By Kate Hayden, firstname.lastname@example.org
The massive antique tractors seemed especially immense next to the Barntsen siblings Gwendolyn, 6; Conrad, 4; and Lute, 2. The three kids from Woodbury, Minn. ducked among the Olivers and Hart-Parrs in the Floyd County Historical Museum on Wednesday as their grandparents Doug and Lin Sinclair, of Charles City, followed behind.
“When we can, we bring grandchildren here. It’s such a wonderful experience, even if we only get to stay an hour,” Lin said. “It’s not easy for grandparents to share history with their grandchildren, but here you can show them. Some of Doug’s dad’s trains are upstairs in the train display. It’s family history.”
Conrad pretended to honk a tractor’s horn. Doug’s camera clicked.
County museums like this one will enjoy a statewide spotlight next week after Gov. Kim Reynolds proclaimed June 11-17 as Iowa Museums Week, with support from the Iowa Museum Association. The governor’s proclamation tradition began in 2011 with just a day, IMA Executive Director Cynthia Sweet said.
“When folks think about their local museum, they don’t realize the holistic nature that museums have on their community,” Sweet said. “In many cases it’s a history museum, but it could be a children’s museum, a technology museum, a banking museum … They are serving as an informal educator in their communities.”
Recognizing Iowa museums means more than acknowledging their collections and programs, Sweet said — it also acknowledges hometown importance.
“They play an economic role also. We know that when businesses are looking to relocate to communities, they look for quality of life infrastructure. Museums are also employers and purchasers of goods and services,” Sweet said. “They’re an economic engine in bringing tourism to their communities. When people visit Iowa, they stop at historical sights.”
“The story of Iowa is incredibly rich …. That story is too important to lose,” Sweet said.
Next week: How county museums preserve local identity, June 16
IOWA MUSEUMS WEEK: LOCAL GUIDE
Carrie Lane Chapman Catt Girlhood Home — 2379 Timber Avenue, Charles City. www.catt.org
Charles City Arts Center — 301 N Jackson Street, Charles City. Facebook: Charles City Arts Center
Fossil & Prairie Center — 1227 215th Street, Rockford. www.fossilcenter.com
Floyd County Historical Museum — 500 Gilbert Street, Charles City. www.floydcountymuseum.org
Mooney Collection — The Charles City Public Library, 106 Milwaukee Mall, Charles City. www.charles-city.lib.ia.us/artgal
Borlaug Learning Center — 3327 290th Street, Nashua. www.farms.ag.iastate.edu/borlaug-learning-center
Carnegie Cultural Center — 7 N Water Avenue, New Hampton. www.carnegieculturalcenter.org
Old Bradford Pioneer Village — Highway 346, one mile east of Nashua. www.chickasawtourism.com/bradford.html
Plum Creek Art Center — 115 W Main Street, Fredericksburg. www.plumcreekart.org
Twin Ponds Nature Center — 1811 240th Street, Ionia. www.mycountyparks.com/county/chickasaw
OUT OF BOUNDS
The Music Man Square — Mason City. Information on Meredith Willson attractions available at www.themusicmansquare.org
The Stockman House by Frank Lloyd Wright — Mason City. Information at www.stockmanhouse.org
The Grout Museum District — Waterloo. Information on the veterans museum, history and science museum, children’s Imaginarium and more at www.groutmuseumdistrict.org
Waterloo Center for the Arts — Waterloo. Information at www.waterloocenterforthearts.org
Find more Iowa museums — www.iowamuseums.org