116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Home / State Historical Society’s mobile museum bringing new exhibit to Iowa’s 99 counties
The State Historical Society of Iowa’s mobile museum is on a roll and heading to Wilton.
After three years of bringing history to all of Iowa’s 99 counties, the custom-built Winnebago is outfitted with a new exhibition, “Iowa History 101: Iowa’s People & Places.”
This 300-square-foot museum exhibit on wheels is packed with 56 artifacts and videos exploring 13,000 years of Iowa history, from its earliest residents to those who call it home today
It will be parked on Cedar Street in Wilton during Wilton Founders Days, and will be open for free, self-guided tours at these times: 1 to 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, and Sunday, Aug. 22.
“Our first statewide tour was an enormous success, and Iowans let us know they wanted this traveling museum to keep rolling with another exhibition,” Susan Kloewer, administrator of the State Historical Society of Iowa, said in a news release. “We're eager to share more stories with Iowans across the state.”
So are the EMC Insurance Companies, which sponsored the first tour and renewed its support for the second.
“EMC Insurance Companies has deep roots in Iowa,” EMC President and CEO Scott Jean said in a prepare statement. “We’re proud to be a part of our state’s history and excited to help share it with Iowans across the state.”
The mobile museum will visit all 99 Iowa counties through 2023, similar to its first three-year tour. The first mobile museum exhibition made 175 stops in all 99 counties from 2017 through 2019 and attracted nearly 65,000 visitors, including 11,400 students.
The new exhibition unpacks some of the stories of Iowa's past with an eclectic array of artifacts selected from the State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines, and its introduction video is narrated by WOI-TV host Jackie Schmillen. Highlights include:
A token from the Hudson Bay Company from Dubuque County in 1800.
An election ticket from 1860.
Knitting needles Iowa first lady Jane Kirkwood of Iowa City, used to knit clothing for soldiers during the Civil War and World War I.
A birchbark lunchbox a Cerro Gordo County boy used in the 1870s.
A Meskwaki cradleboard from the late 1800s.
A University of Iowa pennant from Edward Carter of Monroe County, who in 1907, became the first African American to get a medical degree from the University of Iowa.
A paper fan promoting women’s suffrage, from about 1916.
A menu from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to Des Moines in 1959.
An Iowa State University women’s track uniform from 1972, the year Title IX passed.
Boots worn by the Des Moines Water Works director during the flood of 1993.
A flight suit worn by astronaut Peggy Whitson of Beaconsfield.
Iowans may request a visit from the mobile museum for schools, libraries, local museums, community festivals, county fairs and other places where people gather. Visits are free and the tours are self-guided.