Historical Society hosting ‘Iowa History 101’ exhibit, art show and spelling bee

All part of the Bell Tower Festival this weekend

~by Chuck Offenburger for the Greene County Historical Society

The Greene County Historical Society is participating in the 40th Bell Tower Festival in Jefferson June 7-9 in three ways – hosting a special traveling display on state history on E. Lincoln Way adjacent to the Thomas Jefferson Gardens, hosting the Bell Tower art show at the historical museum, and sponsoring the festival’s spelling bee at the Greene County Community Center.

–The traveling display of state history is aboard a “Iowa History 101” mobile resource — a very big bus the State Historical Museum of Iowa now has visiting all 99 counties. It will be at the Bell Tower Festival on Saturday, June 8, from 11 am to 5 pm. Admission to it is free.

“This exhibition 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. “So we’re delighted to bring this traveling exhibition, and we encourage all Iowans to learn about our state’s rich heritage.”

‘Iowa History 101’ will be near the Thomas Jefferson Gardens Saturday.

Like a visit to your grandparents’ attic, the exhibition unpacks stories of Iowa’s past with nearly 50 artifacts, including:
• A battered hat from a coal miner in Marion County.
• A 1917 prototype of the state flag designed by Dixie Cornell Gebhardt of Knoxville.
• The pen Gov. William Harding used to sign the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
• A basketball jersey superstar Lynne Lorenzen wore during her glory days at Ventura High School from the mid to late 1980s.
• An Olympic medal from sprinter Natasha Kaiser-Brown of Des Moines.
• A patch from a spacesuit worn by astronaut Peggy Whitson of Beaconsfield.

As a bonus, native Iowan Mike Wolfe, the creator and star of the hit television series “American Pickers,” lent his voice and video talents to the exhibition’s multimedia elements.

–The Bell Tower art show at the historical museum will showcase the work of local artists and pieces from the collections of local art lovers. There are no entrance fees, and the art is neither juried nor judged. “This is a show to showcase our local talents and also for people to share artwork that means something to them,” said Roger Aegerter, the chairperson of the show and the executive director of the historical society.

Hours of the show at the museum will be Friday from 5to 8 pm; Saturday from10 am to 6 pm; and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm. Admission is free and people are welcome to browse the museum exhibits, too.

–The traditional spelling bee will be held Saturday at 2 pm at the Greene County Community Center. There will be competition for four different age groups – adults included – and there is no entry fee.

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