Officials at the State Historical Museum are putting the finishing touches on an exhibit chronicling the history of cycling in Iowa, including 40 years of RAGBRAI, the annual bicycle ride across the state. The exhibit, entitled “Riding through History,” opens Friday.

RAGBRAI riders will be able to see it when they stop in Des Moines next Tuesday. Iowa Cultural Affairs Director Mary Cownie says RAGBRAI’s clearly an important part of Iowa history.

“When you think about the most iconic events and in terms of economic impact, you think of RAGBRAI and the Iowa State Fair, in terms of our heritage…so we wanted to celebrate this one,” Cownie says. An advisory panel for the exhibit included cyclists who were on the first RAGBRAI back in 1972.

Cownie previewed the exhibit for reporters at the museum today, pointing out the 3,000 square foot exhibit features artifacts and videos and a bicycle from 1869. RAGBRAI attracts thousands of cyclists each year from across the country and around the world.

The museum assigned an archivist to join the ride last year to collect artifacts.