Historical Museum to celebrate life, work of George Washington Carver
Program offered in conjunction with The Field Museum's traveling Carver exhibit

For immediate release September 8, 2008


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

(DES MOINES) – The State Historical Museum will celebrate the life and times of George Washington Carver 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 20, 2008.

“The Celebration of Carver” will be presented in conjunction with “George Washington Carver,” an exhibit produced by The Field Museum, Chicago, that opened in August at the State Historical Museum, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Admission is free and open to the public. The Historical Museum’s regular hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and Noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Participants can take docent and self-guided tours of the exhibit, hear stories about Carver’s life and times and play Carver Life Bingo games. They can also create hand-made paper bookmarks, peanut marionettes and paper hats from newspapers. Other activities will focus on seed planting, dance, stories, bingo and nature rubbings.

Born into slavery, Carver used his extraordinary gifts of persistence and compassion to become a trail-blazing scientist with a lifelong mission: to bring practical knowledge to those in need.

Through more than 100 artifacts, along with video, hands-on interactives, and more, visitors will see Carver’s curiosity and persistence take him from a remote frontier town to success as a teacher and researcher at the famed Tuskegee Institute. They’ll discover the roots of Carver’s “mighty vision” – a vision of exhausted fields turning green with crops – and see the recreated laboratory bench and actual equipment he used to make that vision real. And they’ll see how he laid the groundwork for organic farming and today’s research on plant-based fuels, medicines and everyday products.

Visitors can explore a life-size reproduction of the horse-drawn wagon – a moveable school – that Carver designed to bring his ideas to farmers in their fields and homemakers in their homes. It is stocked with the kinds of plants and products – from seeds and soil samples to sewing supplies, and simple farm equipment – that Carver used in his demonstrations. Finally, visitors will meet some “modern-day Carvers” working to develop the potential of plants in modern medicine and space exploration.

This exhibition was created by The Field Museum, Chicago, in collaboration with Tuskegee University and the National Park Service. It is sponsored at the State Historical Museum by Iowa State University; Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont Business; Simpson College; Iowa History Center at Simpson College; The World Food Prize Foundation; John Deere Des Moines Operations; Monsanto Fund; Iowa Farm Bureau; Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship; Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc.; and the Iowa State University Department of Agriculture and Life Sciences.


The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and 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. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.

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