Civil War Survivors Exhibit



The museum originated from the dedication, enthusiasm, and private collections of Charles Aldrich. He came to Iowa in 1857 and served as a captain in Company A, of the 32nd Iowa Infantry in the Civil War.

In the years following the war he collected autographs–donating them to the State in 1884. His collections were displayed in the basement of the Capitol Building, with Aldrich managing the collection himself.

In 1892, the General Assembly established the Historical Department in Des Moines as a separate entity from the State Historical Society which had been based in Iowa City since 1857. Aldrich was named as curator and headed the historical department until his death in 1908. A great dream of his was realized in 1899 when the first State Historical Building was built on Grand Avenue north of the Capitol building (now the Ola Babcock Miller Building.) That building was used until 1987 when the current Historical Building was built at 600 E. Locust Avenue.



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acrobat logo Flag Day Guide

acrobat logo Emmet and George Brockaway

acrobat logo Robert Stitt

acrobat logo Thomas Jefferson Lewis

acrobat logo William G. Donnan

acrobat logo Loren Tyler

acrobat logo The Bell-Everett Flag



The support of a 2002 Save America Treasures Grant and funding from the Iowa and International Questers organizations made it possible for seven historic Civil War battle flags to be conserved and prepared for display. These treasures were shown in a temporary exhibit: Civil War Survivors: Battle Flags Tell Stories from the Front, during the spring of 2006 and, by public request, extended into the fall with the use of canvas replicas. The flags exhibited included: the 1st Iowa Infantry, Co. B (Hawkeye Rangers); 1st Iowa Battery; 3rd Iowa Battery; 3rd Iowa Cavalry; 4th Iowa Cavalry; 10th Iowa Infantry; and the 34th Iowa Infantry.

The exhibit provided the public an opportunity to view the flags and learn of their history and the stories of soldiers who served them. Each was exhibited with their accessories: staffs, finials, cords and tassels. These were not simply symbols, they were the companions of our soldiers which led them in battle, under which 14 Medals of Honor were received.

The exhibition is now closed and these flags rest in darkness, protected from the damaging effects of light. Each will return for additional exhibition in the Historical Building or the State Capitol, but exhibition time is limited, to protect the flags and insure its survival.