RV Exhibit Will Teach Iowa's History From The Road

The Historical Museum of Iowa is in Des Moines, but will hit the road next spring in a new RV to tour the state. The exhibit will be called “Iowa History 101.”

Susan Kloewer, the Historical Museum’s administrator, says there are a lot of things people don’t know about where they came from. 

“Iowa has a great history, a lot of firsts that happened,” Kloewer says. “We were way ahead of Brown v. Board of Education in desegregating our schools, obviously first in the nation with the caucuses. Everything from when we became a state almost 170 years ago through today, Iowa still makes history.”

The traveling exhibit will feature artifacts from each of Iowa’s 99 counties. “Iowa History 101” will include a 1917 prototype of the state flag and a 1928 record of the song “Sugar” featuring jazz musician and Davenport-native Bix Beiderbecke.

Mike Wolfe, star of the television show “American Pickers” is an exhibit partner. The LeClaire resident says knowing the history of small towns can help preserve them.

“Some of these kids that might get on this RV that are from a small town, when they go off and they go to school, they go to college, they come back, maybe they want to raise their family, maybe they’ll come back to this town, maybe they’ll open a business,” Wolfe says. “That’s how it starts.”

Wolfe will produce videos and multi-media elements of the exhibit. The Iowa Historical Museum RV will start touring next spring and admission will be free. The announcement for the exhibit coincided with the proclamation of August 30 as “Mike Wolfe Day” in Iowa.

EMC Insurance Companies is sponsoring the exhibit. In 2011, the company sponsored a Historical Museum traveling exhibit commemorating Iowans who fought in the Civil War. 

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