Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515)
(DES MOINES) –Due
to popular demand, the State Historical Museum announced today its “Civil
War Survivors: Battle Flags Tell Stories from the Front” exhibit will be
held over through summer.
Originally scheduled to
close April 16, the exhibit will continue with high quality images of the seven
Civil War battle flags it features. Museum staff will return the seven recently
preserved flags to storage the week of April 17 to prevent deterioration from
light and fluctuating climate conditions.
“This exhibit is
extremely popular, one of the most successful exhibits we’ve had in recent
years,” said Anita Walker, director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.
“Because the flags are so fragile and could possibly sustain further damage
from continued exposure, we must return them to storage where they will be kept
in a climate-controlled environment. As the state agency responsible for preserving
and sharing Iowa’s history, we’re keeping the exhibit open with high
quality images of the flags to give visitors an opportunity to learn about them
and the soldiers who fought and died while serving under them.”
On April 15, visitors will
have an opportunity to see where the flags are stored by touring the Battle Flag
Preservation Laboratory, located 20 feet below the museum in a subterranean vault.
The tour is at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person/$18 for SHSI members. Due
to the sensitive nature of the work conducted in the laboratory, the tour is limited
to 10 participants age 7 and older. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can
be made by calling 515-283-1757, by e-mail at email@example.com or at the
Iowa Museum Store Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday noon-4:30 p.m.
Weekday group reservations can be made by contacting Hillary Liepa at 515-281-3809
Iowa’s historic battle
flag collection includes 260 flags borne by Iowa regiments and batteries during
the Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War I. The vast majority of the
Civil War battle flags were last seen by the public in the 1890s. Since then,
sunlight, smoke and heavy gauze used to support each flag has caused damage, some
of it severe. If left unchecked, the damage eventually would have become greater
than what the flags suffered in battle. On average, it takes conservators about
240 hours to preserve a flag, and up to 8,000 stitches are individually and carefully
cut by hand to remove the gauze. Each flag costs about $4,800 to stabilize and
In addition, the museum
will offer a tour of its permanent collection at 10:30 a.m. April 15. The permanent
collection tour is $12 for adults/$8 for ages 7-12 and limited to 20 people per
tour. Members of the State Historical Society of Iowa receive a 10 percent discount.
Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling 515-283-1757,
by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the Iowa Museum Store Monday-Saturday
10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday noon-4:30 p.m. Weekday group reservations can
be made by contacting Hillary Liepa at 515-281-3809 or email@example.com.
The State Historical Museum
is at 600 E. Locust Street in the heart of Des Moines’ Historic East Village.
Hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday.
The State Historical Museum
is operated by 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. The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department
of Cultural Affairs.
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