‘Hollywood in the Heartland’ exhibit opens at State Historical Museum

Exhibit  explores history of Iowa and Iowans in the movies

DES MOINES –Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds were joined at their regular weekly press conference June 16  by Department of Cultural Affairs director Mary Cownie to announce a blockbuster exhibition, “Hollywood in the Heartland,” will open this month at the State Historical Museum of Iowa. The State Historical Museum is a bureau of the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

“I’m pleased to announce another great exhibit – “Hollywood in the Heartland” – launching at the State Historical Museum,” said Branstad. “Hollywood in the Heartland explores our legacy with the silver screen from the late 1800s to today’s movies and filmmaking and I invite all Iowans to visit the State Historical Museum to see this blockbuster exhibit.”

“I’m excited for this exhibit to open because it offers an opportunity for movie buffs, historians and family members of all ages to learn about Iowa’s connections to the movie industry,” said Reynolds. “This exhibit not only showcases our past, it also points us to the future where new movie and media production technologies are generating more opportunities for creativity, growth and expansion. The Governor and I invite audiences of all ages to come see it beginning on June 27th.”

“Hollywood in the Heartland” is a 6,400 square-foot exhibition that shows how Iowa and Iowans have been portrayed on film, uncovers the beauty of Iowa’s historic theaters and their role in Iowa communities, and the people who have made an impression on-screen and behind the scenes. The exhibition will include distinct areas tracing Iowa’s stage and screen heritage from opera houses and Vaudeville performances to Iowa filmmaking today.

“When it comes to the movies, the best ones capture our common bonds as people,” said Cownie. “This new exhibit reflects the contributions Iowa and Iowans have made in bringing magic to the movies in Hollywood.”

During the press conference, Branstad and Reynolds offered a glimpse at what the exhibit will include, including the Academy Award won by Iowa native Cloris Leachman for Best Supporting Actress in “The Last Picture Show” (1971).

Other artifacts to be on display include:

  • During opening weekend, Donna Reed’s Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in “From Here to Eternity” (1953)
  • A 1933 copy of Phil Stong’s “State Fair” and a ticket from the 1945 World Premiere of “State Fair” in Des Moines.
  • A uniform from “The Music Man” in 1962
  • Props from “Cold Turkey” in 1971
  • A replica 1919 Chicago White Sox uniform from the “Field of Dreams” in 1989
  • A bicycle used by Meryl Streep in “The Bridges of Madison County” in 1995

Personalities included in the exhibit will be novelist Oscar Micheaux, the Blank and Fridley families, and actors from across the state. Featured actors and actresses will include Leachman, Reed, John Wayne and Ashton Kutcher, among many others.

The exhibit will also look at the role of historic theatres in Iowa communities including Fort Madison, Charles City, Missouri Valley, Dubuque, Sioux City, Des Moines and other towns and cities.

“Hollywood in the Heartland” is supported by the State Historical Museum’s exhibit partners Iowa Historical Foundation, Iowa Public Television and Produce Iowa – the State Office of Media Production and exhibit sponsors Bravo Greater Des Moines, Humanities Iowa and the Fred Maytag Family Foundation.

For a schedule of special events connected to the exhibit, click here: Hollywood in the Heartland

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