Historical Museum to open World War I exhibit on Veterans Day
Blood-stained jacket, weapons and propaganda posters among items to be on display

For immediate release October 29, 2008


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

(DES MOINES) – The State Historical Museum will mark Veterans Day this year with a new exhibit about Iowans in World War I.

“Over Here, Over There: Iowa and the First World War” will open Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008, at the State Historical Museum, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Museum hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and Noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free and open to the public.

“As the country honors the service and sacrifice of our veterans this year, this is a good opportunity to explore the history of the First World War and the role Iowans had at home and abroad,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Cyndi Pederson said. “The exhibit contains artifacts from our permanent collection, and it will showcase the stories of several Iowans who were involved in that war.”

“Over Here, Over There” comes 91 years after the first Iowan, and perhaps the first American serviceman, Merle D. Hay (1896-1917), died in World War I and 90 years after hostilities between the Allies and Germany ceased at 11 a.m. Nov. 11, 1918. World War I began in 1914 and officially ended in 1919 with the Treaty of Versailles.

The exhibit will include:

  • A blood-stained jacket worn by Colfax native and aviator/writer James Norman Hall when his plane was shot down. Hall survived a German prison camp and later wrote “Mutiny on the Bounty” (1932), “Men Against the Sea” (1934) and “Pitcairn's Island” (1934) with fellow aviator, Charles Nordhoff
  • Herbert Hoover’s heroic food relief efforts during the war
  • A profile of Marion Crandell of Cedar Rapids, a nurse and the first American woman killed in the war
  • World War I weapons
  • “Tradition and Valor,” a film about James B. Morris who came to Fort Des Moines, where the U.S. Army trained black officers for the first time in its history
  • More than 30 American, French, British and German propaganda posters
  • The Jack Pershing rooster, which was auctioned numerous times to raise money for the war effort

More than 500 students in grades 2-6 will attend the ribbon cutting ceremony and see a theatrical production of “Heroine of the Bridge” as part of the Museum’s “History Through the Arts” education program. “Heroine of the Bridge” documents the story of Kate Shelley.


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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