State Historical Museum hosts Irish fest, Victorian-era fashion show

For immediate release March 9, 2006



Contact: Jeff Morgan,, (515) 281-3858

(DES MOINES) – The State Historical Museum will offer special programming this month with an Irish festival and a Victorian-era fashion show in conjunction with the popular “Civil War Survivors: Battle Flags Tell Stories from the Front” exhibit.

On March 18, music, stories and ballads will bring to life the rich traditions of the Irish during the time of the Civil War. History re-enactors, storytellers and musicians will provide entertainment, and Café Baratta’s will offer Irish fare. The foot-stomping Celtic music of Knotwork and family-friendly stories will be featured in the Homefront Parlor. Performances and presentations will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

In addition, the Historical Museum will offer History Hunter tours of its permanent collection at 10:30 a.m. and battle flag preservation laboratory at 1:30 p.m. on March 18. 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. The Battle Flag tour is $20 per person/$18 for SHSI members, and is limited to 10 participants age 7 and older. Reservations can be made by calling 515-283-1757, by e-mailing or at the Iowa Museum Store Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. History Hunter tours are offered the third Saturday of each month, and weekday group reservations can be made by calling 515-281-3809 or by email at The State Historical Museum is at 600 E. Locust Street in the heart of Des Moines’ Historic East Village.

On March 25, the Historical Building will host “Fashions from the Homefront: An 1860s Style Show” at 1:30 p.m.

During the Civil War, the women of the North dressed differently than those in the South; in different styles and fabrics, and in specific types of dress for specific occasions. The public is invited to visit the Homefront Parlor in the “Civil War Survivors: Battle Flags Tell Stories from the Front” exhibit to watch, learn and try on a number of different types and styles of clothing worn by women and children in the 1860s. From bonnets, boots and pantaloons to ribbons, plumes and fancy shoes, visitors will step back in time during the fashion show. Admission is free and open to the public. Please contact Katie Flippen at 515-281-4129 or for more information.

The exhibit features seven preserved, historic Iowa Civil War flags from the museum’s collection, which 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. The exhibit opened in February and is scheduled to close April 20.

The State Historical Society of Iowa is 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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