The museum at the Iowa National Guard headquarters is opening a new exhibit this weekend devoted to the Gulf Wars. Lieutenant Colonel Greg Hapgood, a Guard spokesman, says the exhibit at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum tells the story of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990 and ’91 as well as the latest Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
Hapgood says the exhibit contains weapons, uniforms and a host of artifacts from both conflicts including U.S., Iraqi and Afghan gear, and an “enormous” portrait of Saddam Hussein that was captured by an Iowa National Guard unit in an Iraqi army post. He says over the course of 16 years, since the first war in Iraq began, the U.S. military has made a number of advances, though the same can’t be said for our enemies.
Hapgood says in the area devoted to the first Gulf War, visitors will see many Soviet-era items that were used by the Iraqis, and that carries over to the new wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, though some improvements were made as the items were redesigned. Hapgood says the goal of the museum is to tell the stories of -all- Iowa veterans, regardless of how long ago they served or in what conflict. He says this exhibit is a way to teach people about the contemporary soldiers.
Hapgood says museums usually focus on things that are older while this exhibit is designed to bring people into more current times, the 90s and the early 21st century, to educate people about modern combat veterans. The museum at Camp Dodge, just north of Des Moines, is holding an open house for the new exhibit Saturday from 9 to 5.