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State Historical Mobile Museum to be at Toledo Stoplight Festival July 6

June 22, 2018
Special to The Chronicle , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

The State Historical Society of Iowa's "Iowa History 101" Mobile Museum, a bright blue, custom-built Winnebago, will visit Toledo on July 6 and offer free tours from 4-8 p.m. at the northeast corner of the square during the Stoplight Festival.

More information is available by contacting Cheryl Bruene at the Tama County office of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, 641-484-2703.

If you can't make it to the State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines, why not let it come to Tama County?

That's the idea behind the museum that travels the state's highways and back roads to share stories from the past. The museum on wheels currently houses a 300-square-foot exhibition called "Iowa History 101" and is filled with artifacts from the State Historical Society's collection.

"This exhibition shares some of the essential stories that every Iowan should know about who we are and what we've achieved since Iowa became a state more than 170 years ago," State Historical Society of Iowa Administrator Susan Kloewer said. "So we're delighted to bring this traveling exhibition to Toledo, and we encourage all Iowans to learn about our state's rich heritage."

Like a visit to your grandparents' attic, the exhibition unpacks stories of Iowa's past with nearly 50 artifacts, including:

-A battered hat from a coal miner in Marion County

-A 1917 prototype of the state flag designed by Dixie Cornell Gebhardt of Knoxville

-The pen Gov. William Harding used to sign the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote

-A basketball jersey Lynne Lorenzen wore during her glory days at Ventura High School

-An Olympic medal from sprinter Natasha Kaiser-Brown of Des Moines

-A patch from a spacesuit worn by astronaut Peggy Whitson of Beaconsfield

As a bonus, Mike Wolfe, the creator and star of the hit television series "American Pickers," lent his voice and video talents to the exhibition's multimedia elements. A native of Le Claire, Wolfe has a long-standing interest in history and a knack for using artifacts to unlock its stories.

The idea for the mobile museum emerged in 2014 from a series of community conversations organized by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, which oversees the State Historical Society. Iowans who care deeply about history made it clear that they wanted new ways to access the State Historical Museum's resources even if they couldn't visit Des Moines in person.

Accordingly, the 38-foot Winnebago will visit all 99 Iowa counties over the course of three years, from 2017 through 2019, with stops at schools, libraries, local museums, community festivals, county fairs and other places where Iowans gather. Anyone who would like to request a visit can find the details online at iowaculture.gov, along with an updated schedule. (Follow the RV's statewide journey on Facebook at

 
 

 

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