A new exhibit at the State Historical Museum will showcase the Iowa’s Caucuses and explain their unique role in picking presidents.
“We hope that people will connect to the history of the Iowa Caucuses through this new exhibit,” says Jeff Morgan, a spokesman for the museum. “It’s called: First in the Nation, Shaping Presidential Politics Since 1972.”
The exhibit opens Friday, October 2. Photographs, film clips and newspaper articles are positioned alongside more than 160 artifacts from the museum’s archives.
“We really hope that people will come, engage with the exhibit itself and learn a little bit more about why the Iowa Caucuses are first in the nation and why they continue to be first on the road to the White House.”
The museum has also created a traveling display about the caucuses.
“The earliest presidential campaign material in our collection dates back to William Henry Harrison in 1840,” Morgan says, “so we were able to mine from the museum collection to bring the history of the Iowa Caucuses to the people of Iowa.”
The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is offering Iowa teachers a set of classroom materials about the history of the Iowa Caucuses.
Two panel discussions are planned to mark the opening day of the exhibit at the State Historical Museum. The first will feature Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Andy McGuire and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a member of the Iowa Republican Party’s State Central Committee who ran for congress three times. David Yepsen, a former Des Moines Register reporter and columnist who covered nine presidential elections, will moderate the discussion. Later that same day five Iowa State University professors will be at the State Historical Building to discuss the process of caucusing and the importance of the Iowa Caucuses.