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Sioux City Public Museum Reopens

Post Date:06/24/2020 10:50 AM

The Sioux City Public Museum will reopen to the public on Tuesday, July 7, announced Steve Hansen, Museum Director, at a press conference today. The facility will resume its normal operating hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and Sundays 1 to 5 p.m. Visitors will be strongly encouraged to maintain social distancing and wear masks. The Museum was part of closing of City of Sioux City facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

The Museum will launch a new summer exhibit and resume the runs of two exhibits that were on display when the facility closed to the public. In recognition of what would be the 30th year of Sioux City’s premier summer music festival, the exhibit, “Saturday in the Park: 29 Years of Memories” will open on July 7.

Planned before the music festival postponed its 2020 concert, the exhibit features a full-run of posters (many of which were autographed by the performers), Saturday in the Park T-Shirts, dozens of framed photographs of the performers and festival scenes, and video/audio clips. A slideshow showcases more than 200 Saturday in the Park images captured by Sioux City Journal photographers. Other highlights include two original paintings and eight alternate posters by Sioux City artist Mark Kochen. 

As a special bonus, the exhibit showcases the original ceiling mural from Uncle John Records and Tapes painted by local artist Paul Chelstad in 1978, a 1960 Wurlitzer Model 2410-S jukebox and a c.1957 Hammond Model RT-3 concert organ.

Resuming its interrupted run is the poster exhibit, “City of Hope: Resurrection City and the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign” from the Smithsonian. The traveling exhibit honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final and most ambitious vision that each U.S. citizen have equal access to economic opportunities and the American dream. It examines the Poor People’s Campaign—a grassroots, multiracial movement that drew thousands of people to Washington, D.C. For 43 days between May and June 1968, demonstrators demanded social reforms while living side-by-side on the National Mall in a tent city known as Resurrection City. 

Organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, “City of Hope” highlights a series of newly discovered photographs and an array of protest signs and political buttons collected during the campaign. Featuring 18 posters, the exhibition helps visitors engage and contextualize the Poor People’s Campaign’s historical significance and present-day relevance.  

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit sites.si.edu.

Also extending its abbreviated run is “Selections from the Vernon Tott Collection,” a local soldier’s powerful photographs of prisoners of a WWII concentration camp. This year marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Ahlem concentration camp on April 10, 1945.

On-site programming will not resume in the near future. The Museum will continue to offer the monthly History at High Noon presentations online. The three presentations offered online since the Museum’s closure have generated more than 150 views each.

Another new online resource is the Sioux City PRIDE Roots project interviews to be launched on Thursday, June 25 to coincide with Pride Month in June. The project was initiated by the Sioux City Public Museum in February 2019 to preserve and share the history of the Sioux City’s LGBTQ community. Funding was provided by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct, preserve and share oral histories. The interviews will be available at SiouxCityHistory.org/lgbtq-community-history.

Due to the cancellation of in-person summer classes for children, the Museum will offer a new family activity, Kid’s Days 2020. Temporarily replacing the popular Kid’s Thursdays program, the activity reimagines the Museum experience with socially-distanced activities geared to families with young children. Participants will pick up a packet of themed craft materials to complete at home and engage in a self-directed Museum activity with their family group. Packets are FREE; quantities are limited. Kid’s Days 2020 will be offered on Thursday and Saturdays starting July 9 from 10:00 a.m. to noon with a different activity packet each week. Details are available at SiouxCityMuseum.org/summer-programs.

The Sergeant Floyd River Museum & Welcome Center will remain closed to the public. The annual Bill Diamond Antique & Classic Car Show originally scheduled for July 12 on the Welcome Center grounds has been canceled for 2020.

The Sioux City Public Museum is located at 607 4th Street in downtown Sioux City. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 712-279-6174 or visit SiouxCityMuseum.org.

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