  • The globe was insured for $20,500 when it was shipped by Rand McNally from New York in a custom, heated rail car. An hour before departure, Indonesia was officially recognized by the U.S. as a nation so changes were quickly made to replace the capital city name from Batavia to Jakarta.
  • Minneapolis artist Edwin Beylerian last touched up the globe 35 years ago so East and West Germany remain split, and the Soviet Union stands.
  • Des Moines native Bill Bryson mentions the globe as “a thing of wonder and grandeur” in his 2006 childhood memoir, “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.”
  • The globe’s twin at the Minneapolis Star Tribune has since joined the private collection of the Cowles family that once owned both the Register and Star newspapers.


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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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