State Historical Museum exhibition explores history of cycling in Iowa and RAGBRAI
(DES MOINES) – Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds today previewed and announced the “Riding Through History” exhibition about the history of cycling in Iowa and “Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa” opens Friday at the State Historical Museum of Iowa.
“Riding Through History” is a 3,000-square-foot exhibition that showcases artifacts, stories, photos and videos about the cycling experience in Iowa and highlights RAGBRAI as one of Iowa’s iconic traditions, largest cultural events and economic drivers. The exhibition includes nearly 200 artifacts from the Museum’s permanent collection and from cycling enthusiasts across the country, and tells the stories of communities and individuals from RAGBRAI’s past.
“With more and more people cycling today as a recreational activity and as their primary mode of transportation, this exhibition provides a terrific opportunity to learn more about its history in Iowa,” said Reynolds. “It also showcases RAGBRAI as one of Iowa’s largest cultural events and economic drivers. It’s a terrific exhibition and I encourage RAGBRAI riders and Iowans to see it while they are in Des Moines.”
“The successful development of this exhibition could not have been completed without the strong support of our exhibit partners Register Media, RAGBRAI and the Iowa Department of Transportation,” said Susan Kloewer, director of the State Historical Museum of Iowa. “Their support, along with our advisory committee members, has been invaluable in telling the history of cycling in Iowa and RAGBRAI.”
“RAGBRAI’s co-founder John Karras has said the event is a love affair between bicycle riders and the state of Iowa,” RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz said. “RAGBRAI is the oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle tour that attracts cyclists from all over the world seeking to enjoy that great Iowa hospitality. We don’t have scenic beaches or mountain vistas, but the state of Iowa delivers ‘homemade goodness’ you can’t find anywhere else on the planet.”
The exhibition offers visitors a wide range of artifacts and stories from Iowa cycling history and RAGBRAI, including:
- a Thomas Pickering Velocipede purchased by Iowan Wesley Redhead in 1869
- a Schwinn Super Sport Van Zimmer purchase with wedding gift money and rode on RAGBRAI in 1974
- Chris Cakes – the story of Lorin Christiansen of Pocahontas who developed a full-scale catering business across numerous states out of RAGBRAI
- Mr. Pork Chop – the story of Paul Bernhard of Bancroft who became known as “Mr. Pork Chop” after developing a 1.5-inch-thick pork chop that became known as the Iowa Chop.
- Clarence Pickard – the story of Clarence Pickard pedaled across Iowa wearing a Styrofoam pith helmet and wool clothing at 83 years old.
The exhibition also showcases the advances made in cycling equipment and technology, and includes safety tips from the Iowa Department of Transportation.
“From assistance for trails to helping riders plan their routes through our interactive bike map, the Iowa DOT is proud to play a part in making the biking experience safe and convenient for all Iowans,” said Paul Trombino, III, director of the Iowa Department of Transportation. “This exhibit will give Iowans the chance to learn the history behind what makes our state’s biking history unique.”
In addition, RAGBRAI riders, friends and all Iowans are invited to “Pedalpalooza” 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at the State Historical Museum of Iowa as the RAGBRAI route takes riders through Des Moines.
Pedalpalooza will feature live music concerts by Decoy at 11 a.m. and The Nadas at 2 p.m., with Chad Elliott, Bonita Crow, Andy Fleming and David Zollo performing live at various times on the E. Grand & 6th Stage. Food and beverages will be available for purchase from Baratta’s Catering and visitors can purchase a “Riding Through History” 16-oz collector cup for only $5; includes one free beer or soft drink and $2 refills until 5 p.m. Other family-friendly events and activities will be offered throughout the day, including chair massages from East Village Spa and music by Dan Kelley DJ Service.
“Pedalpalooza” event partners are Register Media, RAGBRAI©, Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Historical Foundation, Des Moines Bicycle Collective, Dan Kelley DJ Service, FastSigns, Baratta’s, East Village Spa, The Nadas and Decoy.
Admission to the State Historical Museum and the “Pedalpalooza” celebration is free. Bike parking available at the Museum. The State Historical Museum is at 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and Noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free and open to the public. Visit www.ridingthroughhistory.org for more information.
The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state’s interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its two divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at www.culturalaffairs.org.