Historical Museum to honor U.S. veterans Nov. 11

For immediate release November 2, 2005



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

(DES MOINES) – The State Historical Museum will explore Iowa’s connections to the Civil War, World War II and the Medal of Honor on Veterans Day, November 11, 2005, in recognition of U.S. service men and women who fought in America’s wars.

Curator William Johnson will lead a History Hunter tour through the museum’s Honor the Colors exhibit and “vault,” a subterranean, climate-controlled storage area containing Civil War artifacts, many of which have never seen by the public. Following the tour, Archivist Sharon Avery will discuss researching Civil War genealogy and other topics in the State Archives and Historical Library. Other events include a presentation of The Home Front – a play about the assistance children provided to the war effort during World War II – and a discussion led by Curator Jack Lufkin about Iowans who earned the Medal of Honor.

“Veterans Day is a special time for all U.S. citizens to remember and recognize the men and women who fought and died for our freedom,” Department of Cultural Affair Director Anita Walker said. “The State Historical Museum is in a unique position to honor Iowa’s veterans by offering events and programming developed from our vast collection of historical photographs, documents and artifacts that date back to the Civil War and beyond. It’s our responsibility to make sure the stories of Iowa’s soldiers who sacrificed their lives to secure our freedom are remembered for generations to come.”

The origins of Veterans Day came on November 11, 1918, when the Allies and Germany signed an Armistice in the Forest of Compiegen to bring an end to World War I, the “war of all wars.” A year later, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th Armistice Day to honor soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the war. In 1938, Congress voted Armistice Day a federal holiday, 20 years after the war ended. In 1954, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day to honor all of the U.S. service men and women who served in America’s wars.

The State Historical Museum will honor U.S. veterans November 11, 2005 with the following public events:

History Hunter Tour – A Curator’s Tour of the Civil War followed by discussion of Civil War genealogy research
Friday, November 11, 2005

10:30 a.m.
$20 ages 7 and older. State Historical Society of Iowa members receive a 10 percent discount
(515) 283-1757 or museum.store@iowa.gov to RSVP

Tour the Honor the Colors exhibit with Curator William M. Johnson and receive a close-up look at the treasures hidden in the museum’s subterranean, climate-controlled “vault,” where more than 100,000 artifacts from the permanent collection is stored. During the Civil War (1861-1865), more than half of the men in Iowa left their homes and loved ones to serve in distant battle fields for their homeland and ideas. This exhibit tells their story of sacrifice and dedication. In their own worlds, Iowa soldiers tell who they were, how they were equipped and why they fought. The exhibit includes more than 350 objects including weapons, uniforms, artillery and original art. In addition, battle flags recently conserved through the Iowa Battle Flag Preservation Project will be featured. Following the exhibit tour, an archivist will discuss Civil War documents preserved in the State Archives and Library.

The Home Front
Friday, November 11, 2005
10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
$5 all ages at the door
(515) 281-4132 or Maureen.Korte@iowa.gov for more information

History Through the Arts Theatre presents The Home Front! This play, written by Iowa resident, Ray Pugh, explores the assistance children gave to the war effort during World War II. The Home Front uses songs of the WWII era and slides to teach about the time period. Students from the Des Moines area will participate in the show. Children performances scheduled for November 8-9, 2005, are sold out. The November 11, 2005, performances at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. are open to the public.

Medal of Honor
Friday, November 11, 2005
After each The Home Front performance
(515) 281-8295 or jack.lufkin@iowa.gov for more information

Museum Curator Jack Lufkin will explore Iowans who have earned the Medal of Honor from the Civil War through the Vietnam War. The Medal of Honor is the U.S. armed service’s highest decoration for valor in combat against an enemy combatant. Curators believe more than 100 Iowans have received the Medal of Honor; only a few of them are still living today. Since the Civil War, more than 3,450 men have been awarded the medal, as well as one woman, Dr. Mary Walker, a surgeon in the Civil War. Today, there are about 120 Medal of Honor recipients living.

The State Historical Museum is located at 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines’ Historic East Village. The museum is open 9:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and Noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday. The museum, library and archives are 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. Please contact the State Historical Society at (515) 281-5111 or visit www.iowahistory.org for more information.



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