Branstad declares Iowa Museum Week

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sunday was the start of the inaugural Iowa Museum Week as designated by Gov. Terry Branstad. The week-long celebration will observe the importance of small town museums across the state from June 9-16.

In his proclamation the governor declared, "Iowa Museum Week will celebrate the crucial role of Iowa's museums in preserving the historical fabric and memory of our state through preservation of artifacts and archives."

Clay County lays claim to three museums including the Royal Schoolhouse Museum, the One-room Schoolhouse in Everly and the Parker Historical Society which operates the Clay County Heritage Center in Spencer.

The importance of small community museums is not lost on Cindy McGranahan, director of the Parker Historical Society.

"Our small local museums help people see the bigger world history picture by seeing how local individuals and events fit into that larger context," McGranahan said.

"One example would be World War II. It was a global history event and sometimes we get lost in the dates of events and battles," McGranahan said. "But if you look at it from the local people that served and the experiences they had and places they were, I think it takes a more personal meaning."

McGranahan also recognized the fact that it's good for people to understand how their own community's history has shaped the present.

"The Spencer Fire happened in Spencer, but it had ramifications across the nation," McGranahan said. "It's forced legislation for fireworks in Iowa and other states and also building codes."

There are hundreds of historical societies and museums spread throughout Iowa's 99 counties. The majority of Iowa's museums are supported in their missions by the Iowa Museum Association, but the purpose of Iowa Museum Week is to celebrate the contributions of all Iowa museums, large or small.

The Parker Historical Society will be wrapping up the final day of their salute to the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Racing exhibit this Sunday with a new necktie exhibit debuting this Thursday.

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