Historical Museum celebrates Victorian Iowa with Family Day Nov. 12

For immediate release October 28, 2005



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

(DES MOINES) – A gallery walk of Lewis Carroll-inspired paintings, special Victorian History Hunter tour, and creating children’s Victorian hats are among the activities visitors to the State Historical Museum can enjoy during Discover Victorian Iowa Family Day on November 12, 2005.

The activities are part of the museum’s Discover Victorian Iowa exhibit, which also features an interactive Victorian parlor where visitors can enjoy parlor games, children’s literature, storytelling and more.

“This exhibit and the activities involved with it offer a wonderful opportunity for families to learn how their ancestors lived during the Victorian era of the 19th century,” Department of Cultural Affairs Director Anita Walker said. “For today’s younger generation, playing video games and watching television in the family room are common evening and weekend activities. But children living during the Victorian era did not have video games or televisions or family rooms. They had parlor games and parlors. The activities we’ve been offering have been real eye-openers for the kids that have come through the exhibit.”

In addition to the parlor games, the museum is pleased to offer the paintings of Iowa artist Mary Kline-Misol, whose work is inspired by the lifetime and written works of Lewis Carroll. Nearly 40 of her paintings are on display in conjunction with the exhibit, and she will give a gallery walk about the extensive historical research she conducted on the life of Lewis Carroll and Victorian history before painting her Alice cycle.

Please contact Heather King at (515) 281-8754 or heather.king@iowa.gov for more information about Discover Victorian Iowa programming and activities. Following is a list of events that will be held during Family Day on November 12, 2005:

Family Day
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. unless otherwise noted

Family Day activities will center on exploring Victorian Customs and Etiquette.

· Victorian Parlor Games and Children’s Literature – Different games from the Victorian period can be played in the parlor area throughout the afternoon. Children will be able to try on a hoop skirt, a vest, and learn to tie a bowtie; play games like chess, checkers, nine pins, pick up sticks, Jacob’s ladder, and jacks. Also available will be many of the children’s books that were popular in the late 19th century.

· Des Moines Public School District Art Display – Painted chess tables created by DMPS kids through a summer workshop with artist Mary Kline-Misol will be on display in the atrium.

· 10 a.m.: Gallery Walk with Artist Mary Kline-Misol – Local Iowa Artist Mary Kline-Misol will give a guided gallery walk for families. Learn how Kline-Misol researched the topics of her images, from reading novels to visiting far away places! Gallery walk begins in classrooms A/B with a short slide lecture, followed by a tour of the gallery with the artist. $5 per person. Reservations suggested but not required. Please contact Heather King at 515-281-8754 or heather.king@iowa.gov for more information.

· 11 a.m.: Bonnie and Donna from Historic Montauk present Victorian Etiquette and Customs – Learn about Victorian life from two Victorian-costumed women! Proper salutations, behaviors, and popular pastimes and customs will be explored during this interactive presentation.

· Noon: Nina Givan, Storyteller in the Parlor – Hear and watch popular fairytales and nursery rhymes come to life in the parlor with a special performance by Nina Givan, a local storyteller who will take on the persona of a Victorian Lady to tell these great stories! Performance is free to the public.

· 1 p.m.: Hats, Hats, Hats! – Create your very own Victorian hat and make sure to wear it to the tea party! Workshop is limited to 30 kids and will cost $5 per person. Local artist Mary Zirkelbach will be hosting the program. Contact Heather King at 515-281-8754 or heather.king@iowa.gov for more information.

· 1:30 p.m.: Special Vault Tour “Victorian Life” – This one and one-half hour-long behind-the-scenes walking tour explores the museum’s “vault,” and underground, climate-controlled storage facility that is home to more than 100,000 artifacts in the State Historical Society collection. This special tour will focus primarily on the furniture, finery, pottery and china of the Victorian age. These tours are limited to groups of 20; reservations are strongly encouraged. Tickets are $20 for people ages 12 and older. Reservations can be made by calling the Iowa Museum Store at 515-283-1757.

· 2 p.m.: Tea Time – “Imagine yourself in Alice’s adventure during an interactive theatrical reenactment of the Mad Hatter Tea!”

On November 19, 2005, the museum will conclude its Discover Victorian Iowa programming with A Lady’s Tea presented by Patricia Tice. This event is limited to 50 persons and is nearly sold out. Tickets are $20 per person. RSVP is required by contacting Heather King at 515-281-8754 or heather.king@iowa.gov. This event is sponsored in part by the Tulip Tea Room of Pella.

The Discover Victorian Iowa exhibit opened Oct. 1 and is scheduled to close November 27, 2005. The State Historical Museum is located in the heart of Des Moines’ Historic East Village at 600 E. Locust Street. The museum is open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday Noon to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free, although there may be a fee for special programming. Please call (515) 281-5111 or visit www.iowahistory.org for more information.

The State Historical Museum is part of the State Historical Society of Iowa, 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.


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