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State cycling exhibit in 2013 to feature RAGBRAI

A new exhibit at the State Historical Building will feature the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa as part of the state’s cycling history, officials announced Friday night.

The exhibition will open in summer 2013 and “will highlight RAGBRAI as one of Iowa’s iconic traditions, largest cultural events and biggest economic drivers,” according to a news release.

RAGBRAI XLI will be held July 21-27, 2013. The overnight towns will be announced Jan. 26.

Here is a news release on the cycling exhibit and other announcements from a Friday night gala for the State Historical Museum:

With Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds as honorary chairs, the State Historical Building 25th Anniversary Gala tonight surpassed attendance and fundraising goals.

More than 650 people attended the gala, which raised nearly $150,000 from individuals and organizations to support new exhibits and programs at the State Historical Museum. The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs coordinated the event with support from Gala Presenting Partners Frantz-Hobart Management Services, Hy-Vee, John Deere, MidAmerican Energy and Musco Lighting. In all, more than 70 sponsors and food partners supported the event.

“Tonight, we honor the past 25 years while creating a new path that will rebuild exhibits and programming at the State Historical Museum,” DCA Director Mary Cownie said. “The level of support we received tonight shows how much Iowans care about the history of our state, how it is preserved and, ultimately, how it is presented for all to learn and enjoy. We are thankful to Governor Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and the Iowa Legislature for their leadership and support, and I’d also like to thank our sponsors, food partners and tonight’s attendees for joining us to support Iowa history and education.”

Proceeds from the gala will help the State Historical Museum rebuild exhibitions and reinvigorate programming to meet the challenges posed by advances in technology, information and communications over the past 25 years.

As part of the event’s activities, Governor Branstad reflected on the State Historical Building’s 25th anniversary and announced two new major exhibitions will open during the next two years.

“We are celebrating this milestone and are generating support for renovations and additional improvements that will enable us to showcase Iowa history for the next 25 years and beyond,” Governor Branstad said. “The State Historical Museum has already opened exhibits (Saving Our Stuff and Iowa and the Civil War: Nothing But Victory) and is refreshing educational programming, and has great momentum to become a valuable resource for all Iowans.”

In announcing the two new exhibitions, Governor Branstad was joined by an executive from The Des Moines Register and a member from one of two iconic Iowa families involved in the movie theater industry.

Information about the two exhibitions and the announcement follows:

•    Riding into History – Des Moines Register Vice President, Marketing & Strategy Kurt Allen joined Governor Branstad to announce this exhibition will open at the State Historical Museum in Summer 2013. Riding into History will showcase artifacts, stories, photos and videos that reflect the cycling experience in Iowa. Moreover, this exhibition will highlight RAGBRAI as one of Iowa’s iconic traditions, largest cultural events and biggest economic drivers.

•    Hollywood in the Heartland – Governor Branstad was joined by Judy Blank to announce Hollywood in the Heartland will open in Spring 2014. The Blank family, along with the family of Robert Fridley, represents a rich theater history in Iowa and will be invaluable resources to the Museum as the exhibition comes to fruition for all Iowans to experience. Hollywood in the Heartland stems from a State Historic Preservation Office survey that documents Iowa’s historic theaters and connections to the film industry in Hollywood.

In addition, Lt. Governor Reynolds announced the following three museum exhibits opened tonight in conjunction with the Gala:

•    25 Objects from Iowa – This exhibit displays 25 artifacts from the State Historical Museum’s permanent collection, each representing one year of the past 25 years. Artifacts range from the Villisca Axe used in Iowa’s most notorious – and unsolved – crime to a watercolor created by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist J.N. “Ding” Darling (1876-1962).

•    99 County – This interactive exhibit engages audiences of all ages with a touch screen to peruse historical and cultural information in all 99 Iowa counties. Information about Iowa’s historic sites and National Register of Historic Places is included, as well as information about where State Historical Museum artifacts originated.

•    Iowa History IQ – This interactive exhibit offers 25 questions about objects, documents and photographs in the State Historical Museum collection. It is targeted to people of all ages and will be available to teachers as a classroom resource via the Internet in the future. The exhibit will be updated and sustained indefinitely.

“These new exhibits, as well as new learning opportunities, are giving our State Historical Museum tremendous momentum,” Lt. Governor Reynolds said. “They represent a significant step forward as we strive to showcase the state of Iowa’s collections while providing a one-of-a-kind destination and resource for students, life-long learners and all Iowans to learn and feel proud about Iowa’s rich history.”

The State Historical Museum offers tours of its permanent collection, which is held in a climate-controlled “vault” beneath the State Historical Building. To schedule a tour, contact Sarah Macht at 515-242-5193.

More information about the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the State Historical Museum can be found at www.culturalaffairs.org or www.iowahistory.org.

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