TRACES will bring its mobile exhibit “At Home in the Heartland: Forgotten Stories of How Iowans Got to be ‘Us’” to the Ida Grove Library on Sunday, October 2nd 2016. It is housed in a retrofitted school bus, the “BUS-eum.”
TRACES Center for History and Culture doesn’t have all the answers, but it does have many questions needed to help find them. From queries like: Who are “we” as Iowans and as a nation? How’d we get to be the way we are? How have we changed over time—or not—and how might we change in the future?
The Iowa that existed as little as 35 years ago is gone. Sweeping, long-term changes in the region’s agriculture, economy, technology, politics and its ethnic, age or other demographics have altered the ways we live. In the process we have lost old treasures even as we have gained new possibilities. All this can be examined, together.
The exhibit curator holds that “While the failure to transfer practical information hobbles young people’s later job skills and economic performance, the failure to transfer cultural information erodes their social skills. Cultural competency understands how we became who we are, how we changed over time—or not—and how humans change at all. It informs us how we behave as individuals, how we live together and how we govern ourselves.”
Between now and Election Day, TRACES will take its exhibit to all 99 Iowa counties on three different tours, showing at diverse venues: schools, libraries, colleges, museums and other institutions. The public exhibit showing of the Bus-eum in Ida Grove will begin at 2pm on Sunday, October 2nd at the Ida Grove Public Library with the workshop to begin at 2:30pm in the Heritage Room of the Library.
Michael Luick-Thrams is a Ph.D. historian (Humboldt Universität, Berlin), educator and speaker. While the overall tour focuses on Iowa history, his forty years of family research has yielded hundreds of photos, maps or other documentation that offer a narrative look into Iowa history. Docent Irving Kellman guides visitors through the BUS.
Luick-Thrams says, “TRACES gathers, preserves and presents stories of people’s lives, past and present–many of which have lain beneath dust left by time’s passage. By learning lessons from the past, we might rise above what otherwise could demean us and keeps us from moving forward as individuals, families, communities and a nation.”
Founded in 2001, TRACES brings people of different backgrounds and perspectives together to speak with each other, openly and respectfully, in order to exchange experiences and opinions. In the process, old stereotypes and current ideological limits shift, making space for new possibilities when people humbly encounter one another. It taps the past for clues about what to avoid repeating in the future, as well as what has worked well in the past that might serve us well now as we seek a better way forward towards a more sustainable and peaceable world.
TRACES first focused on WWII history. Now that that generation mostly is gone and new crises face us, however, it is shifting its focus from preserving “traces” of WWII to issues of civic life: What have been our strengths and weaknesses over time as communities; what resources do we possess at present; what futures are open to us—solo and as a society—as we face numerous trials and grope forward? In response to current challenges, TRACES focuses on issues of family history juxtaposed over that of communities as a fulcrum for deliberate social change.
Admission is free, in part with support from: Humanities Iowa, the John K. & Luise V. Hanson and the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundations, Chester P. Luick Memorial Trust, Vander Haags Inc. and local hosts. Details about both the tour and TRACES can be found at: http://roots.traces.org/at-home-in-the-heartland or staff@TRACES.org