In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, there is no admission fee today at the African-American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids.
The museum is entering its 25th year with a new exhibit called “If Objects Could Talk.” Curator Felicite Wolfe says a recording from an appearance King made in Davenport 53 years ago is part of the exhibit. It means visitors today may hear King’s words from King himself.
“It’s just wonderful,” Wolfe says. “You know you can talk about MLK and all of the wonderful things he’s done, but it’s very different when you can actually hear his voice and the way he speaks and it really just kind of sucks you in to what he’s saying.”
Another object in the display is a white hood worn by a Ku Klux Klansman.
“The KKK was very prevalent in Iowa and I think that surprises a lot of people,” Wolfe says. “It surprised me when I researched it and there’s a lot of information that I don’t even know yet.”
Wolfe made her comments on Iowa Public Radio’s “Talk of Iowa” program. The African American Museum opened at 10 this morning and free admission lasts until 4 p.m. The museum is co-sponsoring a job fair at the Cedar Rapids Public Library late this afternoon, followed by a free showing of the movie “Hidden Figures.” The film was in theaters a year ago. It’s about black women who worked as mathematicians for NASA in the early 1960s.
(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Rob Dillard; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)