Programs mark opening of Governor's exhibit
Role of women elected to office; Culver/Nussle chili cookoff First Lady cookbook recipes prepared by Terrace Hill chef

For immediate release September 11, 2006


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

(DES MOINES) – The role of women elected to office in Iowa, a chili cookoff between the Chet Culver and Jim Nussle gubernatorial campaigns, and recipes made from First Lady cookbooks highlight the opening of a new exhibit Friday at the State Historical Museum.

“Portrait of a Governor: A Life, A Legacy” explores the lives and legacies of Iowa’s 39 governors while asking voters to examine what they want in the state’s next chief executive. The exhibit includes information, portraits and artifacts from the governors’ public and personal lives, and features Iowa’s four living governors – Vilsack, Terry Branstad, Robert Ray and Robert Fulton – in separate videos discussing their experiences before, during and after they held the office.

In addition, the exhibit features Vilsack, Branstad and Ray with their spouses – Christie Vilsack, Chris Branstad and Billie Ray – in a video discussing their motivation and decision-making process in seeking the office, and their accomplishments and challenges as chief executives and first ladies. Hosted by WHO-TV’s John Bachman, the video also reveals the impact their public roles had on their personal lives.

Following are programs offered Friday and Saturday in conjunction with the exhibit. All will be held at the State Historical Museum, 600 E. Locust Street in the heart of Des Moines’ Historic East Village:

Friday, September 15: “Women in Power, Women Empowered”
Noon to 1 p.m., $15
The Commission on the Status of Women will offer a discussion about the role of women elected to office in Iowa. The event includes lunch from Café Baratta’s. RSVP by Sept. 13 to Kristen Fink at or 515-281-8754. Docent tours available.

Friday, September 15: The Candidates Chili Cookoff
Noon to 2 p.m.
The gubernatorial campaigns of Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver and U.S. Representative Jim Nussle compete in the Candidates Chili Cookoff, with museum visitors voting for the chili they like best.

Saturday, September 16:“Morsels from the Mansion: The Recipes of Iowa’s First Ladies”
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., $5
Terrace Hill Chef Sharon Van Verth will prepare recipes from First Lady cookbooks at Café Baratta’s on the third floor of the State Historical Building. RSVP by Sept. 13 to Kristen Fink at or 515-281-8754. Docent tours available.

In addition, the following programs will be offered this month in conjunction with the exhibit:

Sunday, September 24: “My Dad, the Governor”
1 to 2:30 p.m., $10
Children of Iowa’s governors will speak about growing up as a son or daughter of a governor. Jack Fulton (son of Governor Robert Fulton), Eric and Marcus Branstad (sons of Governor Terry Branstad), Dee Wittmack (daughter of Governor Norman Erbe) and Phyllis Hughes (daughter of Governor Harold Hughes) will discuss their experiences. Reception at Café Baratta’s follows program. Contact Kristen Fink at or 515-281-8754 for more information. Docent tours available.

Saturday, September 30: Historical Program with Wendy Zohrer
1 to 2:30 p.m., $5
Zohrer will present a program about the 1930s and the Great Depression, featuring cookies made from Governor Ray’s favorite childhood recipes. Contact Kristen Fink at or 515-281-8754 for more information. Docent tours available.

The State Historical Museum is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and Noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. 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. Please visit or call 515-281-5111 for more information.


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