An Iowa military museum that highlights the history of a Des Moines post where racial and gender barriers were broken is re-opening today in celebration of Veteran’s Day. Former state historian, Jack Lufkin, is now curator at the Fort Des Moines Museum. He says the facility was home to the first black officer’s training school and the Women’s Army Corps.
“In a way the Army was ahead of general society in that area in gender as well as racial integration and the fact that it happened, two experiments, and they both happened here in Des Moines is why it’s a national historic landmark,” Luftkin says. The 10-year-old museum had closed recently because of severe debt, but this morning it will reopen with a ceremony at 11 o’clock.
“We’re going to have a color guard and we’re just basically announcing to the public, hey we’re open again, we closed, had some difficulties, kind of an open house,” according to Luftkin. Public tours will follow the opening ceremony. Lufkin says they are planning to upgrade the exhibits at the landmark.
The Fort Des Moines Museum is open Thursday through Saturday and admission is free.