A collection of oddball historical artifacts, ranging from Daniel Boone’s rifle to Nikita Khrushchev’s sheepskin cape, will go on display at the State Historical Museum this week. Jeff Morgan, spokesman for the Des Moines facility, says about 200 items are in the new exhibit, all of which either belonged to Iowans or had some sort of Iowa tie.
"We’ll have a large rocking chair that was built for President Theodore Roosevelt when he delivered a speech at Rand Park in Keokuk in 1903," Morgan says. "The chair is enormous. People will be amazed by the size of it."
The State Historical Society of Iowa has been collecting all sorts of artifacts since 1857 and has a wealth of trinkets stored away in a massive vault. Morgan says it’s time some of that stuff sees the light of day.
"We’ll have George Washington’s pipe, President Lincoln’s eyeglasses," Morgan says. "We’ll even have a lock of George Washington’s hair." He says one of the more unusual items, once you know the story behind it, is a wedding dress from 1946. "A groom had flown over the home of his fiance and dropped a cargo parachute from his plane and her family took it and made it into a wedding dress," Morgan says. "At that time, nylon was a very difficult commodity to come by because it was used so much for parachutes in World War Two."
Other artifacts include: an iron lung, collars from the world’s largest and smallest horses, fuel rods from the 1950s nuclear reactor at Iowa State University and a brick from Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The exhibit, "Rarely Seen: Cool Stuff from the Museum," opens on Saturday. Admission is free.
For information, click here .