JOHNSTON, Iowa- For many it’s common to honor veterans from our state at local Veteran’s Day programs. At the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum here, they honor veterans every day.
“The mission of the museum is to tell the story of Iowa veterans and Iowa units and Iowa’s military past from the earliest days on the frontier, to the present,” said Michael Vogt, Curator of the Museum.
The museum features displays by various conflicts Iowans served in through the years, starting with early settlers on the frontier, and leading to World War I.
“It introduces visitors to the United States Commitment to the Allied Cause, fighting the Germans and the Central Powers, in France and Belgium during the first World War,” said Vogt, including a battlefield exhibit you can walk into. “Be immersed in a night-time trench environment. You walk in far enough the enemy will hear you moving around in the trench you’ll hear a burst of machine gun.”
The museum also features an exhibit on WWII.
“As you enter the World War Two Gallery it’s divided into two sections, the Pacific on the visitors right hand side, and the European Theater on the left side,” said Vogt. “We have an interactive map here you can select a year ranging from 1931 to 1945, highlighting the major historical events that led to the outbreak of WWII.”
A new exhibit opened is on the Korean War.
“We recently opened in December 2019 a new exhibit on the Korean War focusing on the involvement of the United States, as a member of the United Nations, combating the aggression of communism in North Korea,” said Vogt.
The museum daily gets veterans from a variety of war eras who come to re-live their time served on foreign soil.
“What we’ve done here in the gallery is to include some interesting objects and material from the Vietnam War,” said Vogt. “One of them that is the most iconic is the Huey Helicopter, the example we have here served in Vietnam, and then was later transferred to the Iowa National Guard in the late 1960’s early 1970’s.”
The museum has an exhibit it’s building to honor those who served int he Gulf War. This museum also pays honor to those who served in the National Guard.
“We also tell frequently in our exhibitor array, the story of the Iowa National Guard and their contribution to our nation’s defense going back to the Mexican war and up to the present day.”
If you would like to visit the Iowa Gold Star Museum, click here.