MOINES) – The State Historical Museum
will offer a guided tour of its exhibits July 15,
a move designed to complement its highly successful
History Hunter Tours of the battle flag laboratory
and permanent collection.
On July 15 at 11 a.m., museum staff and docents will
lead visitors through three different exhibits including
“Mammoth: Witness to Change,” “The
Delicate Balance: Human Values and Iowa’s Natural
Resources” and “You Gotta Know the Territory.”
The State Historical Building is at 600 E. Locust
Street in the heart of Des Moines’ Historic
East Village. Tour admission is $5 per person. More
information is available by contacting Sarah Macht
at 515-242-5193 or email@example.com.
Reservations are strongly recommended by calling the
Iowa Museum Store at 515-283-1757.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our visitors
to learn more about Iowa’s rich history from
highly trained staff and docents,” said Anita
Walker, director of the Iowa Department of Cultural
Affairs. “Combined with the tours of our battle
flag lab and permanent collection, the guided exhibit
tour will give Iowans and others a broad range of
choices that provide meaningful and lasting experiences.
We’re very excited to make this opportunity
available to the public.”
“Mammoth: Witness to Change” is a three-year-old
exhibit featuring the skeleton of the Hebior Mammoth,
discovered near Kenosha, Wis., in 1994. Visitors can
see, hear and feel life as it was 15,000 to 16,000
years ago. Standing nearly 12 feet tall and more than
20 feet long, the Hebior Mammoth spent its last hours
tormented by the new predator – humans. This
mammoth is considered the most complete skeleton found
in the upper Midwest, with about 85 percent of it
uncovered and preserved.
More recently, construction of the Allied Insurance
and Farmland Insurance headquarters in downtown Des
Moines provided a glimpse back into the Pleistocene
era. A giant auger cut 55 feet below the city into
the body of a mammoth. Fragments of the shoulder area
were recovered from the body that had been undisturbed
for 16,500 years. With generous support from Dickson
Industries and Allied Insurance, “Mammoth: Witness
to Change” provides the visual story of these
and other remnants of the Ice Age through educational
displays, artifacts and materials.
“The Delicate Balance: Human Values and Iowa’s
Natural Resources” looks at how people have
used Iowa’s natural resources from prehistoric
times to the present. The exhibit features Native
American collections, wildlife and fossils. Tour participants
can stand in a cramped coal mine, listen to miners
at work and drill a shot hole into the coal. They
can also investigate “Walk in Beauty,”
a study case of moccasins and beadwork.
“You Gotta Know the Territory” examines
Iowa’s early years before statehood (1838-1846),
focusing on native cultures, immigration, farming,
town life and human rights. Tour participants can
push a plow, try a two-person saw and watch a video
that narrates the diary of a young girl traveling
west to Iowa in a covered wagon.
Tours of the permanent collection offer a behind-the-scenes
look at the museum’s “vault,” a
subterranean, climate-controlled storage center that
houses more than 100,000 artifacts. Tour participants
can see a log cabin, cars, an early Iowa State Patrol
motorcycle, tons of antique furniture and more. Tours
of the permanent collection are offered the third
Saturday of every month at 10:30 a.m. Admission is
$12 for adults and $8 for children 7-12.
Tours of the battle flag laboratory reveal the process
museum staff uses to stabilize and conserve flags
that are more than 130 years old, many of which hung
in the State Capitol Rotunda. Battle flag laboratory
staff offer an entertaining and educational presentation
on how the flags are meticulously assessed, stabilized
and preserved for storage and future display. Battle
flag laboratory tours are offered the third Saturday
of each month at 1:30 p.m. Due to the highly sensitive
nature of the work involved, tours are limited to
10 participants age 16 and older. Admission is $20.
Reservations can be made by calling 515-283-1757.
State Historical Society of Iowa members receive a
10 percent discount. Please call 515-281-5111 or visit
www.iowahistory.org for membership information. Weekday
group tours of the permanent collection and battle
flag laboratory are available by calling 515-281-3809.
Individuals interested in becoming docent tour guides
should contact Sarah Macht at 515-242-5193 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Please visit www.iowahistory.org
or call 515-281-5111 for more information.
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