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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018

State Historical Society of Iowa’s mobile museum begins second year

May 01, 2018
Photo by: submitted The State Historical Society of Iowa’s “Iowa History 101” mobile museum is scheduled to visit 16 counties this year.

DES MOINES — Now that spring has sprung, the State Historical Society of Iowa’s “Iowa History 101” mobile museum is on the road again, resuming its three-year mission to visit all 99 Iowa counties by the end of next year.

Launched in 2017, the 300-square-foot museum is housed in a bright-blue, custom-built Winnebago that travels the state’s highways and back roads to share stories from Iowa’s past. It visits schools, libraries, local museums, community festivals, county fairs and other gathering places to show Iowans multimedia presentations and artifacts from the historical society’s collection.

“The mobile museum 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. “It’s one of the best ways we can share the history of Iowa with people in their own communities.”

Like a visit to a grandparents’ attic, the mobile museum unpacks stories of Iowa’s past with nearly 50 artifacts, including:

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

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

• 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 mobile museum’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.

Last year, the mobile museum kicked off its three-year mission by traveling more than 8,000 miles to 45 towns in 36 Iowa counties, serving more than 24,000 Iowans.

Iowans can book the Iowa History 101 mobile museum by visiting or calling 515-281-5111.

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