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State Historical Museum Presents Civil War Programs This Month

Posted September 07, 2012 in Downtown, Community Web Exclusives

DES MOINES The State Historical Museum of Iowa invites Iowans of all ages to experience a wide range of programs offered this month in conjunction with its “Iowa and the Civil War: Nothing But Victory” exhibition.

The 10,000 square-foot exhibition recounts the first-hand experiences of Iowans at war and the communities that supported them, and showcases historic battle flags and the actual weaponry – cannons, guns and swords – used in some of the most important events and turning points of the Civil War. More than 17,000 visitors have experienced the exhibition since it opened in April.

As part of the exhibition experience, the State Historical Museum will present the following programs in September:

Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012

11 a.m.-2 p.m. – Bruce and Colleen Peterson will appear in period dress and present a program about the Sons of Confederate Veterans ceremonies held at the Rock Island Arsenal cemetery. The Petersons are research historians specializing in Confederate soldiers buried in Iowa. The State Historical Museum incorporated their work into the “Iowa and the Civil War” exhibition. The program also offers a question-and-answer period.

11 a.m.-2 p.m. – Richard Pohorsky will appear in uniform and portray a Prisoner of War soldier. Pohorsky is commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, researcher and author. He has presented numerous educational outreach programs to schools across Iowa.

Noon – Sherman Lundy will discuss the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ research about the origin, building and occupation of Prisoner of War camps. Lundy is a research historian and a former commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

2 p.m. – Speaker Series: George Eaton, “A Short History of the Rock Island Prison Barracks.” Eaton, a command historian with the U.S. Army Sustainment Command on the Rock Island Arsenal, will discuss the Rock Island Prison Barracks, which opened in 1863 and held 12,500 Confederate prisoners of war. The only permanent reminders of the Barracks are the Federal cemeteries marking the resting places of 1,964 Confederate soldiers and 125 Union guards.

Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012

11 a.m.-2 p.m. – Sons of Union Veterans and Sons of Confederate Veterans in camp. State Historical Museum Battle Flag Conservator Sheila Hanke will give a presentation about Civil War cloth balls – popular toys made from scrap fabric – and make-and-take dolls.

11 a.m.-2 p.m. – State Historical Museum staffer Millie Frese will discuss Civil War-era books for children.

The State Historical Museum of Iowa is part of the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. The State Historical Museum is at 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free and open to the public. Visit or call 515-281-5111 for more information.


The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state’s interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its two divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at

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