Osceola Hosting Smithsonian Travel Exhibit During Election Season

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OSCEOLA, Iowa — Osceola is hosting a Smithsonian travel exhibit right now on their Main Street. The town is just one of six Iowa communities that were chosen by Museum on Main Street to have this exhibit called “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America.”

“Museum on Main Street specifically looks for small communities for these installations because people don’t have the opportunities to go to large exhibits around here. So it’s a perfect way for people to see something that’s exactly like they might see, on a smaller scale, at one of the Smithsonian’s in Washington,” Jan Rychnovsky, Event Coordinator for the Osceola Chamber-Main Street said.

Osceola couldn’t have chosen a better time to host the traveling exhibit, smack dab in the middle of a highly contested election.

“We first started talking about this a few years ago and I thought, ‘oh yeah this is neat. This will be really neat during the election year.’ But now that we’re in the year that we’re in, and all of the stuff that’s going on, that will no doubt have its own display someday, it’s particularly neat. It’s something I think will help bring perspective to many that come and visit this. So it’s really cool to have it in town, and we’re really fortunate,” Ty Wheeler Osceola’s City Administrator said.

This traveling museum is based on an exhibition by the National Museum of American History. From creating the constitution to the right to vote, it’s all archival images and topics about our democracy.

The museum also has some personal touches from the southern Iowa town. Donated items from some local Osceola citizens, like a political button collection, plus an area dedicated to Mary Osmund, the first woman to vote in Clarke County.

“This is the 100 year anniversary for women’s suffrages. You know, that’s a big deal, something that I hope hasn’t been glossed over too much with everything else that’s going on with all the noise. But I think it’s an important piece of this display here that I hope in particular gets a lot of attention,” Wheeler said.

The Smithsonian traveling museum is now open from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Thursday- Saturday. It will be in Osceola until November 14th. There is no admission fee and plenty of space to socially distance but masks are still required. It’s located at 127 S Main Street.

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